By Author admin

SEO and User Experience Guideline: How To Make Them Work Together

SEO and user experience on desktop and moblie - Acidgreen

Are you struggling to implement SEO and user experience strategies on your website? Maybe you understand SEO and you understand the concept of user experience (UX), but combining them together? How does that work?

Well, there was a time when all you needed to do to rank on Google was SEO (search engine optimisation). This was in the early days of the internet however, when SEO meant stuffing your site with keywords and watching the dollars rolling into your bank account. User experience was not even in our vocabulary. 

However, when search engines use hundreds of factors to determine which websites should rank in the results pages, you need to up your game. Essentially, you need to use SEO best practices to increase user engagement and conversions on your website, but how do you do that?

What is SEO?

SEO is concerned with increasing the visibility of your website to the search engines so that it will be ranked higher in the results pages. It involves a lot of strategies that help search engines understand the topic of your website and web pages, enabling them to match a shopper’s keywords with the best web pages. Search engines want to give shoppers a good user experience.

What is the user experience? 

User experience refers to a shopper’s interaction with your website. It’s how they engage with your brand online. If you can fulfil the needs of shoppers on your website, then you have given them a good user experience.

What is user experience design?

User experience design is where a developer designs your website to enhance the user experience. After all, a website’s success depends on how visitors perceive it to be. So shoppers will ask themselves – is this website easy to use? Does it answer my questions? Does it give me value? UX design consists of many factors, all of which focus around system performance, accessibility, utility and usability. It’s a vast field and many people specialise in UX design because it’s so interesting and challenging.  

To put it in a nutshell, you could say that SEO deals with enhancing search engine interactions with your website, whilst UX enhances a visitor’s experience. Combining these two concepts. However, is vital if you want your website to rank highly in the results pages. This is because search engines now include UX metrics in their ranking algorithms. If your website has a poor user experience, it doesn’t matter how much SEO you throw at it, it won’t rank well in the results pages.

How does UX design impact SEO?

User experience can have a profound impact on your website’s SEO making your site more accessible and crawlable by search bots. When search bots can easily access and crawl your website, it makes it easier to rank higher, all things being equal. User experience also helps to make your site more searchable, credible and desirable to consumers.

Implementing SEO and user experience ideas on your website

 

All of this means that you must focus on both SEO and user experience. After all, search engines want to give consumers the best online experience, presenting them with the information they are searching for online. Your website also wants to give consumers the best experience on your website, ensuring that it will keep returning. So both SEO and user experience design has the same goals. The problem is how do you achieve both of these goals at the same time?

The trick is to select a number of SEO elements that can also be optimised for consumers. Here are seven actions you can take today that will enhance SEO and user experiences on your website. 

1. Improve page loading times

Whilst Google now includes page loading times in their algorithms (so it should definitely be in your SEO arsenal), it’s also one of the best user experience ideas. Consumers don’t have the patience to wait whilst your pages take forever to load and will quickly click out and go somewhere else (your competition for example). In fact, just a one-second delay in loading your page can reduce your page views by 11%, and if it doesn’t load in 2 seconds or less, nearly 50% of your visitors will click away. 

If your website has a lot of traffic, it might be worthwhile using your own dedicated server, as this will help to speed up loading times. So talk to your web host and try to negotiate a good deal for your own server, as this is a critical component of both SEO and user experience.

2. Perform keyword research

The right keywords are essential for SEO and your visitors. For SEO, keywords help search engines to match visitors with your web pages, and if visitors find what they are looking for on your pages, they make a purchase and increase your revenue. Knowing the keywords consumers use to find your products or services can also help you to write better content that perfectly matches their needs. When shoppers are happy, everyone’s happy!

3. Use more enticing metadata

Just because another website ranks higher in the results pages, doesn’t mean that you won’t get the click! It’s all about writing better and more enticing title tags and meta descriptions, designed to lure searchers onto your website. Of course, you must deliver the goods at that point, but if you can catch a consumer’s eye as they skim down the results page, they may be more inclined to click on your website than the website above.

