UX and SEO

The first and foremost goal of all doing SEO endeavors is to attract visitors to your website. Yet all the traffic in the world won’t help you if your site is failing at conversions. The heart of any site’s ability to turn a visitor into a customer lies in the overall UX. UX is crucial aspect of SEO and Google has even been quoted as saying its “goal is to provide users with the most relevant results and a great user experience.” It’s the secret to its own behemoth success, and it’s the biggest factor! of current technology requirement.


For your site to meet the expectations of all, it must and should provide a unique and enjoyable encounter for its visitors, that is highly intuitive and easy to navigate. Yes, the keywords, images, meta tags, and so forth are still absolutely critical, but must also infuse elements that provide a second-to-none user experience. There is no one-size-fits-all usability solution, however; to nail this, it need to know that the audience you are serving.

Here are the basic rules to help you coalesce a powerful UX with your thoughtfully crafted SEO blueprint.

  1. Establish Your Goals
  2. UX and Website Design
  3. Engage and Inspire
  4. Measuring UX

1. Establish Your Goals
Before any progress can be made on site design and UX, SEOs and Web designers must come to an agreement on what the goals of the website are. This will help push forward the ideas for design, content marketing strategies, and overall success.

Create buyer personas that will to help guide the questions and decisions that will be confronted in order to develop a premier UX. If there is ever a disagreement, simply refer back to the buyer persona outlines and ask a few key questions about the decision you’re making:

  • What goal does this help to attain?
  • Is this the best route to achieving this goal?
  • Will the user enjoy this feature?
  • How will this affect the visitor’s decision-making process?
  • Will this drive conversions?

2. UX and Website Design
The very foundation of a great UX is a great website design. Major sites like Amazon, Zappos.com and such other sites are constantly redesigning and testing various elements to their sites for peak UX and, therefore, peak conversion rates can be noted. By doing this, sites like these are directly responding to consumer habits. When weak areas of the experience are identified, changes are made and tested. If folks are abandoning the process or bouncing off the site, you need to find these discrepancies, test alternatives, and get the process ironed out.

If your site is unattractive, difficult to navigate, or cluttered, you should most certainly consider a redesign. Your metrics aren’t lying to you; plug these holes or you will keep sinking.

To gain a clear understanding of which areas of your site are less than desirable, ask friends, family, employees and customers for their feedback on which portions of the site they found problematic. Additionally, websites like User Testing can provide an unbiased view of how visitors perceive your site.

3. Engage and Inspire
By now, you should understand the massive benefits that blogging puts forth toward SEO. Not a blog here or there, however, but a full-fledged content marketing effort. But there is one largely underutilized facet of this tactic that many businesses aren’t taking advantage of; the opportunity to engage with your visitors.

UX isn’t just about the design of the site, it’s also about making connections with people. By posting content on a regular basis, you open up an awesome opportunity to engage your following in a meaningful way. Answer questions, respond directly to comments, and add additional value by discussing current trends in your industry. This demonstrates that you have some serious knowledge about your niche. Don’t just start the conversation; continue to engage with those who chime in, and brand loyalty will start to quickly emerge.

4. Measuring UX
Your first indicator of unsuccessful UX is bounce rates; if you are experiencing a high level of bounces, try to determine why. What page is leading to the highest numbers? Figure out what it is about these sections that is turning off visitors. If it’s a straight up mystery, ask them. Place a one question poll on the offending page and ask about prices, content, site experience; whatever you suspect might be the culprit. Your audience always has the answers.

Your second clue is the granddaddy of all metrics: Conversion rates. If you are not seeing the volume of conversions that you aim to produce, establish why this is. Does your site guide visitors through the conversion funnel? Are there clear and prominent calls-to-action on each page? What is it that you want your visitors to do next after arriving on a particular page; and is that clear to visitors as well? You essentially want to hold your customer’s hand through the site experience. Don’t make them think; make it obvious where to go next.
Much like SEO itself, UX is a constantly evolving and improving process. Never allow your site to become sedentary; always seek out new ways to innovate and improve. Conduct A/B tests to see if different versions produce superior results. Send out surveys to your audience to find out what they would like to see. It is imperative to generate the most outstanding user experience you can possibly muster; UX is the cornerstone of SEO success.

How have you recently improved your site’s user experience?


