If you were surfing the web fifteen years ago, you’d commonly spot websites that are stuffed with keywords that weren’t even coherent sentences. These sites would rank high in Google’s search results. Many points from a SEO perspective, an absolute zero from a user experience (UX) viewpoint.
Fortunately, things have changed a lot since then. Google and other search engines have found ways to favor valuable content by taking user experience into account. More so, it is now one of the central signals for establishing how high a site is going to rank in most search engines.
In this article, we’ll look into a spectrum of efficient ways you can align UX writing with your SEO strategy. Let’s take a look, shall we?
UX over keywords
Nowadays, SEO standards are subject to review much more often than they used to be in the early 2000s when keyword stuffing was an industry staple. To some extent, the importance of keywords is debatable today. One thing is for sure — they’re not totally irrelevant.
Here’s what Jeremy Walker, Senior Marketer and Content Specialist at trust my paper, told us about the interdependence between SEO and UX writing: “Some time ago, content creators would have to integrate the weirdest keywords so that it looked “natural.” Today, this is considered to be an outdated practice, because we’re trying to provide actual value to the customer, rather than just ranking high on search engines.”
So to some extent, it’s safe to assume that high-quality writing is in itself a central element of a business’s SEO strategy, which in effect, will allow organizations to increase traffic on their corporate websites.
However, we’re not trying to invalidate keywords, but it’s essential to use them in contexts naturally so that it doesn’t damage the user experience. In other words, plastering site with unnatural sentences is a bad practice.
Tell a story
One of the essential goals of UX writing is to create a compelling narrative and communicate a variety of emotions and ideas that are presented as corporate values or brand voice. Some of the companies that have a distinct personality have achieved it due to a meticulous combination of design and carefully thought-out writing. In a way, UX writing is there to tell you a story, present the user with a narrative.
What does this have with SEO, you may ask. According to a study published by Paul J. Zak, it appears that exposure to narratives and captivating stories cause oxytocin levels to elevate in humans. Oxytocin is known to be one of the chemicals in the brain that are associated with a sense of security and well being. This hormone is commonly triggered by physical contact with other humans — handshakes, kisses, and so forth.
So to answer the question from the paragraph above, storytelling can have a considerable impact on SEO, due to how engaged people are with content that contains storytelling. No need to take our word for it. Here’s a recent study published by Buffer that confirms that storytelling has a massive impact on the rate at which people interact with content and the amount of time they spend on the page, which are both crucial SEO signals.
Clarity and conciseness
UX writers need to strive for simplicity. Excessive complexity of copy is by no means a pro for a user trying to navigate a website. Despite how much we often look to festoon our texts and error messages with neat five-dollar words, they’ll never do the average user any good.
Using words and expressions that are quotidian (see what I did there?) and straightforward will ensure a more natural and usable copy, ultimately resulting in more natural experience. Of course, there are situations where the site copy should be more complex, yet there are exceptions, not rules.
Both content and UX writers often fall into the trap of over complicating their texts, which is why it’s essential to use the right services and tools to keep the style in check. You can use both human-operated services like Grab My Essay, Studious, Best Essay Education, as well as Grammarly and Hemingway, which are Machine Learning-operated services.
Having a clear and readable is an essential component of positive user experience, which, as we mentioned previously, is becoming an SEO signal of its own.
Aligning for content functions
Let’s try to change our perspective on things for a second. We’re all used to the dichotomy between UX writing, which concerns copy and content writing, which concerns longer text, like articles, blog posts, and so forth. Let’s not create a mental image in which these two would merge. Let’s name this unified concept simply “text.” Now let’s try to separate this all-encompassing text into the functions it executes on a website. Let’s divide it into four categories: introductory, research, intent, and conversion.
To some extent, these are the functions that the text executes, but also user intentions. One of the relatively recent updates to Google’s algorithm was penalizing the sites that users visit from their search results but bounce very soon. This suggests that the content of the site is not aligned with their expectations. Therefore, it’s essential that we optimize the text on our sites in accordance with the page’s function and the user’s expectations.
Here’s a brief breakdown of how we should shape our content, based on the categories mentioned above:
- Introductory — the text that allows users to get acquainted with the business and its core values.
- Research — the text that allows the user to research your business by studying the content you have to offer.
- Intent — the text that describes the benefits of using your services or products.
- Conversion — the calls to action that persuade the users to convert.
By dividing the user’s journey into distinct categories and aligning your text, both UX copy and content, with your user’s intentions, you’re bound to keep them on your page, which will considerably improve your SEO score.
While SEO and UX were conflicting fields a few years ago, today, they are in a position to collaborate, in order to make the user’s experience better and more meaningful. We hope you’ll find them useful. Good luck!