4. Write better headlines

Once consumers are on your website, you need to make it easy for them to find the information they need. Headings are a great way to help visitors skim down your web page to confirm that they have landed on the right page. As you already know, visitors tend to skim down a page, before settling in to read more or click away.

This makes it vital that you use your headings to their best effect – engaging your visitors and explaining clearly the content of the page. One tip at this point is to only use one <H1> tag on any page, as this lets search engines and visitors know the general topic of the page.  Other headings, such as <H2>, <H3>, and so on, can be used as required throughout the content.

5. Focus on user-friendly navigation

Search engines need to find their way around your website, as do visitors. So user-friendly navigation is one of the basic tenets of both search engine and user experience design. Search engines use your navigation as a roadmap, so they can match a searcher’s keywords with your content. Visitors are happy that their search has pulled up the content they wanted when they typed in their keywords.

It’s also important to remember that many of your site’s visitors won’t enter your site via the homepage, so they need to easily navigate your website from whatever page they landed on. Finally, if you create navigation that’s very user-friendly, you can even earn bonus site links in the results pages, where these links take searchers directly to specific pages on your site. These site links can include the login page, product comparison pages, careers, and so on; pages that search engines believe enhance user experience.

6. Enhance the mobile experience

Whilst we have been talking about SEO and user experience, we can’t forget about the mobile experience, because it’s highly relevant to both search engines and user experience. A website that’s mobile-friendly has now become essential to consumers, but that doesn’t just mean that it’s a responsive design with fast loading pages. In fact, Google now ranks your mobile website as your main site, so it’s now more than ever, essential to rank your mobile pages highly in the results pages. Navigation, whilst it’s important on your main website, is absolutely essential on your mobile site, where even the size of the navigation menu can be a help or a hindrance to users. Every element on your mobile website impacts the user’s experience, affecting SEO and your rankings. So you should definitely add optimising your mobile website to your user experience ideas list.

7. Optimise your content

Optimising your content is going to please both search engines and visitors to your website. That’s because search engines check your content for keywords so that they can match a shopper’s search to the best web pages. When consumers click on these links they find what they need in your content and go away happy (hopefully to return). So you can maximise user experience by writing better content and at the same time, show search engines that your content deserves to be ranked highly.

To write better content, always make sure that it’s well written and spell checked. Write long-form content to keep search engines and visitors happy and make sure that your content is original, interesting and engaging. Use responsive images and videos to get your point across, as well as to promote or demonstrate your products. Also, if you make your content actionable so that the reader now has a solution to their problem, they will be hyper-engaged and very likely to return to your website again.

For help making your website more user and search engine friendly, contact the Acid Green team. 

By Author admin

Top 5 Instagram Analytics Tools To Boost Your Business Profile

Instagram analytics tools help you to measure your business’s performance on Instagram. Essentially it allows you to measure key data points so that you understand your audience and how your business can fulfil these needs. Instagram can be used to target new audiences, increase your brand’s visibility and build brand loyalty with your audience.

Starting 10 years ago as a social networking and photo posting app, Instagram now has more than 1 billion users. The most prolific users of Instagram are between 18 and 34 years of age, and in fact, account for 65% of all users. With more than 25 million businesses now using this platform as a brand and marketing tool, businesses can partner with influencers, engage with customers and gain a competitive edge very quickly.

You might already be using other social media platforms for your business, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. However, Instagram offers your business many more opportunities to amplify your brand message and engage with a new customer base.

Some business owners or marketers feel that they spend too much time on Instagram without seeing enough results. So we have put together a short guide on how to use Instagram as a marketing tool, followed by five of the best third-party analytical tools that can help you to get the most out of your data. First, however, let’s take a look at how to use Instagram business tools, which are free when you open an Instagram business account.

Learn how to use Instagram business tools

If you want to learn how to use Instagram business tools, you first need a business account. Since many people use their personal account to promote their brand, you need to switch your current profile to a business profile by clicking the appropriate link in the settings. 

With a business account, your followers can click on your contact button on your Instagram profile and get in touch with you, and you can create Instagram ads without needing to go via Facebook (Facebook owns Instagram). You also have access to Instagram’s business insight tools, giving you data on impressions, engagement, follower demographics, top posts and so on. These free tools allow you to understand how users and followers interact with your brand, giving you information that helps to finetune your content and increase engagement.

Instagram insights are self-explanatory and you should have no problems using their dashboard and interpreting the data. Once you have discovered the data mining opportunities provided by these free business tools, however, it’s definitely worthwhile exploring other third-party tools that offer even more data mining possibilities.

Top 5 Instagram Analytics Tools for businesses (third-party tools)

Engagement is a big part of the social media phenomenon with brands experiencing up to four times the amount of user engagement on Instagram, as on Facebook. However, whilst you can use Google Analytics to identify key metrics for your Facebook posts, it doesn’t work for Instagram (not yet!). The problem is that whilst businesses can measure the performance of their ads and lead generation promotions on Instagram, assessing the results of user engagement is more challenging. The answer is to know what metrics to monitor and what tools you need to achieve your goals. 

Here are the best five Instagram analytics tools designed to help your business identify key data points that are not covered by Instagram’s built-in business tools. You will quickly be able to target potential customers, understand what motivates them, and learn how to engage their interest in your business.

  1. Owlmetrics: This analytics package goes over and above Instagram’s business insights, offering you a variety of metrics on engagement and follower growth, click-through rates (by browser, language, source and location) and hashtag activity. For example, the best time to post, the most engaging posts and videos, top tags, and hashtag performance by interactions. All this data and much more is presented in an easy to use dashboard. This information can be used to create a content strategy, based on user engagement and the best performing types of posts.Owlmetrics also gives you follower demographics, helping you to fine-tune your content strategy, and you can track the growth of your followers, and learn the commonalities between new followers and those you have lost. You can even track your competitors – number of followers, number of likes, comments, engagement rate and days when they post more often. All data is real-time and presented in graphic form.
  2. Iconosquare: This is one of the Instagram analytics tools that focuses on followers and optimising the delivery of your posts. First of all, Iconosquare compares the number of followers gained vs lost and then overlays the number of posts you have published. This gives you information on how your posting frequency relates to new and lost followers. They also provide a stock media library so you can use their HD images in your posts, as well as a scheduling tool. You can also search for influencers in your area and compare their followers and other engagement metrics, before reaching out to discuss how they can help to amplify your brand’s message to a greater audience base. Iconosquare also provides data on your hashtags, as well as compares your engagement rates with those of your competitors.
  3. SocialRank: This analytical tool is focused on your audience and helps you to identify patterns amongst your followers, so you can create more targeted content.  These metrics are quite detailed, such as the most popular words used in your follower’s posts, even the most popular emojis used by your target audience. This means that if you want to identify specific bloggers or influencers, you can search posts and bios for particular keywords, relevant to your industry, services or products. You can even identify bloggers and influencers by location, which is useful if you want to reach out within your local geographic area. You can also search for followers by the number of followers they have themselves and rank them based on these figures or with their engagement with your business. SocialRank is ideal if you want to create interest around a new launch or campaign.
  4. TapInfluence: If your main focus is identifying influencers on Instagram, then that’s exactly what TapInfluence offers. It analyses over 50,000 influencers, searching by industry or tags, provides a short overview of these influencers, even including their reach, rates and cost per engagement. You can also access how your own business’s influencer campaigns compare with other brands in your industry. TapInfluence allows you to scale your influencer marketing, optimise your content for increased engagement and presents it all on an easy to understand dashboard.
  5. Curalate: The last of our top five Instagram analytics tools is Curalate. One of the great benefits of this platform is that it curates user-generated content to help business sell their products directly from Instagram. They provide a trackable ‘Link2Buy’ link that allows you to track the ROI of your Instagram campaigns. You can also schedule posts, analyse the performance of your posts, stories and hashtags, examine your brand’s reach, change in followers, engagement rate and tap into user-generated content about your brand. Curalate even allows you to group content from specific influencers or campaigns so you can keep abreast of key metrics and measure their performance over time.

Learn how to use Instagram as a marketing tool

Now that you have an overview of how you can use Instagram to enhance engagement with your followers, let’s look at how to use Instagram as a marketing tool.

Product teasers: One strategy is to post product teasers, something that you may already use on other platforms. The whole point is to not overwhelm your followers with these type of posts or be seen as pushing your products onto them, it’s all about being subtle. 

Product teasers are usually well accepted when you offer your followers something for free, rather than trying to sell them a product. An example is to offer them a free app to explore your products or inventory, or a discount on their first purchase, whilst including photos and links for these products in the post. Teasers work because of the imagery and the fact that you aren’t being pushy and trying to sell anything. 

Sponsored ads: You can also create sponsored ads on Instagram, setting an ad budget and targeting specific audiences, rather than just your followers. You can even turn existing posts with high engagement into sponsored ads, using photos, videos, carousels and stories. 

Stories: These are slideshows that are great for generating leads. They appear in the top horizontal bar of a user’s profile, opening out into a popup window that reveals your story when the user clicks on your story bubble. You can explore different types of content in these stories to identify which works better for your brand, and they don’t need to be as high quality as your other brand posts. Stories allow you to get off topic slightly to show the more ‘human’ side of your brand, such as an office party, launch bloopers, bring a pet to work day, etc. They are only available for 24 hours, so whilst they are short and sweet, they can also significantly increase your brand’s visibility.

For professional help with eCommerce design, Magento development, Shopify Plus stores or online marketing, call our friendly team at acidgreen on 1300 139 658 or ask for a free quote today.

By Author admin

7 UX Rules To Create The Best Website Design

Turned on MacBook Pro beside gray mug - AcidgreenAs web developers, we want to give our clients the best website design possible, one that suits their needs and their budget. To achieve this goal, our designers focus on creating a website that enhances customer loyalty and optimises conversion rates.

This is what UX design is all about – connecting with consumers and building positive relationships with a target audience. The better a company can make these connections, the greater their customer loyalty, conversions, sales and profits.

We have all visited websites that are not user-friendly and it’s usually due to poor UX design. When the user’s experience isn’t considered in the design process of an eCommerce website, for example, traffic slumps and conversions decline (or never take off). This is a concept that some business owners find hard to grasp because if your website doesn’t leave a positive impact on your visitors, your only recourse is to improve the site’s UX design.

You can pay for more traffic, but if the UX design is the problem, the few sales that result from increased traffic aren’t likely to turn into long term loyal customers. On the other hand, you can turn things around and improve your conversions, if you put some serious effort into improving the user experience (UX design) of your website.

The best website design doesn’t need a host of bells and whistles, it just needs to make it easy for visitors to find what they want. So keeping eCommerce website design in mind, let’s take a look at seven rules that our web developers keep in mind when they are creating a site for one of our clients.

1. Don’t get too creative

Whilst our clients want a unique design for their eCommerce website, visitors expect some form of consistency when they visit a website. They expect to see a header along the top of the page with a menu underneath. They expect a logo in the left top corner and a search box on the right. They expect to see a sign-up box and social media icons in the footer, along with social sharing buttons on every page or post.

They also expect to see your contact details on the footer, which can also include links that are less frequently needed such as Privacy, T&Cs, Shipping, Refunds, and so on. Keeping to a recognised layout for your website makes it easy for visitors to navigate around your site and find what they want. Your creativity can be used in other areas that don’t negatively affect UX.

2. Focus on clarity

Too many colours, popups and disorganised content all result in a cluttered eCommerce website that confuses visitors and results in poor UX. Whilst your website needs to be aesthetically pleasing, it also needs to function. For example, don’t fill your pages with images and text, instead organise your content into clearly defined sections with enough white space to allow visitors to quickly focus on the content.