Google Has Discontinued Its Support For Its AJAX Crawling Scheme

Google has finally made it official it is discontinuing its support for its 2009 proposal to make AJAX crawlable by GoogleBot.


In March 2015, we reported that Google will discontinue the AJAX crawling proposal, and several months later, Google has made it so.

Kazushi Nagayama from Google’s Search Quality Analyst said Google is “no longer recommending the AJAX crawling proposal we made back in 2009.” Adding that “as long as you’re not blocking Googlebot from crawling your JavaScript or CSS files,” Google should be able to discover your AJAX website and render the pages fine.

This does not mean Google is not going to crawl sites built in AJAX. Google will crawl AJAX sites, but it will no longer support the proposal it made to crawl them. So now, Google suggests you build the sites using the principles of progressive enhancement.

What if you already implemented the Google AJAX proposal? Google says it will still be indexed, but the company recommends that you change your website to support the new best practices over time.

Google posted a FAQs on this. Here it is:

Q: My site currently follows your recommendation and supports _escaped_fragment_. Would my site stop getting indexed now that you’ve deprecated your recommendation?
A: No, the site would still be indexed. In general, however, we recommend you implement industry best practices when you’re making the next update for your site. Instead of the _escaped_fragment_ URLs, we’ll generally crawl, render, and index the #! URLs.

Q: Is moving away from the AJAX crawling proposal to industry best practices considered a site move? Do I need to implement redirects?
A: If your current setup is working fine, you should not have to immediately change anything. If you’re building a new site or restructuring an already existing site, simply avoid introducing _escaped_fragment_ urls.

Q: I use a JavaScript framework, and my Web server serves a pre-rendered page. Is that still ok?
A: In general, websites shouldn’t pre-render pages only for Google — we expect that you might pre-render pages for performance benefits for users and that you would follow progressive enhancement guidelines. If you pre-render pages, make sure that the content served to Googlebot matches the user’s experience, both how it looks and how it interacts. Serving Googlebot different content than a normal user would see is considered cloaking, and would be against our Webmaster Guidelines.

The 10 most common worst link building Habits


1. Not Following Up
Its not that you need to bug the daylights out of people, but do follow up. There are people who will only respond to you on the second or third try.

2. Not Vetting A Site Before Contact
This is one of my true pet peeves. Let’s say that you send an email to a webmaster, who then responds affirmatively, ready to link.

You look at the site a second time and realize that you have really and truly screwed up. The metrics were okay, but the writing is almost unintelligible. Every post looks paid. There are hacked pages on the site. And oh wow, it’s actually no longer indexed by Google.

Back when we were much bigger, we’d have link builders get into a negotiation with sites like this, and when I’d flip out and say “no way do we want a link there!”, the webmaster would become upset, calling us names and threatening to write a letter to the client.

I like avoiding that kind of nonsense. The “cast a wide net” approach isn’t really best when it comes to building links these days.

3. Not Reading Advertising Info Page
Many sites have a page that lists all the things they will and will not do. If they don’t ever do text links, and you want a text link, leave them the heck alone. If they only do sitewide links, and you want one only in a specific article, don’t bother them. If they say under no circumstances do I want you to contact me, then hey, don’t contact them.

4. Not Being Willing To Listen To Webmasters
As link builders, we think we know exactly what to do, but many times, webmasters know better. They know their readers, and they know what will and will not be appreciated.

If they tell you that you’re way off base and that no, people who read a blog about keeping pet monkeys don’t really want to see a link to your article on how to save money on a new car, listen to them. (Ideally, you wouldn’t be doing that, though!)

If they tell you that your content is okay, but they already have that resource on their site, see if they can suggest another resource need, and provide it if you can.

Just listen to them, and don’t assume that they’re all stupid.

5. Metrics Blindness
Getting a link on a site with a Domain Authority of 60 is awesome, but that doesn’t mean that I want to see a link for my carpet client on a site about bodybuilding supplements.

On the flip side, a brand-new site that discusses how we can make school lunches healthier would be a good fit for a client who specializes in advocacy for better food in school, even though the new site has no decent authority yet. See? You can’t rely solely on metrics.

Numbers are great, but they do not tell the full story.

6. Not Knowing Who You’re Talking To
I know that you can’t always find out the exact name of the specific person you need to contact.

