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Room 301 Podcast 009 – Unravelling the UX and SEO Connection

Posted on: May 19, 2023

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Rob Twells

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Join Rob and Pete as we unravel the mysterious connection between UX and SEO in building websites with serious impact!

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Podcast Transcripton

0:00:01 – Rob Twells
Right we’re back. Episode 9, Room 301, and we’ve got my colleague, Mr Bingham with me today who’s Head of Design and Creative. So, Pete, want to introduce yourself.

0:00:14 – Pete Bingham
Yeah, hi there. So I’m Pete. I’m the Head of Design and Creative Content at the Digital Maze and I’ve managed UX and design and all sorts of creative content type stuff on hundreds of websites for nearly 20 years now, so hopefully we’ll be answering some of the questions today and get to know a little bit about how UX and SEO fit together. I’ve done quite a few UX audits on many clients’ websites over the years and they’ve been described as both reinvigorating and devastating, which I think is fairly accurate. That’s what we aim for.

0:00:58 – Rob Twells
That’s it we’re going to be talking about all things UX, which is obviously Pete’s expertise, but also just how it links so closely with search engine visibility now and how it just can’t be ignored when it comes to SEO. I think that’s been a massive change. Probably over the last certainly over the last sort of five years it’s become much, much more important. So get my start in being asked a few questions. That’s okay, mate, let’s go. So, in your mind, how has the landscape changed over the last few years in regards to UX and an SEO.

0:01:34 – Pete Bingham
Well, yeah, like you’ve already hinted at, i mean it has changed completely, whereas, if you think about 10 years ago, we were having discussions as UX designers and the SEO community probably didn’t really factor into that, so it was very much designers and SEOs, and over the last few years, definitely Google has put sort of more focus on UX and, as a result, all websites have had to consider it more than they have in the past. So Google’s algorithms have become far more sophisticated, and so UX and SEO are now really being spoken about in the same terms, because their goals are aligned. If you think about 10 years ago, there was a huge focus. Google had a huge focus on pushing everything to mobile first. So, as designers, we were designing for mobile, of course, 10, 5 years ago, as we are now, but there’s definitely this shift towards how a user would now be focusing most of their attention on a mobile experience, and so gradually, we can see that Google has been pushing more towards this idea of the user-centric model, where the SEOs perhaps in the last five years have started to wake up to this, and as UX designers, we started to realise that there are things that SEOs do that maybe we need to start thinking about as well when we design websites and content as well.

So, of course, now the biggest shift is towards AI and the whole search engine landscape is shifting again and we sort of have to realise where the UX designers come into that, as SEO is also thinking about what our search engine is doing now. So it’s definitely being a shift more towards the user and experience first, but it’s such a cutting edge at the moment we don’t know what AI is going to be and we don’t know what SEO is going to involve, and UX and SEO have to work together to realise their shared goals with what Google decides to do next and where AI goes next. So we have to work together. It’s definitely not just two separate entities anymore. They are the same thing.

0:03:56 – Rob Twells
No, absolutely. I think we’ve seen that in a lot of our client strategies and obviously we’re fortunate that we’ve got yourself within the SEO team, so we don’t have to be biased towards what comes first, what comes last. We just react to what the customer needs most really, and often is the case, when we get a new customer, that we do need to address some issues on the website that you know it’s all about bringing traffic to a website, but if we don’t feel it’s going to convert well enough we’re going to offer the right experience, then we’re not leveraging our expertise in the best way possible.

0:04:26 – Pete Bingham
So for anyone, wondering why do you think?

0:04:29 – Rob Twells
it’s important for people to consider both UX and SEO together in their strategy. They’re thinking about employing, maybe, an agency to look after their SEO. Do you think it’s important that the SEO agency they pick does have a UX expert in?

0:04:41 – Pete Bingham
Absolutely. You just can’t ignore it anymore. You can’t just say you know we’re just doing SEO, because if you assume by just doing SEO we’re talking traditional SEO, then you’ve not been really paying attention. So SEO brings traffic in. Good SEO brings traffic in. You know it. Climb up the search and all that, but you still need a good website to seal that deal. You know you bring people to your website and then they won’t convert because the UX is rubbish.

