SEO Is Dead: Long Live User Experience Optimization (UEO)
For more than a decade, bloggers and online marketers are still relying upon SEO to increase their traffic and sales. For years, many SEO experts used to ask this one question: “Is this site fully optimized for the search engine bots?”
They used to get massive search traffic by writing and optimizing their contents for search engines. If you are still doing that, you already know what happens. You won’t get any traffic. Sad truth!
So what’s happening? Is SEO dead?
No. But the way you think about SEO has completely changed. In other words, traditional SEO is dead.
In 2015 and beyond if you want to increase your website search traffic, here’s the perfect question you should be asking yourself: “Am I optimizing my site for humans?“
If you give top priority to the users who use your site, Google bots will help you rank your sites higher in search results.
Most people can’t answer this question – “what your blog is all about?“
Your blog should have a primary goal. For most bloggers, that is getting people to subscribe to their email lists and for others it might be making more sales.
How you reach your blogging goal largely depends on the user engagement. You need to find ways to connect and engage with your audience. Without that, no matter how many visitors you get, you will fail to make money.
Why traditional SEO is dead
Still relying on stuffing keywords to increase your traffic? Are you still using your guest posts on random sites to build links so you can increase your search traffic? Still following the same old rule “build it, they will come”?
All of these traditional SEO methods are not working like they used to.
Have you ever wondered why stuffing keywords or building too many links from random sites is not going to help you even a bit? It’s all because Google is getting smarter every single day and it’s giving highest priority to the users.
So we can easily say that, traditional SEO is dead and the strategies that worked a decade ago are not going to work anymore.
So what’s going to help you boost your organic traffic in 2015 and beyond?
User Experience Optimization (UEO)
Modern SEO goes way beyond just optimizing your blog posts or getting links from other sites. Driving tons of visitors from search engines is essential, but what’s the point if they don’t convert at all?
You need to focus on giving better user experience who browse your sites.
By focusing on better UX, you are not only serving your audience better but your rankings will go up in search results because Google rewards the sites with better UX.
User experience includes major metrics like
- The speed of your site
- Keyword usage (long tail and short tail)
- Social media metrics
- Overall navigation of your site
This is the reason why authority sites like SEOMoz, MajesticSEO, SEOBraintrust removed SEO from their brand name and started building branding around Moz, Majestic, MarketersBraintrust.
These big SEO players already know what’s happening with SEO. They knew if they are still giving too much importance to SEO, they are not going to attract traffic, leads or sales.
So what are the major factors that help you increase the user engagement?
- Increase the speed of your website: Did you know that if it takes more than 3 to 4 seconds to load, your visitors will abandon your site? Website loading speed not only frustrates your visitors but also search crawlers. Google gives best results to the sites that load really faster. Use a cache plugin, start using a CDN to boost your speed and upgrade to a faster web hosting service, minimize your image sizes to improve the overall speed.
- Carefully find the right keywords: Instead of driving thousands of worthless visitors by using the “right keywords”, you can get targeted visitors to your sites. Target audience not only increase your sales but the overall site performance. So make sure to spend quality time on keyword research.
Did you know that your website mobile-friendliness is now considered as a Google Search ranking signal?
If your website or blog is not mobile responsive yet, you are losing a lot of traffic and sales on the table. Google’s recent mobile update rolled out for a reason – to provide search visitors a better choice!
If your site is mobile responsive, not only it helps you get more visitors but also increases overall sales and subscribers count.
Here are few ideas on creating a mobile friendly website.
- Use a responsive design. If you are on WordPress, you are lucky. WordPress has hundreds of mobile responsive themes including premium frameworks such as Thesis, Genesis, Elegant themes etc. They all offer responsive designs to their customers. It means, your site can be instantly become mobile responsive by installing any of these themes.
- Hire a designer to make your site mobile-friendly. If you have budget and want a unique design for your site that is also mobile responsive, you should consider hiring a web designer to build your site from the scratch.
- Use WPTouch plugin. This is a gift for WordPress users. It’s not only free, it instantly turns any WordPress site into a responsive design that can be accessed easily from smartphones to tablets.
