Once, when I started out in SEO, my colleagues were called magicians. Because what we did was shrouded in secrecy and shady methods. Just like magicians our work was comprised of different methods of manipulation. Hidden texts, search term spamming and tons of link juice were some of our spells to conjure top 10 placements in the Google Search Results Page (SERP). But today - Google and SEO is something entirely different.
The love affair of Google and SEO
After years of SEO and Google slowly moving closer to each other with the motivation to help the end user - it all hit a turning point. SEO consultants starting working with Google and its guidelines. Since then, the term SEO has been more and more synonymous with user experience (UX) and viewed upon as a part of the customers journey towards their destination. Your goals.
Google will try to match you before you even start typing. Open any browser today and there will be no difference between the address bar and a “regular” search bar. Just by starting up your browser you send signals to Google that factor into their service. Who you are, your history and location. All to give you a list of results that best matches your query. And it works. Better and better each year.
You can meet the end customers need before they know they have one
Gone are the times of slow moving rankings and punishments of yesteryear. Gone are the simple text based search results. Today both you and Google will meet the customer with tons of different content and specific information. Information that you can edit to be the first contact with a new customer or client. Today they land upon:
A huge Google My Business Card: Complete with phone number, reviews, opening hours, FAQs, local business options and some compelling pictures.
Image results: Yes, with the proper markup you can rake in future business by catching the eye of your customer.
Image ads: Sort of the same but with your own unique selling point and a sweet price.
Rich snippets and structured data: Call or email me and I’ll give you the essentials.
Text ads: Now bigger and longer.
Title and meta description: Oldie but goodie. Also bigger and longer. And with sitelinks.
UX is more than just good looks and feel
Guiding a visitor through their journey can often come down to creating personalized funnels easing the visitor into a smooth ride towards conversion. That is all and well. But then there is the bounce rate. A good portion of visitors that check out before they check out, do so because of expectations.
These expectations are set when they open their browser, start typing, and clicks on your link in the search results. Not meeting that expectation is simply put, bad UX. And therefore also bad SEO.
Your company needs to think about the first step of the customer journey as the starting point of their experience – of your brand. SEO and UX are not the same, but together they make a lovely match.