SEO vs UX: Do You Really Have to Choose? – MnSearch Summit Event Recap

There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to increasing traffic and conversions. There’s the pro user-experience team and the pro SEO team.

Although it appears that SEO and UX are combatants, here are highlights from the speakers at the Friday, June 24th MnSearch Summit that prove otherwise:

True: SEO keywords have a huge effect on rankings.

“Research shows that more words = better ranking.” – Andrew Shotland, Local SEO Guide

Darren Shaw of Whitespark and Andrew Shotland of Local SEO Guide presented “Experiments in Local Search: Insights and Takeaways.” Andrew discussed the results from a large statistical study in local ranking factors and they found that having more words on your website does indeed translate into better rankings.

But, are we prioritizing the wrong things? Keynote speaker, Mike King of iPullRank, encourages marketers to stop putting top priority on traffic and ranking measurements and focus more on conversions.

The SEO Challenger: Focus on overall business objectives.

“The biggest factor still missing is the user experience.” – Wil Reynolds, Seer Interactive

Wil Reynolds, Founder of Seer Interactive, wants to challenge the idea that you must fill your pages with words and imagery in order to be found. Instead, he thinks that SEO strategy should target relevancy and the user experience – making it more about the human interaction rather than content built for a searchbot.

“The biggest factor still missing is strategy.” – Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz

In fact, Rand Fishkin (the Wizard of Moz), had a lot to say about SEO strategy. He thinks that we have become so addicted to tactics and tips (“just tell me how!”) that often times, SEO focused people can forget about the big picture. The core of the plan should always connect SEO efforts to strategic efforts that contribute to the overall success of the business.

How SEO and UX Can Succeed Together:

Roger Dooley, author of “Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing,” has dedicated much of his life to showing how making small changes can have huge effects on conversion rates and revenue. He likes to think of the UX journey as a persuasion slide – the more UX friction there is for a user (too many words, too many choices, difficult-to-read fonts, etc.), the higher the likelihood that they will not convert.

So, how can you ensure that SEO is not forgotten in the UX process? Mike King’s presentation discussed points on how you can build the user journey and tie keywords to the user’s intent – or in other words, map out the keywords and segment them within the user journey. This is a clear and strategic way of utilizing both UX and SEO in conjunction with one another – making them equally important to your marketing intentions.

What You Can Take With You:

  1. Don’t use keywords to stuff website pages just so a searchbot can find your site and give it lots of traffic and a high ranking.
  2. Match high quality keywords to the appropriate user journey segment and enhance the user experience by persuading your customers that you are most relevant to their search.

Want more insights on topics like SEO and UX or looking to attend an upcoming MnSearch event? Sign up for our Celarity Scoop Newsletter and keep up-to-date with MnSearch and other local org events!

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