But you know Google has been talking about this for years. It’s not a new thing. You know Google has expected websites to be of a certain quality for many years now and it only seems to be coming to a head now that people are going oh no, why is my traffic tanking? Why am I going down the SERPs? Because people are now talking about this search experience, optimization and really UX and SEO do share the same goals to rise up the rankings, drive traffic and make money. They’re not an either /or anymore. They are just one.

So there are hundreds of reasons why you could just say, okay, I just want SEO. But ultimately, seo is UX now and UX is SEO. So take something like accessibility, for example, hugely forgotten about by most clients because it’s deemed almost a nice to have, whereas if you consider, apparently, if you look at ONS figures, around 20% have some form of disability and by ignoring accessibility, you are, in effect, excluding a huge jump to society, so you’re going to miss out on revenue. So there are very sort of, if you like, black and white reasons for businesses to want to invest in UX, but there are also, you know, huge common sense reasons. I mean, you can’t avoid it nowadays, you can’t ignore it. Google is more focused on SEO than ever before. Sorry, UX, as ever before, and it forms part of SEO. Now, it is part of the same thing. They’re one and the same thing,

0:06:54 – Rob Twells
And do you think it’s more for B2C, b2b? is it more important on e-commerce websites, if you? had a part of money to spend as a marketing manager or marketing leader and you were managing, maybe, a B2B website, would you place as much importance on UX as you would, potentially, if you were running an e-commerce store, so to speak?

0:07:13 – Pete Bingham
Well, that’s a good question. I think they’re equally important. I don’t think it really matters whether you’re B2B or B2C. Ultimately it’s about the end user, isn’t it? So you have to understand the user intent, wherever that may be. So if you’re selling to businesses, it’s a slightly different approach, but you still. If you’re selling to end users the average person on the street or wherever you still have to understand that user and you still have to engineer your site and your content and, ultimately, your SEO, depending on the user intent. So I don’t think it particularly matters. I just think that it definitely matters to Google now, so it should matter to you, whatever your business is.

0:08:01 – Rob Twells
Yeah, no, I agree, I agree, and I’m sorry we’re going off piste here. I know we had a set of things we were going to discuss, but I’m just really interested now, so we talk about. CRO and we talk about UX almost separately. Are those the same thing?

0:08:17 – Pete Bingham
UX and CRO are they different things? Well, the user experience is going to determine whether or not somebody converts ultimately. So CRO, being a conversion rate optimization, is where we mess around with a load of things on your website to try and get a user to convert. Ultimately, whether a user converts or not is down to experience. There are signals, of course, that you can put into your content and your layout which will improve a user’s experience and therefore make it more likely that they will convert, just as there are signals and messages within your content that you can add to make it rank better and therefore drive more traffic to the site. So, UX, CRO, SEO I think they’re all same from LinkedIn. They’re not all the same thing, but they are very intrinsically linked, and even more so nowadays. Yeah, does that answer the question? I don’t know if it does.

0:09:12 – Rob Twells
Yeah, i mean obviously I speak to a lot of the customers that are potentially looking at coming on board to take one of our services, and one of the things I’m always trying to explain is if you’ve got a decent amount of traffic coming to your website and in this instance, on the e-commerce website already some people always default to I need more traffic. That’s not always the answer. If you can just add, in some cases, 0.5% to your conversion rate, just by providing a better experience and just doing some small tweaks, that can have a much greater impact on bottom line than adding maybe 10% traffic. I think it’s just the lens at which the customer sees the challenge through And I think it’s definitely becoming more focused on what they do not have it.

It’s a numbers game, isn’t it?

0:10:01 – Pete Bingham
So if more people come to your site, you are going to get more conversions.

0:10:06 – Rob Twells
Yeah, of course.

0:10:07 – Pete Bingham
Theory in theory, but if you concentrate on your UX, that people come to your site and actually want to connect with your site, understand what you’re selling, have all the information there, then they’re going to be more likely to convert, and I would definitely focus heavily on that, especially when it comes to e-commerce. Yeah, no definitely.

0:10:28 – Rob Twells
Well, look, we had a just for the listeners. We have a quarterly business or team get-together as a business where each of the delivery teams go through and present to the wider business what they’re up to, information on their expertise and just really to educate other teams within our business on what they’re up to and what they can expect to see. Now I have to have the listeners. I have to have you tell the listeners what you did with Mr Barker in terms of the romantic. You have to remind me. Do we have to?