Note: Make sure to use opt-in forms that are mobile responsive. Most of the email marketing software are now offering responsive opt-in forms. Just make sure to consider them while using them on your blog’s sidebar, footer or above the fold.
Create research backed data
People don’t trust you if you give statements unless you are already an established authority in your niche. It takes years to build trust and gain authority. So what’s the quickest way to make people trust you as a beginner?
Write content that is backed by data.
Use lots of screenshots, links, quotes to make your content that builds your online authority. You can use sites like Statista.com for finding various case studies and stats or you can simply Google with the keyword terms like “your topic + research”.
Creating research backed content not only helps you build your online credibility but persuades your audience to share your stuff on social media.
Here are few incredible tips on creating research backed content that attracts more shares, links and comments.
Whenever you read some random strategies online, pick few of them and apply them. If you get good results, start writing posts on how can others use the same strategies to become better. These can be also called as “case studies”, they work like a charm. The best part is, you don’t have to be an expert in your field to create them.
Analyze other successful sites in your niche carefully. Figure out how they are driving more traffic, sales or anything that suits your audience needs. Then, discuss about them on your blog in a detailed way. This can again attract more buzz because you are talking about successful websites.
Use sites like “Statista” to find stats, customer survey results and industry studies from a variety of topics (more than 60,000). This is an Internet leading statistics database that helps you link to the research backed data.
Social is the new SEO
Did you know that the social shares you get on your web pages impact your search rankings?
How many of you know that Moz started to rank better on Google for the keyword “Beginner’s Guide” after Smashing Magazine tweeted about it?
If you are struggling to increase your search traffic, it might be because you are neglecting social media.
Google always rewards the sites that have more user engagement. If a visitor shares a post, that means they like the content so much so they can’t resist themselves to share it with their social networks. That’s why Google starts giving more importance to social shares.
Spend quality time on reaching out to other influencers in your niche, make connections with them and increase your social shares by asking them to tweet about your stuff. And don’t ask anyone to help you before you help them by frequently linking, tweeting and commenting on their posts.
Here are the 4 things that will help you boost your social shares (and search rankings)
- Posting at the right time: Don’t post your links on social media at random times. If you post at the best times on social media, that practice alone can get you more shares, likes and tweets.
- Include alluring images: If your tweets, Google+ notifications and Facebook shares include compelling images, most social media users would click on them. Don’t publish a blog post without using quality and relevant images. They definitely increase your social shares and click through rates.
- Craft click worthy headlines: The simplest way to grow your social media traffic and shares is to write incredible titles. Don’t be generic. Spend time on crafting really powerful headlines that make your audience click on them. You can use free tools such as Portent to generate unlimited number of powerful headline ideas for your blog posts.
- Get influencers attention: If a top blogger in your industry tweets about your stuff, what would happen? You will see instant growth in your traffic, subscribers count and overall social shares, right? That’s the power of influential marketing. Start connecting with the influential bloggers in your niche and always provide huge value to them before seeking any help.
In a nutshell, if you focus on getting more social shares, search engines give you rewarding results. So don’t neglect social media if you want to get more exposure from search engines. After all, social media is becoming the new SEO.
Final thoughts on why user experience is the king
We all know how to use Google but most of us don’t know how Google works. It’s really hard to understand Google algorithms unless you’re an SEO expert.
For the rest of us, getting traffic from Google is rocket science especially in 2015 and beyond. So make sure to focus your efforts on pleasing your website visitors, not search engine crawlers.
If you give top priority to your blog audience, Google will reward you sooner or later. But if you try to impress Google crawlers by stuffing keywords and playing smart with links, your sites might get penalized.
If you want to not only get more visitors from search engines but actually make them stick to your blog, make sure to give #1 priority to the user experience. And don’t forget that “first impression is the last impression online”. So invest some money and time on getting an appealing design for your blog to boost your conversion rates.
So what are your thoughts? Do you think user experience optimization (UEO) is going to play a big role in the future? Share your views in the comments below and I’d be glad to respond.
This post was an original contribution by Anil Agarwal of bloggerspassion.com.
Wait... before you leave, consider these top resources: