Window Fashion VISION

Balancing User Experience and Search Engine Optimization

Acronyms are fun, right? They’re especially popular in a world where we now communicate (probably far too often) in text messages. From LOL to BFF to IRL, acronyms make it easier to get the point across concisely.

In that spirit, let’s talk about two other acronyms that are very important in using your window fashions website to generate leads and amplify revenue.

You quite likely already know that SEO stands for search engine optimization. Great SEO is critical to getting premium rankings on search engine results lists, putting your window coverings business front and center for local searchers.

Today’s other acronym is UX, which stands for user experience. (Why isn’t it UE? I’m not sure, but I’m guessing it’s because UX looks much cooler.)

So how do these acronyms relate to powering the success of your window coverings business? They’re actually critical aspects of every company doing business in 2018, whether it’s small or big, local or national (or international) and retail or otherwise. However, they’re especially important to local retail businesses.

The 411 on SEO

Again, you’re probably familiar with SEO, and hopefully you’ve been ensuring that your website incorporates SEO best practices to put your business in the brightest spotlight possible, particularly in your local market.

While it’s true that some analysts consider SEO slightly less important than it once was, due to the rise of paid advertising on search engine results pages, I can assure you that it remains a vital aspect of marketing your window fashions business online.

For example, a recent study by the Moz SEO consulting company found that the average Google searcher spends less than one minute on a search. That’s one of many reasons you want your website to be near the very top of results among window fashions companies in your geographic area.

Most searchers simply don’t take the time to scroll down through lots of organic results. If you’re not one of the first ones to come up, you’re effectively invisible. And the way to be one of the first ones is to incorporate excellent SEO.

Granted, a few paid results (pay-per-click ads) will appear above organic (unpaid) ones on the typical search engine results page (SERP). However, Moz found that the majority of searchers still click on an organic result before trying out a paid one.

While paid ads continue to grow in importance—and have an excellent success rate for immediate lead generation, customer base growth and revenue increases—they’re still best utilized in tandem with high rankings in organic searches. And to get a high ranking, you need to have great SEO.

The Vital Role of UX

Here’s where user experience (UX) comes in. While you want your site to have excellent SEO, you never want that to come at the cost of a poor user experience. A site could have amazing SEO yet fail miserably because the UX is so poor.

In the simplest terms, UX means the experience visitors have when they interact with your website. It ignores the SEO ramifications and simply looks at whether your site is easy to navigate, looks good and works well, and overall is a joy to visit.

There was a time when certain sites ignored UX almost entirely in favor of SEO. In those early days, some webmasters and site owners (incorrectly) thought UX was at cross-purposes to SEO.

After all, SEO is intended to appeal not to humans but to search engine “spiders,” bits of code that crawl your site to help Google and other search platforms determine how well your window fashions site should rank on SERPs.

User experience, on the other hand, is all about actual human visitors. They’re not interested in how the content and design of your site affects your SEO; they’re looking for information on your products, services and prices. They want to see testimonials, galleries, information about you and your employees. They don’t care about keywords.

The SEO/UX Balancing Act

The best sites find a way to organically balance both SEO and UX concerns. There’s no point to having amazing UX if no one ever finds your site because your SEO is so poor. On the other hand, there’s no point to having a high-ranking site that attracts visitors who immediately “bounce” (leave the site), never becoming customers, because their experience with it is so poor.

The good news is that if you’re primarily focused on UX, good SEO comes naturally. Users want lots of great, original, informational content relevant to their interests—in your case, that would be content related to drapes, shades, blinds, curtains and similar products.

When you provide that, you naturally superpower your SEO with relevant keywords, images and videos. Clean design that’s easy to navigate makes both human visitors and search engine spiders happy.

However, it’s true that you can miss some tricks if you focus purely on UX, but they’re techniques that do not detract from visitors’ experiences on your site.

You might not think to use a number of internal links in your text if you’re purely focused on readability for human visitors, but those links are critical to SEO, and they can benefit the reader as well.

You typically might not worry about incorporating meta descriptions and title tags in your code, but these are crucial for helping searchers find your site.

Properly tagged images are also imperative to improving your site’s SEO. They’re invisible to visitors, so they don’t impact on-site UX either way, but describing the image in an alt attribute lets the search engine know exactly what it shows and thus make it searchable.

Additionally, if you’re only concerned with UX, you might write long, highly descriptive headlines for your content. However, by keeping headlines less than 55 characters, you ensure they’re completely readable on a search engine results page.

These are just a few ways in which UX and SEO can live in harmony. You should never ignore user experience in favor of SEO, but there’s no reason great SEO can’t also be central to your window coverings business website.

An SEO and UX Checkup

If you haven’t done so recently, now is the perfect time to review your site from both an SEO and UX perspective.

Are you incorporating all of the best SEO factors for ranking highly in organic searches and ensuring your business’s authority with search engines such as Google? Where does your company rank right now among your local competition, and are there things you can do to improve that rank?

From a UX perspective, how easy is it to navigate your site? Is it structured in an intuitive way? Is the copy well-written and compelling? Is the design attractive and clean?

Are the product images easy to view and sufficient to give the visitor a good understanding of the product? Is the contact form easy to locate and fill out? If you do online checkout, is that process as simple as it could be?

If you’re not sure of all the answers to these questions, it’s a good idea to speak with an online marketing expert who’s experienced in improving both SEO and UX for local businesses, particularly those in your industry.

Remember, your website exists to promote your window fashions business to visitors who want to buy your products (UX), but it also must convey authority to the digital search engine spiders that determine your site’s authority (and thus its search ranking). Finding the perfect balance between the two goes a long way toward present and future success for your company.

Welton Hong is the founder of Ring Ring Marketing and a leading expert in creating case generation from online to the phone line. Hear Welton speak on digital marketing at the International Window Coverings Expo on March 8 to 10 with the workshops “Five Online Basics You Need to Know,” “It’s a Mobile World” and “A Website is Not Enough.” 

Welton Hong, Founder of Ring Ring Marketing® & WIndow Fashion VISION Columnist

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