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E-commerce Link : Experience, Meet Search

Creating a partnership between user experience and search engine optimization to build great experiences and deliver results

May 2013 By Sharon Bautista and Antonio Casanova
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Until the last decade or so, user experience (UX) design and search engine optimization (SEO) were relatively new areas of specialization within marketing. User experience encourages a closer look at the needs of target audiences, while SEO emerged to address the increasingly competitive digital marketplace.

While, on the surface, it may seem like these two disciplines do not interrelate, we recommend they be approached holistically rather than separately. A deliberate partnership between UX and SEO is essential to creating elegant user experiences that lead to returns on marketing investment.

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When embarking on a website redesign, you should first complete a heuristic usability analysis and a content audit of the website. These activities will help answer questions that are critical to a successful redesign: What elements of the site are working well? What are the areas for improvement? An SEO assessment during this phase can help identify opportunities to improve the site's visibility on search engines for valuable keywords.

Conduct a Joint Discovery
Regardless of whether you are redesigning a site or building an entirely new digital experience, you can combine user experience and SEO efforts to paint fuller pictures of the target audiences.

For example, when interviewing consumers to understand their needs, expectations and triggers related to a brand, ask SEO-related questions to better understand the consumer's mindset. These questions might include:

  • How do you find websites that sell product/service X?
  • What words would you enter into a search engine, such as Google, to find product/service X?
  • What are three words you would use to describe product/service X to a friend?

A partnership between UX and SEO during discovery can lead to a deeper understanding of the types of content that engage users and how those users are thinking about a brand.

Use SEO Research to Inform Your Information Architecture
SEO research can reveal which keywords are popular with your target audience (i.e., most searched for). In addition to following UX best practices when developing a site's information architecture, take SEO insights into account to ensure you include pages focused on popular keywords.

 

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