Don’t get bogged down in SEO

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We all know the role that content plays in your SEO strategy, and so at some stage we all find ourselves going through the motions of ensuring our title tags and descriptions are up to scratch, that we’re using the right keywords, that our titles are using the appropriate tags, and so on and so on.

But after we’ve done all of this does our website actually make sense? Are our pages named logically? Is our navigation understandable or simply an extension of our SEO strategy? Will our content encourage visitors to read what we’re trying to tell them? What are we trying to tell them?

In a world where content is King, the fact that a website is really about information delivery rather than robot recognition seems to have been lost. So we’ve put together a few tips for improving your site from a human perspective, which although mostly common sense, should improve user engagement, resulting in a more memorable website experience for your visitors.

Make your message clear and engage your readers

Don’t concern yourself too much with keywords, slogans and cliche’s. Your readers aren’t stupid, and most will pick it a mile away and think less of you for it.

Convey your message first, optimise second

If you do have something to offer, get to the point. While putting the milk and bread at the back of the store might work for the big boys, you should focus on giving your visitors the information they’re looking for as quickly and as effectively as possible.

And what about the times when you don’t have what the visitor is after? A user who spends 10 min on your site and can’t find what they’re looking for is less likely to return than if they had spent 3 min for the same result, so be clear about what you do and (if there’s any ambiguity) what you don’t have to offer.

Their perception of your brand or business will be less desirable if your message isn’t clear.

User engagement is an important factor for not only Google, but for your business, but don’t get carried away on figures like “bounce rate”, and “average time spent” on individual pages. If your bounce rate is high, it could be an indication that your keywords aren’t clear enough. Similarly, if your average time spent on individual pages is high, it could suggest you’re not getting to the point and damaging your readers perception of the site as a result.

Keyword density is dead

I for one find it hard reading when someone slaps the words “web design” 5 times in every 100 words. Sure, keywords, and keyword density used to be considered important, but Google has shown this is less desirable now and recent changes to their algorithm are evidence enough.

The text rarely reads well when this tactic is employed anyway, and the end result is that you got me to your website, but I’m never coming back! Don’t be afraid to veer from the path a little and use similar words to convey the same message. You’ll be surprised how little it affects your ranking, and equally surprised on the improvement in quality and variety for your content.

There’s only one rule for navigation – Make it simple

Do you really need three or four menus on your website? If it’s important enough to be on your website in the first place, why hide it? It always amazes me why website owners insist on making it difficult to find content on their site.

While you might think it’s a good idea to put only those menu items on a page that relate to that page’s content, is it really necessary? What if the person landed on that page by mistake? Can you afford for them to get impatient and leave because they think you don’t have what they’re looking for?

Navigation is designed to make things easier, not to be cryptic, not to be confused with a piece of art, and most definitely, not be invisible. Make it easy, make it simple and your site will reap the rewards!