If you’re not doing SEO, or if your program could use some tweaks, you’re likely relying on outbound marketing campaigns that typically convert less than 2% of prospects. Without an effective SEO program, there’s no way to keep pace with your competitors. Trust me, your competitors are doing SEO.
To get your SEO program headed in the right direction, there are a few key concepts to understand. In our previous SEO blog, we discussed how to determine if your business needs SEO and the benefits it can bring to your business. In this blog, we examine the impact that your website navigation, architecture, internal links, and user experience have on high you will rank when prospects go searching for a product or service that you offer.
The Impact of Website Navigation and Architecture on SEO
First take a close look at your website’s navigation structure, which has a huge impact on conversions, traffic and bounce rates. Users must understand how to get to what they’re looking for. If your website doesn’t deliver, another website does.
Websites in general should be intuitive, and the navigation should be helpful, organized and aesthetically pleasing. Trying to get too fancy will only frustrate users, so keep things simple.
And the navigation doesn’t need to fly in from the sides; users primarily want to see the main navigation at the top of the page or maybe the side. There should also be links in the footer to pages the user expects to be there, such as <Contact Us>.
Your website architecture also impacts SEO effectiveness. Navigation is made from links, and search engine spiders crawl your links to understand your page contents and index your pages. Every page should be linked or navigable from the homepage. Additionally, site navigation should be flat, meaning users and search engines should be able to reach any page in less than five clicks.
Internal Links Play Key Role Too
We can’t talk about site navigation without mentioning internal linking. Links are used by both search engines and users; both find them extremely helpful when strategically placed.
Why are links so important? The easiest answer is…Google says they are!
Search engines have 3 primary functions: crawl, index and rank your content. And because links assist search spiders (and users) to discover new content, they are an SEO must. When a page is linked to—either internally or externally—it proves some sort of worthiness. You wouldn’t link to a page that has nothing to offer, right?
There are several forms of links. A site may have internal linking widgets or contextual links while an e-commerce site might have links to similar products or previous products viewed. All these links have one thing in common: they show a relationship between pages and content.
Good User Experience = Good SEO
Now let’s talk about the user experience (UX). When I started doing SEO, we never talked about user experience at all. How crazy is it that!? That’s because when SEO started—it was solely about the search engine ranking. We didn’t care if the site was spammy—just as long as it was #1!
Fast forward many years, and now UX and SEO work together in tandem to create the best website experience for your users. Site users expect a good experience, and search engines demand it. Your site will not rank well if you do not provide a good UX.
Why? Because users who come to your site will get frustrated and go elsewhere—bringing your bounce rate up. Why else? A bad UX means something isn’t right on your site. It may be poorly-written content, broken links, really slow load times, or page titles that don’t accurately reflect the page contents.
Yep…all these things are SEO and affect the user experience. See the connection? The same things that cause a poor user experience are the same things that cause search engines to rank you poorly. The key takeaway: Don’t ignore UX when doing SEO!
Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty Details
Now that you have an understanding of the high-level U/X and navigational factors that impact SEO, we next delve into some of the more nitty-gritty factors. In our next blog, we look at how to leverage longtail keywords and semantic search to increase the effectiveness of your SEO initiatives. And if you’re looking to find out exactly how SEO can drive more traffic to your website, increase conversions, and lower your bounce rates, contact R2i today.