It was often assumed that optimal user experience (UX) and SEO didn't inhabit the same space. It was also commonly quite rare that an SEO practitioner would consider the UX of a site in line with an SEO strategy. That all seems to be changing with the way that search is evolving as user experience starts to tie in heavily with the optimized content you serve your users.
Think about blogs in particular. How often have you found yourself reading a professional blog post that spits out an overly obvious keyword every paragraph or so? It doesn't tend to happen anymore because it's unpleasant for the user to read.
Lest we forget: "There's nothing like the smell of tyres at a reduced price, that are all you really need for the holidays to get you safe on your way in your car, sporting brand new tyres at a reduced price." We all remember those heavily churned articles - stuffed full of keywords in the most obscure places - and they cropped up everywhere, offering no value, insight or reading pleasure for the user. It was actually frustrating being delivered content like that by Google when you were genuinely searching for valid information on "tyres at a reduced price".
So Google learnt...
The Tune Has Changed
What used to be a practice of strict keyword usage, keyword density, page lengths and word counts, is now a process of creating content that's compelling, and easy to read with a definite level of best practice SEO thrown into the mix. The manner in which Google is telling us to offer content is in a way that benefits users, which will in turn benefit the content provider when that user shares the content, subscribes to an RSS or links back to it from another site.
I've mentioned it before, but I can't get enough of the analogy of how SEO has become a symbiosis that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved. The SEO blogger is no longer the militant sergeant who aligns everything according to the previously mentioned points. Those rigid formalities have now fallen away in favor of creating rich, valuable content that people will want to inhale with delight.
Matt Cutts Said It Best...
The man whose words are tantamount to law - Matt Cutts - really managed to put the above into perspective in April 2012 in the video below. Quite simply put, many SEOs spend too much time focusing on irrelevant details such as keyword density, without really thinking about how they are creating something that's beneficial to the general public. SEO bloggers have this opportunity to share enlivening content with the world and have it rank highly on search engines, simply by making it something that people want to read as well as by adhering to basic SEO standards of:
• Proper URL structures
• The use of relevant search terms that apply to the content
• Creating properly structured titles and met a descriptions that serve the user information about the content therein
• Creating the blog post within a healthy SEO framework and site
It makes so much sense to be rewarded for great content instead of being touted as the number one ranked blog that is just a catchment page for sales or product pitches. And the best part is, everyone wins! The user and the blogger, but then Google also gets a pat on the back for providing content that's worthwhile and relevant. The symbiosis. Nailed it!
What are your thoughts on the evolution of search?
Photo courtesy of: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/korobushko_1/2545472055/