How to make SEO and UX / UI Design work together
In previous years, most digital agencies and marketers were aiming to create an online profile for businesses from which users could easily find and retrieve the information they wanted. Nowadays, however, the scene has changed, as the need to build a digital product (website creation or mobile application development) that will provide the best possible experience to the user and drive him to desired actions (purchase, subscribe to a list, contact, etc.) has grown.
All the above lie firstly in the competence of UX (User Experience) - UI (User Interface) Design, and then this of Web Development. Although these two terms (UX & UI) refer to the general design of a product, they are completely different from each other, as they describe two opposed activities.
What is the difference between UX and UI?
Their main differences can be understood easier with a simple example: when we examine a building, we can study its appearance, colors, windows, and used materials, as well as its general aesthetics. All these elements respectively constitute the UI of a digital product, namely all the artistic and visual elements that reach the eyes of the user.
On the other hand, for the same building to be considered structurally strong, it must have passed the corresponding static inspections and to serve the needs of the occupants (i.e. its users) to the maximum extent. Similarly, UX design refers to the study of user needs in order to improve and ease the use of a similar product, which will offer effective and reliable navigation and, therefore, a pleasant experience.
However, for every user to click and visit a specific website, it must reach their eyes when researching a search engine, such as Google, Bing, Yandex, etc. That’s when SEO takes charge (Search Engine Optimization), which is responsible for all those actions of optimizing a website for search engines.
What is SEO and how does it relate to UX / UI design?
Search engine optimization plays a pivotal role in increasing a site's traffic from organic (unpaid) search engine results, as well as the best possible search engine placement from strategically selected keywords (keyword ranking).
There are many ways about how SEO affects UX / UI Design and vice versa. But the key is that both work together to make the site a better product. Just as UX / UI design is more than just visuals, so SEO is much more than just including a keyword here and there.
UI / UX design and SEO are inherently linked, as the former has a noticeable effect on the overall SEO optimization and performance of a website. Typical examples are the decrease in the bounce rate of visitors, the increase in the average session duration, and navigation of the website, as well as the increase in the conversion rate. That is why the collaboration between these two should start as early as possible in each project. Below we will look at some of the areas in which SEO & UI / UX Design are directly related.
Structure – Architecture Optimization
For users and search engines (via crawlers or spiders) to effectively navigate to a website, each site must have an understandable and well-designed architecture. A coherent architecture makes it easier for users to find the information they are interested in effortlessly and seamlessly, and, at the same time, search engines can collect the web page content faster. As a result, they can store it in their databases (indexing) to have it ready for display later to users.
A functional and well-designed website has a clear structure, with easily recognizable hyperlinks and visual cues, so that it makes the navigation experience uncomplicated even for the most inexperienced users. On the one hand, SEO is responsible for detecting and defining the content that has worth, while at the same time takes care of the correct optimization (metadata tags, header tags, URLs, content, internal links, etc.) and prioritization of the content e.g. category - subcategory - product. On the other hand, UX / UI Design should offer the visitor a pleasant digital experience in terms of navigation and interaction with the website’s environment.
Content Creation & Configuration
In the configuration and design of a website, a suitable space should be provided, to which texts will be added and displayed. Even websites that specialize in eCommerce will need to create and format written content that will engage users through search engines, such as by blogging.
For this, it is of utmost importance to have a strategy behind the content that will be created, but also in the way it will be displayed. Depending on the type of the content, in collaboration with the design, images, or even videos, with specific features and size, it can be added in selected locations. Thereby, it will form a structure that will highlight properly the requirements of the text.
Of course, this content alone is not enough, as it should be formatted in such a way that it could be easily readable by search engines so that it could finally reach in front of the eyes of the users. That is why it is necessary to create original content that would offer real value to readers. Therefore, the phrase "content is king" was not developed by chance, and for this reason, the content must be optimized first for the user and then for the search engines.
Respectively, every designer, in collaboration with the SEO specialist, should provide space for titles (H1 header tags) and subtitles (H2, H3 header tags, etc.). Hence, on the one hand, it will be easier to find and understand the structure of the text by the search engine algorithms, and on the other hand, the content will be distributed correctly and smartly.
Improving the user experience
Overall, the website should be designed in accordance with the texts and images to facilitate the user. Inefficient navigation, anachronistic and annoying design in the eye, lack of organization of filters, and other possible problems that visitors may encounter on the website they will visit, will be crucial for their (non) return.
It is of crucial importance that the content of a website (like any other important information) should be visible on both mobile devices and desktops. This is because on the one hand users prefer to browse other electronic devices instead of the desktop computer and on the other hand because Google ranks a website using primarily its mobile version. That is why it is very important for a website to be designed and optimized entirely for navigation from mobile devices, so that its important information and content are highlighted.
A website needs beautiful images and graphics to grab the visitor's attention. However, each image must be used in the appropriate dimensions, both to have the necessary sequence with the rest, and for the fastest loading speed of the website, a determining factor in search engine rankings. For this, it is essential to format the images before using, e.g., size reduction, scaling, dimensional adjustment, etc.
At the same time, each image should have an optimized file name, as well as the appropriate configuration of its alternative title. Both are necessary to make it easier for search engines to "register" the images and rank them as high as possible in the image search results.
SEO and UX design should have as a common goal the achievement of conversions, i.e., the desired actions that a visitor can make, such as buying a product, subscribing to a subscription service, etc. The friendlier the design of the website is, the easier it will lead the user to it.
Special tools can now record even the micro-conversions, i.e., the smallest actions performed by users, such as pressing a call-to-action button or watching a video or even navigating the mouse pointer in specific sections of each page. These actions and preferences that users show need to be recorded and improved.
It is immediately understood that the collaboration of the SEO and the Design departments must be utilized from the beginning to the end of a project, but also to be updated constantly, based on the statistics collected, and changes in design trends.
With specialized SEO and Design departments, 3ds will help you enter the digital world adequately and effectively and will lead you to a complete and efficient digital presence of your business!