To Succeed in SEO Chase After the User Experience

“Instead of chasing after the search engines, chase after the user experience because the search engines are chasing after the user experience” — Matt Cutts

Now we are heeding caution to those tempted to condemn Cutts’ slogan as propaganda devised to distract from the real ranking factors, one of the most important of them being link-building. No way is link building going away, as it is the primary and most precise factor in determining website relevance.

Nevertheless, it’s quite obvious that the importance of incoming links is being isolated by other, newer components.

The truth is search engines are moving towards pursuing the user experience, which is mainly achieved through processing of the end-user data, social signals and incoming links, with the super goal of accurately predicting and serving the highest quality content. Long story short, if the search engines are making profound changes to please users, shouldn’t websites do the same thing?
Below are a few guidelines to make sure your website pleases both search engines and users alike.

1. Speed Up Your Website

Being a user nothing can be more frustrating than waiting for a website to load.
Google realizes this and gives credit to sites that load fast while penalizing those that load slowly.

The best solution to help speed up your website is to look for directories with slow load times.
There are most likely a couple of issues: 1. The images are too large. If so, use image compression. 2. The page contains extraneous JavaScript or CSS on the page (move to external files).

2. Employ external linking

Whether you like it or not, search engines see it as an altruistic demonstration that you are actually concerned about helping the user, not just focused on sucking them into your sales funnel.

3. Avoid Ad Invasion

Cash-hungry organizations tend to stuff ads into every nook and cranny of a webpage. When they do it they kill the user experience, search engines pick up on that and lower this website rankings.

4. Ensure a Good Uptime

It’s no good to have you website down when Googlebot comes crawling. Lots of decent monitoring websites will ensure your website actually has the 99.99% uptime your hosting provider promises.

5. Minimize 404s

Keep away from deleting pages within your website. Forward them through a 301 redirect to other relevant pages in your website, instead.

Deleting pages at random can cause site to lose incoming links and all the accompanying authority. In addition, broken links dramatically decreases the user experience. Of course, 404s are inevitable for large websites, and if this is your case, make sure you have a custom 404 page.

6. Layout

- Content must be above the fold.
- Avoid logos dominating your webpage.
- Ensure a clear and well-balanced navigation.
- Avoid using graphics to impart any textual message.
- Do not allow more than 100 links per page unless extremely organized.

8. Localize

Oftentimes local businesses make the big mistake of not specifying their full address on the web page. Geo-targetingshould always be borne in mind when optimizing your website. It is painfully frustrating for users not to be able to find the location of business they are looking for.
Inserting a Google Map is also a great way to enhance the user experience.

In reality, none of these guidelines, will take your website to the top of SERPs. However, this list can be a nice starting point to help webmasters reconsider their day-to-day activities that will result in increased conversion rates and improved rankings.

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