As Google has clearly stated, everything is about user experience in 2016. If you want to rank better in search result, you must provide what the user was looking for when they typed a search query. No matter how much you invested in a paid campaign worth of Mad Men standards, or how many SEO strategies got implemented by the most world-wide renowned SEO guru, if the user cannot find what they were looking for, your website will lose the ranking battle and therefore the amount of traffic and business.
Tip 1: Offer Quality Content
Content is king, we all know this old adage. It doesn’t matter what business you are in, you must provide quality content. How many times have you click back after entering a website because you could not find the information you were looking for? It doesn’t matter if you were looking for a product to buy, a service to hire, a blog to read, if they were not offering the value you were looking for, you just returned to the search engine page results. However, quality content does not just mean just being the leading expert in the field of choice, but often creating content that is well presented, offers a new angle or speaks to a specific audience. A clear structured website could be favored over a more experience website badly organized, a personal spin on a general topic could drive more visitors or addressing a specific niche could make you the leader in a very competitive field. Consider the case of a photographer that has just started taking their first few shots; such individual would be interested in basic tips that experts might consider irrelevant or maybe finding few easy tricks to implement. Conversely, an experienced photographer would be interested in learning new trends, connect with other well-established photographers and maybe develop specific skill sets. No matter your niche (cooking/photography/fashion…), your audience (experts/beginners), your style (serious/ironic/informal), you need to talk the language of your website users.
Tip 2: Think your words carefully
As you need to consider the person you are addressing when writing your blog or business website, you need to choose the language that your users will understand. A big no-no is to write pages optimized for search engines (stuffed with keywords) and not for real people. If you don’t know where to start, consider a webpage you like and that you visit often. In addition, consider your competitors, what you like about their p=business approach, their website style and content. Just ask yourself what you like about a webpage you visit often and what your competitors are doing very well. It might be that you like their well designed page, a clear writing style, the addition of videos and images that complement the information they provide. Whatever it is, try to replicate all the positive aspects; for instance, if you like the additions of images that add an extra informative value to the text, do the same on your website. At the same time, ask yourself what you do not like about those sites and be the one that overcomes all the negative ones.
Tip 3: Add Texts, Images and Videos
As we all know, today when visiting a website we expect a combinations of texts, images and perhaps even videos. Therefore, with the idea of providing the best possible user experience, it is important to optimize the website with a combination of all three media. However, always remember that every form of content must add value and therefore every piece of information must contribute to the general user experience. In case you own a cooking website, a good idea could be to add images that show every step of the recipe, or, even better videos that portray yourself coking while explaining how to follow the recipe. However, I would recommend to avoid videos that start as soon as the page starts. I would strongly recommend to give the choice if watching the video or not to the visitor. As plain advertising is considered spam, an unobtrusive way to self-promotion could be to ask visitors to subscribe or leave a comment at the end of each video. If they liked it, they will be happy to leave a comment and even subscribe, otherwise they will simply ignore you. This is a very good form of advertising as you are just saying something like: “Hey! I hope you liked my website. If you did, feel free to show it to me.” Videos are not part of many websites and have been highly recommended for SEO purposes. However, as images, they should contribute to deliver a better message and improve the quality of the website content. Personally, I would add a video to a webpage in the form of a tutorial, to better explain how to do something (a recipe, a DIY or an art project).
Tip 4: Choose a clear crisp layout
One of the first thing we notice when we visit a website is the layout. Is the website easy to navigate? Is the layout pleasant to the eye? Do we have menu bars to find additional information? Is the text easy to read? These are all important factors to consider when building a website. Luckily for us, many CSS experts have already created eye catching layouts that satisfy every form of business. If you don’t want to create your own or pay someone to do it for you, you can easily find one for free. I would strongly recommend to create a homepage that provides an overview of your website and few links to the main sub-directories (Blog, Registration Page, Login, Index). A Contact Us page could help make your brand more personal. Take advantage of any trick to engage at a personal level with your ideal visitor. A good idea is to choose a template that represents both your business and your style; for instance, if you aim for a highly professional site a good idea is to choose for for something sleek. As images are expected at least at the top of a webpage, a well selected image can help deliver what the website is about. Well selected homepage images help increasing visitor expectations and creating a sense of humor, wonder, curiosity…whatever the message, images are great tools to show off your brand. If you consider a website of a restaurant, a close up of their most popular dish makes the page looks professional while increasing the visitors curiosity. After introducing your visitor to the topic of your blog or business webpage, start writing few short paragraphs to engage with your audience (remember the user experience, right?). You might even add a title to each paragraphs so that a visitor can just skip the long text and get the information they need from the title.
Tip 5: Use descriptive URLs
The Uniform Resource locator (URL), commonly refereed to as web address, is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network and a mechanism for retrieving it. According to SEO, URLs should:
- Include keywords
- Use hyphens to separate words when necessary for readability
- Be no longer than 2000 characters (shorter URLs perform better)