Does an SEO-friendly website mean a user-friendly website?
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SEO marketing, search engines and accessibility
Internet ‘inhabitants’ want their website indexed. But sometimes, things get in the way.
The first obstacle in getting your site recognized and understood by Google is owning content that is not in an HTML form. Images and Flash files are more difficult to analyze. In spite of the fact that most website owners know they shouldn’t host iFrames, Java or other plugin-related content, they still do it. Why? Because they want to wow their visitors at the first glance.
And yet what is the point of impressing visitors if they can’t find your website in the first place? We all have to live by search engine rules. Not to mention that heavy graphics can slow down down your website, and therefore increasing your bounce rate, and therefore turning crawling into a death penalty.
According to Moz, design and development sometimes overpower content:
In order to be listed in the search engines, your most important content should be in HTML text format. Images, Flash files, Java applets, and other non-text content are often ignored or devalued by search engine spiders, despite advances in crawling technology.
Search engine optimization versus customer experience
We’ve already talked about how search behaviors differ, depending on users. Some people might look for something, others for something else. Some might use their educational background when creating their query, while others may not benefit from the same experience, and so, their inquiries will end up looking differently.
Hubspot has always had a thing for customer journey maps, which is why they wrote a lengthy article about how it relates to creating an SEO strategy. Owning a rather simple SEO-friendly website may seem boring to you, but loading times mean the world, both to visitors, and to crawlers.
Some years ago, people had the inexplicable tendency to believe that if their posts were full of keywords, their website rankings would go up. With some, this actually happened. But then, the rules were written by Google and it was revealed that keyword density is a hugely important factor.
The question is: Would you prefer optimizing your website but just throw in some words and risk making it unreadable? Or would you rather focus on creating engaging content, that gets an immense degree of sharing? Choosing the latter won’t make your written words less ‘crawlable’. Sure, robots have to know what your posts are about, but stuffing them with nonsensical idioms clearly won’t get you any customers.
Jennifer Kymin once said that “SEO friendly should not be bad writing”. And we stand by her statement.
From a strictly scientific point of view, no links in Java, Flash or other plugins can be interpreted by robots. This is as real today as it was a couple of years ago. It’s quite an amazing thing how SlideShare managed to become so widely popular, because even Powerpoint or PDF files can sometimes fail to be interpreted.
As for the number of actual links, it is said that a healthy web page should contain between 5 and 10. Which, after all, is reasonable – would you read a blog post that’s filled with links? I know I wouldn’t want to browse through one displaying more than 20. After all, what is this? A cheap, copywriting effort, or an attempt at an original piece of written content? Consequently, in this case, crawlers and human visitors have a similar behavior: they both think that too many links indicate poor quality.
Poor information architecture makes your website look like an abandoned church.
We all have a passion for our websites. With ceaseless efforts that harness our goals, we can make them blossom.
Structure is important. Nobody wants to get home from work and have to wash the dirty dishes or take out the trash. My point is that some things have to be taken care of from the beginning of launching a website. And one of those things is the way you organize it.
Of course categories, subdomains, friendly urls and redirects mean everything for a crawler. And for human beings, they do, too. Say I check out an online bio shop and I want to look for a special ingredient in a natural cold cream. In this case, I have two ways of going about things: I either look for the keyword, using a search box, or I look for the category of the product and manually select my points of interest.
Unfortunately, crawlers can’t interpret search boxes. Not even now, after being so refined by the SERPs. But regular users can surely interpret them, and not only this, but they’ll also look for them.
What’s the ideal length of an article, according to the SERPs and to human beings?
All marketers go through this dilemma, at some point. Writing shorter posts is no better than writing longer ones, and neither is the other way. Are you targeting search engines? Then, for ranking, write longer – something between 1,500 and 2,500 words. Do you want your visitors to love your posts and share them with all of their friends? Then write less than 1,000 words, and include some images.
Sure, it’s boring to write a whole lot about a topic that can easily be described and/or developed in only 500 words. But if you combine your writing skills with some story-telling, your readers are guaranteed to fall in love with your blog.
There are roughly two ways of dealing with article length. You either pick the Neil Patel way (and risk writing up to 40,000 words for a single post), or you go for the Seth Godin way (and therefore create articles of 2 to 300-words). You don’t have to choose either of these two. If you do want to focus on SEO, write 3 to 4 long posts per month. This way, you won’t fall behind, you’ll have enough space (and time) to say what you want to say, and you won’t feel pressured about not knowing what else to write about.
This will also give you the opportunity to keep in touch with your readers, because you’ll have enough time (and space) to focus on frequency. Let’s not forget that, by creating a short, yet captivating series of articles, you can turn your attention to important things, such as social media marketing. But hey, if your posts are so interesting, people will share them by themselves. There you go, you just saved yourself some more time.
As Neil Patel is keen on declaring, with content marketing and content strategy, the following indicators matter the most: substance, style, frequency, format, purpose, audience and medium.