0:11:02 – Pete Bingham
We do. I’d like to say it was Wayne Barker’s idea, but it was actually mine. So, yeah, we were talking about how this very thing really how UX and SEO have come together to become this idea of shared goals, and how the relationship has changed. And if you’ve ever seen a Wayne Barker talk, he likes to infuse it with pop culture references, a bit of comedy and whatever. So how can we talk about how maybe a relationship that wasn’t there initially, that had shared goals, moved into something where they are intrinsically intertwined? and we stumbled upon the idea of a romantic comedy, which follows a very sort of formula, basically, which is two people meet, there’s a spark, and then all of a sudden, there is an issue between the relationship. So, whilst there’s a spark, we can see that this could work. There’s friction between the two, so friction between UX and SEO. They want the same things, but they are looking in different directions to achieve it.

And throughout the process of this talk, we gradually came to the conclusion that there is a romantic theme between UX and SEO. And now we can form this unison where the UX designers and the traditional SEOs realize that now Google is saying you guys have got to work together if you want to rank higher And therefore, obviously you probably need to see it in action. I don’t think we recorded it, sadly, but maybe we’ll do it live one day. But yeah, so Google has been talking about what users want since its conception, and it’s important to realize that people do come to your site for great content and for information, not just for a nice design layout, and that’s how SEOs have traditionally seen it.

Designers want it to look nice And designs are going. What have you done to my beautiful site that I’ve designed? You stuffed it full of keywords, you’ve broken my layout, you’ve broken the content on the site And now it’s about. Well, we need to work together to create a better experience for everybody. Ux is, seo is UX is my sort of catchphrase at the moment. I think everyone’s pretty much sick of hearing it at Digital Amaze, but we drive traffic, we engage the user And then we increase conversions. So SEOs are happy, ux designers are happy And the clients over the moon, because they’re getting more conversions.

0:13:59 – Rob Twells
I love story. Yeah, perfect. More traffic, more conversions, convert more of that traffic.

0:14:05 – Pete Bingham
More of that traffic, so SCA was going, sca was going.

0:14:10 – Rob Twells
It’s much more down a sort of human first approach nowadays I think you wind about the time, maybe 10 years or so or even less than that It was all about beating the system. It was about stuff with as many keywords as possible And it was. It was all very systematic Who can do more of X, who can do more of Y, and all that kind of stuff. But it’s much more holistic now, much more human first. So any sort of practical ways in terms of how they you know, ux and SCA works together to improve that overall marks and effort and sort of leans towards that human first approach. I feel like UX is massively key in that.

0:14:44 – Pete Bingham
Yeah, i think it. I think it comes from just realizing that you can’t really work in silos anymore. You have to be part of a team And whilst you know it’s easy to say that and most people say, oh, we are part team, we do listen to whatever, but I think on the ground floor, whenever you come into either existing website or a brand new website project, you need to be talking to as a designer, you need to be talking to an SEO. So, as an SEO, you need to be talking to a designer, because this human first approach you’ve said is, is, is really key And a lot of that, i think, has been lost on the SEO community community for many years now, because they are trying to beat the algorithm.

They are trying to beat the system.

You know we’ve we’ve we’ve moved on from black hat SEO techniques 10, 15 years ago And now we’re sort of seeing a few interesting ones about all you know AI is is now Google’s all about AI beings, all about AI. How can we beat the system so that Google will now, in its AI responses, show our website first And I think that again, like, like that, that will work for a certain amount of time, but Google’s going to get better at it, just like it did with. You know all the nasty stuff that we were doing 10 years ago, 15 years ago, and so it’s really important that you look at the long game, and the long game has always been about the users. So, if the SEOs can concentrate on not just trying to beat the system, listening to UX designers and so so you know this is about the users and you know UX designers need to listen to the SEO community as well, because they know what ranks and they know how to rank.

But there has to be a longer, more human centric idea of how we create websites going forward. You know we can’t just give into the idea that AI is the next big thing And all we found a way to cheat it. Let’s do that because, you know, if everyone finds a way to cheat it, google find out about it and move on. So something one of my colleagues, rebecca, who’s, i think, done a couple of podcasts before on the webinar.

