There are three key areas that impact a site’s ability to attract & engage visitors. User Interface & Design, Technical SEO, and Content Strategy all work together to bring visitors to your site and keep them interested long enough to engage them with your brand. Higher engagement results in higher traffic and longer page visits, which leads to higher sales and more loyal customers.
Performing strongly across all four categories will take time and hard work. We do not believe in magic SEO voodoo that will “put you on the first page of Google.” The goal of Google is to give the user the best and most relevant content, so tricks and gimmicks, like 99% of all “link building” activities that artificially boost search ranking, will always be eliminated or even penalized in the long run by the search engines.
With that in mind we believe in the following two principles:
Regularly publishing high-quality content that is relevant to your audience and cross-links to related content is the best way to attain high search engine rankings, attract visitors, and keep visitors engaged.
Technical elements (HTML markup) that honestly indicate the relevance, importance, and connectedness of a site’s content must be present in order for search engines to catalog the content correctly. No SEO secrets here; just reasonable markup to translate human-readable content into something a computer can understand.
User Interface & Design
While it is true that “form follows function,” the user interface & design are of premier importance for keeping a user engaged with your site. It would be a waste of effort to attract visitors to your site only to have them react negatively because the site is difficult to understand or navigate. Common design principles remain the best practice of any user interface no matter how unique or innovative the design.
SEO (search engine optimization) encompasses a broad scope and means many things to many people. The technical, behind-the-scenes code (HTML markup) of your site provides context to search engines. Missing or poorly implemented technical SEO elements can severely limit the effect of content strategy. Conversely, well implemented technical SEO will multiply all other efforts. Technical SEO is an ever-changing landscape with many so-called “experts.” It’s important to get information from the search engines themselves and other trusted data-driven sources because chasing outdated or wrong SEO tips is a waste of time, money and can be detrimental to your goals.
Arguably the biggest impact on the success of your website is the content strategy. If the content is unorganized, hard to read, repetitive, or too sparse it will negatively impact your search engine rankings, not to mention your user engagement levels. On the other hand, content that is current, well organized, updated regularly, on topic, and easy to read will bring visitors back time and time again. It will also compel some of your visitors to bookmark or share your content on social media, other sites, and via email. In 2019, the best approach to content strategy is the building of Topic Clusters. This strategy involves multiple inter-connected pages centered around a specific topic (hub), each digging in on a specific aspect or element of the topic. This is also how human readers prefer to consume information also, so the effort of developing these clusters also enhances user engagement.