Finding the right balance between form and function is an art. People respond to websites with intuitive designs, appealing images, and great layouts, but usability is imperative.
Keywords in Context
Of course, no matter how terrific your site or mobile experience looks, text still drives search engine optimization (SEO). Therefore, you should employ best practices when it comes to SEO. For example, always include live text instead of embedding within an image. When you hide text within a picture you lose the SEO value.
Additionally, many images fail to load on some mobile devices or the text they contain will be too small to read. As a result, if you don’t include live text in your messaging and on your site, then your content may never get viewed.
SEO is important, but that’s just the first step. It’s even more important to develop content that resonates with your audience. For example, content that is shared widely on social media will influence search rankings far more than the number of times you incorporate the right keywords.
Optimizing for Real People
Therefore, as far as content strategy goes, your aim should be to make things as relevant to real people as possible. Remember, it’s organic folks that have real friends. Flesh and blood individuals--not robots or algorithms--are the ones that will ultimately share the content and experiences that matter to them.
Therefore, optimizing for web and tech can only take you so far. You really need to be optimizing your content for people. You should be asking, what impacts them emotionally and helps them forge a connection with your brand?
How Design Builds Trust
What is one of the most important ways to build rapport with your customers? The answer can be summed up in one word--Trust. Some time ago, web designer Jason Putnam conducted research into the elements that go into effective websites. He concluded that design elements are actually even more important when it comes to establishing trust than content. Specifically, he found that confusing layouts, pop-up ads, and slow response times tended to undermine credibility. On the other hand, clarity, ease of navigation, responsiveness, and relevance were qualities that tended to increase feelings of confidence.
Experts have focused on keywords, links, and social media when it comes to creating an SEO-friendly site. Undoubtedly, these are important considerations, but it’s also incredibly important to remember that people want to visit digital destinations they trust. Aesthetically pleasing and well-designed online experiences, in particular, can help you establish that kind of feeling.
Design matters a great deal to SEO, but in ways many people overlook. People may click on well-ranked sites, but if design elements do not convey trust the visitors will not read the content--let alone recommend it to their friends. Conversely, well-designed sites (which convey credibility) will generate repeat visits and recommendations over time. Ultimately, popularity and increased traffic will become an important factor when it comes to search engine algorithms.
Ultimately, it pays to focus on the elements that entice customers and help them forge an emotional connection with your brand. Focus on relevancy, building trust, and creating a highly positive end user experience first. Tech tricks can support that, but they should take a back seat. If people love the digital experience you create, they will help share it. It’s a simple but overlooked way of looking at how design impacts SEO optimization.
If you need any assistance or would like more information, please contact Guidance.