Yeah she has. You know, learning from people outside. You know design and SEO and talking to traditional sales people as well, because sometimes we are so focused on our own little. You know, as I said, talking about silos, that we forget that. You know, sales people are part of the process as well. Users are part of the process as well. So we need to talk to the users of the site. We need to talk to sales people, you know.

And she went on to say, if two people walk into a shop, they don’t. They’re not going to be told and shown the exact same thing. They’re going to be. There’s an approach to tailoring content that based on user intent and learn, studying from how sales people do that what users want as well. So I think, really, the way that things are going to shift is to work together, but also pull in advice from other teams maybe less traditional SEO, less traditional design, ux. Look at the whole ecosystem of what creates a business, a website and a product, a brand. You know. Talk to brand designers as well, because they’re a part of that too. It’s not enough just to rely on traditional anymore. I don’t think.

0:18:24 – Rob Twells
No, no, i completely agree. I think, Yeah, experience, user experience is the clues in the name, isn’t? it’s not just not just what people think is, it’s not just design, is not just visuals. In my opinion, it extends to everything around the brand, absolutely Always in the copy on the website, for example. Yeah, yeah yeah, i think some people get confused with just good design which obviously is key Good designs is.

you know, everyone has good design, but it’s not just say it’s the X 10 lock person, that’s so. In fact, have you got any examples of practical examples of UX that extend things beyond just looking at a certain way?

0:19:05 – Pete Bingham
Have I got any examples? you put me on the spot now, haven’t you? Well, if you think about UX as a more sort of wider thing than just how something looks on a site, you need to think about how your, your content is written as well. Again, going back to user intent. So you know, if you know your audience, you know that they will want to. They will have a better experience if you’re talking to them, as they’re expected to be told that spoken to. So if you have a younger audience or an older audience, you need to make sure you tell her and you content to that.

That’s part of UX, it’s not just designed. The thing is, how do certain audiences want their content? because we always talk about written content or, you know, maybe images or whatever, but a lot of websites ignore video content, which is huge and obviously look at tick, tock and things like that. It’s only going to get bigger because it’s easier for them to sit down and watch a video than to scroll through you know, however many paragraphs, or scroll through a series of images or download PDF at some. So user experience isn’t just about layout and design. It’s about, it’s the whole thing. It’s it’s how do users want to access information from your website and how are they going? how? how is the best, what is the best format for them to digest that sort of information?

And it’s not always the thing you think it’s going to be without. You know, speaking to users, no new audience. Speaking to your clients, you know looking into the history of how things and you know keeping your finger on the pulse as well, because stuff shifts, you know, within a few years. You know, look at the amount of video content we’re now consuming. It’s everywhere and it’s nearly constant. So it’s more about seeing as a whole, looking at the user and trying to see it through their point of view. Not just design, not just a layout, not just what your website looks like, but what kind of content. What kind of content? I think that, yeah, and I think it does.

0:21:18 – Rob Twells
Yeah, and I think that’s why it’s so important to focus on not being all things to all people, because you’ve got a specific type of person you try to target from a sales point of view or a lead generation point of view. They are going to want their content in a certain way. They’re going to want something to work in a certain way. You know different nuances that they want, that a different set of people will want something different.

So I think, when it comes to user personas and research and all that kind of stuff, that’s where that really comes into its own, whereas you know, sometimes it’s considered a bit fluffy and maybe a little bit expensive, but what it is and rewards it, or you know that you’ll yield from that. But as you get more sophisticated, as marketing strategy has become more sophisticated, that’s when research like that understanding the customer it starts to really impact the wider strategy, not just that UX, not just SEO, not a PPC, but literally everything. So, yeah, i think it’s super important to really know who your customer is and that can then dictate the experience that you serve up from a website point of view and from a brand point of view. So have you got any examples? Sorry, have you got any examples of how optimized UX can positively impact SEO or vice versa, from your experience?

Yeah yeah, we have.

0:22:34 – Pete Bingham
I mean, we’ve been doing this for a long time now and we use quite a few tools. There’s hot jar, which we’ve been using for I don’t know how long, but quite I think, since it first came out actually, and recently we’ve been looking at Microsoft Clarity. So what these do is they sort of spy on your website, on your users. It’s quite nefarious in a way, but you know, they know about it by looking at the cookie notes, hopefully. What it is? it tracks real users and you can see videos of people using your website with anonymized data, i will add, so you can’t see them entering card details or anything like that. But also, at the end of, say, a few weeks or a certain amount of visitors, you’ll be given a heat map to sort of see what real users are doing.