You can delineate or highlight specific sections on a page with different coloured sections, but it must be done in a logical way that doesn’t create confusion. In the same way, if a link or button needs to be clicked, make sure that this function is obvious, and keep the look of these links and buttons consistent throughout your site.

Another aspect of clarity is to let visitors know exactly what you offer, the instant they land on your website. If a visitor needs to search for the answer to the question, “yes, but what do you do?”, or needs to search the page to find out how to buy your product – then you have lost them immediately. It’s all about clarity, which involves removing as many obstacles in your sales funnel as humanly possible.

3. Design for short attention spans

You need to focus on the most important aspects of each page because people scan down pages. A study in 2015 by Microsoft found that our attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. So you have 8 seconds to attract a visitor’s attention before they become bored or frustrated and leave. This means that you need to remove all unnecessary content on each page, where this content doesn’t enhance your sales funnel.

Of course, your eCommerce website design needs to include product images, prices, options, colours, and any other details that contribute to converting visitors into buyers. Any other content, however, needs to be assessed for its contribution to your sales funnel. This approach is called functional minimalism, where all the content on a page should be relevant to achieving one goal – making a sale. With only 8 seconds to attract a visitor’s attention, you need to critically assess the content on your website and decide what is and isn’t needed.

4. Know your target audience

The best website design focuses on the needs of visitors. This means that you need to understand the needs of your customers and your target audience and then design a website that fulfils their needs.

Using these elements as a base, you can differentiate your site with some judicious creativity. Another proven strategy is to actually ask your target audience what they want in an eCommerce website and then incorporate their feedback into the design. You can identify the needs of a customer through user interviews via phone or face to face, or some prefer a digital method of user-generated recording.

5. Don’t overcomplicate functionality

Websites with poor UX often overwhelm or confuse visitors, who have no idea what steps to take to find the information they want. When a visitor has difficulty interpreting certain steps involved in achieving a specific goal on your website or when they need to put a lot of thought into their actions, they lose interest. The steps that they need to take should be intuitive, not complicated.

In other words, the higher a visitor’s cognitive load and the less intuitive it is to find what they want or follow instructions, the more likely they will leave your site and go to the competition. So if you want to provide a guided shopping experience on your website, make sure that the steps are short and easy to follow. Remember the term functional minimalism mentioned above and all will be well.

6. Personalise & differentiate your eCommerce website design

After starting with the admonition not to get too creative with your sites’ design, there has to be some flexibility to allow you to differentiate your website from the competition. You don’t want your site to look like everyone else’s website, so it clearly needs to reference your brand messaging and build a connection with your target audience. Personalising your website so that it appeals to your customers is a good first step, particularly if they can relate to the company, as this builds customer loyalty.

The best website design is one that makes your company or product memorable, not forgotten amongst a wash of other sites. Creativity needs to be intentional with the goal of increasing a visitor’s interaction with your site and making them want to spend more time learning about your products or services. It doesn’t mean overwhelming them with popups and a page crammed with as much content as can be packed into space.

Instead, the colours, layout, font and style should all represent your brand, offering an aesthetically pleasing user experience to your customers, whilst being simple to use and eminently functional. Clarity and simplicity don’t need to equate with boring and uninteresting, however, it takes a very talented web developer to master functional minimalism, whilst still being creative.

7. Understand the design process

The design process can be overwhelming for business owners and inexperienced developers. The solution is to know exactly where you are in the design process so that you don’t miss anything important or get too far ahead of yourself. The steps would be identifying user needs, identifying business goals, competitors research, sketching, creating wireframes, designing a prototype with the final design. So for example, there’s no point in worrying over the colour, shape and size of a BUY button, if you haven’t finalised where it will be placed on a page.

It’s easy to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the big picture. We are all aware that ‘the devil is in the details’, but there is a time and a place for these details! Feedback from users is most effective when it is used to optimise the aesthetics and functionality of the entire site, rather than nit-picking over where to place a button.

For professional help with eCommerce website design, call the team at Acid Green on 1300 139 658 or ask for a free quote today.