Does your website’s user experience designer have to fight with your search engine optimizer over the kind of website design that is finally decided on? Here are a few areas in which friction might occur and suggestions on what you should do.
Using social sharing buttons
A great deal of choice doesn’t always make for a good user experience. For instance, SEO Company Atlanta Ryan Burton Marketing has found, that while there were just a few places that you could share your approval of a webpage a few years ago (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, maybe) the number of possible sharing destinations has exploded today. Many websites overwhelm visitors with 80 or 90 different sharing possibilities.
Search engine optimizers believe that since encouraging sharing is important to a good search ranking, they should offer as much choice as possible. User experience designers, though, resist this move. They usually like no more than a few choices. In their opinion, any more than 1 or 2 sharing buttons can cause clutter.
Who is right – the search engine optimizer or the user experience designer?
Here is an area where the user experience designer should prevail. When a person is confronted with a vast matrix filled with buttons for Buffer, Flattr, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and what have you, it can be off-putting. Website visitors may end up sharing nothing at all when they are overwhelmed in this way. It’s a psychological problem called the Paradox of choice. People freeze when they see too many choices. It could be better to simply pick one or two social networks that are important to your optimization efforts and to offer buttons for those. You’ll get better sharing action this way.
While images are good, they aren’t always good
Images do brighten pages up and make them more inviting. They are also a good idea for mobile visitors who find it easier to look at pictures than to read text. The problem, though, is that stock pictures have made it too easy for everyone to plug pictures in everywhere on webpages. Many of these pictures are easily recognizable as of the stock variety.
Some marketing studies have revealed that users find websites with unoriginal stock pictures less credible. For instance, when websites needs to illustrate their contact page, they will often use a stock picture of a beautiful model with a headset on. This image clearly looks unlikely today at a time when people generally know that customer service is a poorly paid job that is likely to be outsourced to a country where they pay $500 a month. They also know that small businesses couldn’t possibly afford a call center that employed such obviously well-paid staff.
Illustrations are a good idea only when you can get something that’s unique and that really enhances the user experience of a page. If you don’t have illustrations that meet these standards, you could simply involve yourself in designing the page with text alone and making it readable and easy to consume. Search engine optimizers shouldn’t insist on putting in pictures if they don’t add value to the user.
You don’t have to worry about cramming everything above the fold
Many search engine optimizers are paralyzed by the fear people simply don’t scroll. They insist that website designers pack everything possible above the fold. They feel that neither Google nor visitors will ever see what’s below the fold. While marketing research shows that people prefer search results that appear above the fold, they do scroll when they are on a page whose first few lines are arresting. It’s important for search engine optimizers to let website designers design their pages in a natural way.
Your user experience designer and your search engine optimizer can work together toward a common goal
While website designers often wants to simply design the layout of a page in a way that’s aesthetically satisfying and easy on the eye, SEO people often want certain specific words appearing a certain number of times and want images and words to appear on certain portions of a webpage to in keeping with the heat map.
While the user experience designer and the optimizer may have had a legitimate reason to argue 10 years ago, search engine optimization isn’t as basic anymore. There’s no reason why both a great user experience and great SEO can’t go together.
For instance, it’s possible you for the user experience designer to sit with the optimizer, find out what parts of a webpage the heat map thinks are most popular and design with that information in mind. To know where people look the most is actually information that aesthetic design can use.