So in the past, what we’ve done is we’ve sort of studied these heat maps and talked to users and talked to clients and the SEOs, and so tried to build a picture of what users are doing, where they’re frustrated, etc. Etc, etc. In doing so, we can sort of say, oh, maybe there’s not enough content on that page, or maybe they’re struggling to find the right CTA or they can’t download the right PDF or anything like that. So what we’ve done is we’ve looked at these sort of heat maps and videos and we’ve tweaked parts of sites and done ABE testing to see if it does have a positive impact, and almost every time we’ve tweaked something, we’ve seen incredible results And we’ve seen that on our own websites as well, very much.

Yeah, you see optics and traffic. So the content has improved to a point where now it’s ranking more and you see increased conversions. So if people are coming to the website, they’re seeing the information they need, it’s relevant to what they were looking for and they’re converting quicker. So from a copy point of view, you’ve got to make sure that it’s good enough for the search engines so that Google’s seeing this and then it is ranking more. But also when people are on your site and reading it, it’s easy and digestible for them and then they can go and convert as well. So we’ve sort of combined our resources looking at data, looking at heat maps, talking to the SEOs, talking to the copywriters, improving layout, making sure CTAs and almost every time we’ve seen massive improvements on websites increased conversions, increased traffic. So it’s definitely worth. If you can have a look at some of these heat maps, clarity, i think, is free. I think HotJar is a paid for one there.

But certainly if you install Clarity on your website Microsoft Clarity I start to look at the data and then talk to other people in your team. What do you think this means? What happens? What do you think they’re looking for here And in fact, i think in Clarity. Now there is an AI feature which will look at your data and say it looks like this user tried to do this, couldn’t find that. Blah, blah, blah, blah. There’s still the interpretation part of it, so you still have to go, okay.

So what should we change? And that still involves talking to people who actually know the website, you know the client, whatever. But also we’ve seen things like just improving site speed, optimizing images things that you think are common sense. We’ve seen so many client websites where we’ve got to the site and it’s so slow but the images aren’t optimized, and so you go on a website and your product image is taking 20 seconds to download or it’s all pixelated or whatever. So improving site speed, optimizing images and all these things if you can improve your user experience, just by speeding up a website, again you see dramatic impact on whether someone will stay around for long enough. So bounce rates and how long someone sticks around on a page will give you this information and you can sort of go back and track that. And all this information is available by things like a Microsoft Clarity.

Yeah and they’re starting to integrate AI as well?

0:27:00 – Rob Twells
I believe aren’t they where it’s gonna look at, or it’s gonna guess, what the typical user might think about.

0:27:08 – Pete Bingham
It will guess it, but you will need to.

There’s interpretation there that requires input from the team and also input from the site owner, because there are nuances about sites and about things that say, well, we don’t have that, we can’t do that or we’ve never thought about that before, but we have this information now that we can apply. So I think, as long as you’re using that responsibly and you’re sort of saying we are applying some sort of sense to it, some sort of logic, and you’re getting as many minds on that, i think it’s great. I think that’s one of the most useful pieces of AI I’ve seen. actually is that just, instead of having to look through a site, it just says here are the highlights bash, bash, bash, bash, and then you can use more of your time, more of your critical thinking to analyze it.

So I’m really behind that actually.

0:27:57 – Rob Twells
Yeah, no, 100%. I know we use that in some of our workflows as well. So, yeah, really quite useful stuff. If you could pick I’m not gonna put a number on it but if you could sort of say okay, what elements of a website would you improve to improve search and invisibility and the overall UX? What are some really practical things that people can do to their site that you believe would help from your experience? Maybe it’s navigational changes, maybe it’s a mobile site.

0:28:31 – Pete Bingham
Yeah, no, for me, a big one is definitely navigation. We’ve been to so many sort of been involved in so many websites that we’ve sort of inherited or whatever, and navigation is often the thing that’s overlooked. It’s like, yes, you’ve got a menu, okay, but you know, are all your, are all the important pages in that menu number one? Very often they’re not. You can talk to an SEO and look at analytics and look at what your most visited pages and you can sort of see, you know, is one of your biggest categories not being visited. Why, you know, is it just not accessible? There’s also on page navigation which, again, i think is pretty critically overlooked. I mean, if you can’t navigate to a relevant part of your site on page, you know, forget the nav menu. If you’re supposed to be going, if you want to lead users somewhere on a page, you’ve got to make sure that path’s there, because they won’t always go back to the nav menu and things like breadcrumbs as well. It’s useful for humans, but also useful for Google to know. And just something that again is overlooked is having a descriptive link on a page, so not just to find out more, if you’re, if you want to push people in a direction. You know you need to make it as easy for them to to find that route as possible. There’s that analogy about that park path, where they built a path through a park and you know they assumed users would follow that path, but after a few weeks they noticed that people had made their own path across the grass, because people were actually wanting to access a different part of the path and the path didn’t actually take things where they wanted to go to. So there’s always what you think users should be doing and what users actually end up doing. So you know, make sure that as best as possible, you have those navigable routes and you think about where people need to be, don’t have any dead ends. Always make sure that the CTA, these sort of things. So I think navigation is huge and it’s people just assume it’s a menu, whereas it’s not. I mean, they can be pretty bad as they are, but understanding that navigation is about walking around a park sort of thing, walking around a website and not meeting any dead ends There are. There are hundreds of things that you could focus on.

I think something that still we’re still seeing is that a lot of mobile websites have a dreadful experience, and I think this comes down to a lot of website themes and a lot of website designers still not really considering that mobile is almost its own entity. It’s, it’s. You know you can’t have the same sort of experience on mobile as you can on desktop. And trying to, i think a lot of designers still design desktop first and then try and cram it down into a mobile experience, and really you have to consider that it has to be the other way around. You have to consider the content first, and sometimes you even serve slightly different experiences content and whatever in a different format to how, not just basically shrinking the screen. So I think having a good mobile experience, thinking about the different kind of way we approach content and you know how we use mobiles for data to access information, is key as well, and I think that’s something that most sites should be able to do should be able to serve a very convincing, very usable mobile experience and not just neglect it. And obviously the big one is is is the type of content that you can provide. whether it’s mobile or desktop, it doesn’t matter.

You have to really think about writing the content. You can’t leave it to the last minute. You can’t just assume oh, here’s a paragraph we’ll leave. A designer says here’s a paragraph to put your stuff in, and then we’ve seen it hundreds of times. It’s come to you know. We’re a month away from launch and the client still hasn’t written any content.

Where we are involved, we, you know they’ve hired us as copywriters. That’s not a problem, because we thought about it, we considered it, we’ve talked to the designs, but often when it’s left to a client, they can go okay, i can write a paragraph done, and you know writing is a skill. I can’t do it. I can barely speak English. You know, having someone who knows how to write content for search engines, for users, you know Google is so much better at knowing the sort of written content that users want to read and answering the questions that people also ask. You know adding, adding those sorts things in knowing what your users want, the information they need, answering those questions, yeah, i don’t know, you’ve asked for one thing, haven’t?

you have given you about 50 it’s content. It’s always gonna be content. First, i think, make sure you can’t enter it and, to the best of your ability, hire someone to write it for you. Look at what Google’s asked, what users are asking yeah, get your digestible, easy to read the mobile side of things, all the stuff you’ve said yeah, top three. That my opinion and the mobile side of things still.

0:34:10 – Rob Twells
You know, you can still tell when you go to most websites that they’ve just got. The default is it Bootstrap, the CSS, that everyone yeah, just rang everything into one column.

Done column layout just you know, but such a small screen, the screen, real estate, is literally 20% of what you get in your desktop and you still trying to see what the same content. And you know, i can’t, can’t, really, i can’t count them out of times I’ve gone to a mobile website and I’ve just, with all intention, to purchase something or, you know, do something useful to that business, i’ve just not done it.

0:34:44 – Pete Bingham
I’m not going back either and I think, and you know, there’s other things on mobile as well, so there’s things like how you serve images. So you need to think about you know, optimizing images, because if you’re out and about on data, you know if you you can’t see everyone’s going to date you’ve got to. You’ve got to make sure you’re optimizing images. You’re thinking about site speed and things like that. So, yeah, the mobile thing is still what my pet peeve for mobile forms.

0:35:15 – Rob Twells
If I’m presented with a 25 field form at the best of times, let alone mobile, but on a mobile especially, it’s all fiddly. You’re trying to fat forms like me, honestly no yeah, yeah, the fact something is really cool so. We’ve probably touched on this a few times now and I know you’ve mentioned things like MS Clarity and I know we’ve got analytics and stuff like that, but what are the best ways to measure the impact of UX?

0:35:49 – Pete Bingham
in your opinion, or is it KPI?

0:35:51 – Rob Twells
specific per business.

0:35:53 – Pete Bingham
Yeah, well, i think that’s it, isn’t it? Yeah, there are tools that you can. You can sort of track what’s going on and they’ll give you things like you know bounce rates and how long people are staying on your site. So I think it is very unique to your business. If the KPI, if your end goal is to get more form submissions, that’s an easy one to track, isn’t it? If it’s more sales, you have to look at traffic and you have to look away at where that traffic came from. And then who won that one? was it UX or SEO? It’s a hard one to know who won that one, but ultimately, i think it comes down to you must have very defined goals. You must know what equals a win. What is it that you want? and I think if you can see, if you can look beforehand what’s happening on a website through things like hotjar and clarity, make some informed decisions by talking to the right people and test that. You can do it with an A B test if you want. So you know that means that you serve different users, different approaches. So the original maybe, and your tweaked one, and see if either of those are converting better whatever that conversion is and then go and check that data, see if it’s worked or not and if it hasn’t worked, you know, reiterate, have a bit of a think again, have another discussion. Maybe you’ve noticed that something else has happened as a result of those changes. So I think, in terms of how do we measure it? I think it’s like everything when it comes to UX. At the moment in SEO, it is looking at what the user is doing, trying to measure their intent, trying to the other thing you can do and we’ve been experimenting this a little bit this last week. I’ve noticed James has put up uh, james, who’s uh head of web design has put up a, a new UX tool which allows users to go onto a website and ask them a series of questions. So it’s more usability testing, if you like, so you can ask. You know a subset of people go and try and find this thing on a website, try and see if you can convert, if you can buy this thing. So there are. You know you can do usability testing as well. I mean, you need to get the right people. You might have to pay them, i don’t know, but there are definitely ways you can track how successful certain things are once you’ve made changes.

But I think the key thing is to test something out. Don’t be afraid to test something out and then check the data and then refine it and keep iterating until you are seeing the sort of results that you want. But you can only really do that if you talk to everybody involved. You know, is this the right sort of approach? would doing this harm the website in your opinion? and you know, if someone says I don’t think you’ve got the right content, talk to a copywriter. Obviously I don’t think he’s laid out correctly. You know you can’t see these sort of, you know the maybe the cta falls below the the screen or something on mobile. So talk to a designer and try and achieve your little, you know tiny little marginal gains until you’ve sort of refined it to the point you think I think this website now this page it is is optimal and it probably never will be. You’ll always tweak, um, but you know, test it, check the data, refine, iterate keep going, never ending, i imagine, isn’t it?

yeah, well, yeah, i don’t. I don’t think we’ve ever got to poke my way happy with the website.

0:39:27 – Rob Twells
You know there are you’ve never said it’s all right, completed it.

0:39:32 – Pete Bingham
Yeah, you can’t complete the web otherwise you know it’ll be millionaires up make it. Do not. Yeah, um, but I think yeah it. We know that it changes. The web changes so much, google changes so much, users change so much that to say a page is done is is it’s only ever going to be done for a a short amount of time before the market whatever moves on and I think business owners know that we’re being able to track the changes you’ve made and use logic and use, you know, expert advice along the way. You can only really go in one direction, hopefully well well, where has the time gone?

0:40:12 – Rob Twells
40 minutes in. Well, look, we’re going to wrap up with a couple more questions, but I think this has been super interesting. I’m really grateful for you coming on, i think um you enjoyed it guys.

So it was a little inexperience for me. I know you know SEO from what it was years back to what it is now and The sorts of skill search needed in the full SEO team nowadays is so wide, isn’t it Absolutely strategist In cataclysm UX and I think if we’re going Such a challenge now to bring that in in-house, i think it’s very expensive to do that successfully nowadays and then and lead a team that does it. So, yeah, feel very fortunate that we’ve got a team here that can cover all those skill sets and bring, you know, tie together a well-rounded strategy. So Where do you think it’s all going? future predictions from Pete Bingham.

