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How to Find the Optimal Balance Between UX Design & SEO

As everyone in the online marketing space knows, Google claims to have hundreds of ranking factors and, from the research done by independent agencies, we have every reason to believe them. At least two of these ranking factors relate to the SEO architecture of your website and to the actual user experience (UX) browsers are enjoying (or not) while there.

For a long time there’s been some debate as to whether a particular SEO principal or a UX one should come first when only one can be accomodated. With older websites or ones running a custom CMS (content management system) this is often a bigger problem than for those using something more modern. But, regardless of what sort of platform your site runs on, there is a ‘sweet spot’ where the requirements of both can meet, and that’s essential to your business’ online performance.

What we know

SEMrush shared a lot of important information when they published their on-site SEO ranking factor study in 2017 but one of the most insightful portions of the study was the impact that bounce rate can have on your traffic. Essentially, if a potential customer can’t find what they’re looking for quickly enough (within a few seconds these days) they will leave your site and head over to a competitor. Here are a few points from the study as well:

● The higher a page’s position, the lower is its bounce rate.
● The bounce rate of the top position for the low-volume keywords is approximately 49%; for the high-volume keywords — around 51%.

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Now, in terms of UX and design, you may want to simply throw everything to do within a specific category onto a single page, so that, no matter what your browser is looking for, they should find it. But that’s no good for SEO. Let’s look at an example.

You run an online hardware store and one of your categories is ladders. From a design perspective it may make sense to put all your ladders on a single page but with SEO optimisation, you want specific architecture (meta data, URL, keywords, etc) to help you rank for specific types of ladders. If you want to rank you need sub-category pages for things like:

● Single Pole Ladders
● Extension Ladders
● Step Ladders
● Dual Purpose Ladders
● Platform Ladders

In the reverse, you could go far more granular if all you cared about was the SEO and not the user experience. In that case you’d have sub-categories for the colour of the ladders and the material they’re made from.


● Red Single Pole Ladders
● Steel Extension Ladders

But now your browsers may start to get a little frustrated because they aren’t exactly sure what colour or material their ladder should be and they wanted to compare. All they knew was that they needed a step ladder.  So the right blend of UX and SEO in this case means not having one single page for all your ladders or millions of sub-category pages either, but rather meeting in the middle, by only separating the ladders by their primary function. Now you’ve blended the needs of both SEO and UX to reach a comfortable compromise which works for both.

Easier today than it used to be

It’s important to remember that if you’re not ranking for keywords related to your business your traffic will drop and stagnate, and if your bounce rate is consecutively higher than the average of your industry it seems that will ultimately affect your ranking, thereby also impacting traffic. Fortunately most CMS’ these days actively help to facilitate the blend of these two vital website components. One of the core areas where even modern technology doesn’t always help is when you need to cleverly place keywords into URLs where, from a readability perspective, they might not be ideal. But these and other site structure hiccups are why it’s important to consult with web development and SEO specialists.

Talk to a consultant at Capitalize today to find out more about our appointment setting services.