7. Not Knowing The FTC And Google Guidelines
Knowing and following them are, of course, quite different, but no matter what, you need to be aware of them.

I’m not advocating that you ignore or violate any of them, but when you are trying to tell someone that nothing bad could ever happen to them if they sell a link to you, you’re making us all look bad.

There’s plenty of info out there, so ignorance is unacceptable when you’re talking about potentially causing harm to someone’s site.

8. Not Answering Webmasters’ Questions
One of our main rules is this: If a webmaster is uncomfortable or worried about linking, even if everything is nofollowed and disclosed and all that, we don’t push them to do what we want. And we don’t ever lie to them, hide the truth or pretend that even though it’s all fine and dandy, nothing bad could happen in the future.

It sounds obvious to say that you shouldn’t lie, but considering what we’ve seen over the years, it definitely happens.

9. Poor Initial Outreach
Most of us are inundated with emails all day long, many of which are from people we don’t know. How many emails do you delete every single day, without opening them? How many do you actually open, read two sentences, then delete?

A lot of the reason your emails don’t even get opened is because you haven’t done your research, and you’re targeting improperly. Make sure you know who you’re talking to (See item 6 again).

And really, try to write a decent opener. No one has time to read 15 paragraphs. We want to know what you want from us, and pretty quickly.

10. Poor Understanding Of/Lack Of Concern For Relevance
This one is tricky because people’s minds work in mysterious ways, and my idea of relevance might not be yours. I used to jokingly say, “Let me draw a perpendicular to that,” because I can easily relate things that aren’t related.

However, when I get an email asking me to contribute to a roundup post about the best insurance plans because I own a business and therefore must want to answer those questions, I get very irritated. Yes, in a way it is relevant, but…

Kick Those Bad Habits!
Luckily, these bad habits are easy to break — but as I said, they’re also quite common. Part of that could be the pressure that is put on link builders, and part of it could be that they aren’t continuously trained once they know the basics. I tend to leave my guys alone once they know what they’re doing, for example, and that can be a bad thing.

Everyone slacks off a bit at times and forgets something, so just make sure you’re always paying attention.

Google Search For Accelerated Mobile Pages To See Content Faster Mobile Phones

To deliver Web content on mobile devices faster (much faster), Google and Twitter, along with over 30 publishers, announced the Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) Project. It’s like a version of Facebook Instant Articles but in an open standard framework available to publishers, and you can start testing it now.


Google has set up a version for AMP-enabled search here. Its important to note here that this only works on mobile devices, not desktop search.

Go to that link on your smartphone, and you’ll see what looks like the typical Google home page. But below is what a search for “today’s news” looks like on the AMP-enabled page.

You’ll see the notice that this is a demo of AMP, along with a carousel of articles at the top and article listings below. Clicking on the articles in the carousel — New York Times article, for example — brings up the article instantaneously from the bottom of the screen.


As for the articles listed below the carousel, the load time seems on par with regular search, these are not AMP-enabled.

If there aren’t AMP pages in the results, you won’t see the carousel. For example, a search for “Antarctica” this morning did not produce a carousel because there aren’t any related AMP pages to display.


Wix -SEO Fixes by Google

There are reports that Wix websites are currently not being indexed and ranked by Google. Wix is a popular website building platform used by many smaller businesses and professionals to build their Web presence. The issue seems to have cropped up about two weeks ago, but Google has confirmed there is an issue. Google’s John Mueller said they are working on the Google end to bring the Wix Web pages back into the index.


John said in a support thread, “[W]e’re working on resolving things here on our side in the meantime.” “One thing that you might notice is that we’ll be recrawling these sites a bit faster to get the dropped pages back into the index a bit faster,” John Mueller added. John said that Google’s team has taken an “in-depth look at the setup on these sites” and is working to fix it on the Google indexing end.

It seems like the best bet for any one using a Wix website is to just wait it out. Google seems to have expedited the re-indexing of these websites, and it seems you should see your Web pages return in the Google index fairly soon.

Wix is heavy on the AJAX/JavaScript side, so its not sure if Google recently changed something on their end or if it was a change on the Wix side.

You can keep track of your index count in the Google Search Console. But John Mueller asked that you keep Google up-to-date on your Wix indexing issues in this support thread.