0:41:04 – Pete Bingham
Yeah, well, blimey Future predictions and I think really we know that AI is gonna be The next big thing, don’t we? we know, we know this is where we’re all heading. We just don’t know where exactly. We’ve seen you know what Google announced And how it’s gonna be bringing in you know so content, a little bit of an evolution on featured snippets and stuff like that. So really it’s unfortunately like we mentioned earlier.

I think it we’re gonna see SEOs try and influence AI in picking their content, which is not a I’m not saying that’s a terrible thing, because I mean, that’s what we do now. Anyway, we try and influence search engines to our content, but again, we have to do this without gaming or spamming the system. So definitely, ai is gonna be a huge focus. I Can’t really see exactly where that’s going, but again, it’s gonna be about making it user-focused, helpful content. You have to make sure your content is spot-on. You have to know your audience so well.

But I think something that we are definitely gonna see, which is gonna It’s gonna have to involve AI in some way or some sort of Automation or machine learning, is that we’re gonna have to shift into personalization as well. So, like That’s about with Rebecca said earlier about the, about the shop floor, about going into a shop and, you know, talking to someone and saying a lot. I’m looking for this thing and I can’t find it. Now. Good navigation, good content and good information is gonna get you to the right place where I still can see a shift into more personalized experiences on websites, and I don’t know how that will look on some websites. I imagine it will work better for e-commerce sites and Then it will for, you know, service sites or you know big B2B sites where you already have that Personalization because you sort of say, yes, i’m interested, i want to talk to somebody, and then you sort of take it off Offline, almost what I can, you know bringing that maybe that’s how it’s brought into a B2B. There’s more of an online discussion with with maybe you know chat box, i don’t know and That sort of thing out. Ai is controlling the narrative and you’re talking somebody about the Knows the website as good as, or nearly as good as, someone who actually works there. You can train, there are, there are ways of training AI now To learning all aspects of your website and it being able to answer questions, you know, to a reasonable degree, and that’s only gonna get better.

So, definitely, personalization is going to be something that I think is going to impact UX and SEO, because I don’t know how we can personalize something and make it rank, because it would be very personal, you know you would, so you you would. It would depends how Google’s gonna go with its AI. Is it going to be more personal? Is it going to know more about your browsing History and about your you know what you bought in the past and sort of tailor an experience for you, i don’t know, very exciting, and they’re going to be challenges for UX to be able to Present that personalization, as well as for copywriters and content creators to make sure they have enough Content to that’s that’s popular for everybody, but also something that’s a little bit more personal. So, hmm, very, very exciting, very, on certain times, you know, we don’t really know what’s going on around the corner.

I think anybody who’s kept an eye on AI over the last Certainly two months has had to sort of relearn Everything almost on a weekly basis. I mean, i went on holiday for two weeks And I didn’t even look at my phone and I came back and there were, there were whole phrases that I’d never heard of before, i was like what has happened to AI in two weeks? It was insane, so Yeah.

Yeah no, I agree is.

0:45:16 – Rob Twells
He’s an exciting time. We’re a massive period of change. Yeah, it’s a little bit daunting to answer. You’re the bag holder, so to speak. If you’re managing a marketing budget, you’re leading the marketing strategy. At the minute, i imagine it’s very difficult not to be a little bit. You know, have a question mark over. okay, what’s next you’re gonna look like for me personally and for my team and for the brand that I’m managing and you know I find myself in that situation every now and then think, you know, running an agency thinking.

You know, how’s our service offering got to change, how we got to adapt to it and all things like that. So yeah, it’s exciting, probably a little bit daunting It’s. It’s only ever really gonna just emphasize more that we.

0:45:55 – Pete Bingham
It’s all about the user. So if you can keep that at the forefront of your mind, that everything has to be tailored to the end user, the audience, to the customer, if you can sort of everything you do sort of has that as its its focus.

0:46:09 – Rob Twells
Hopefully you’re staying on the right track and that’s probably the part of message, isn’t it all?

0:46:17 – Pete Bingham
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

0:46:25 – Rob Twells
Well, look, pete, i should let you get back to work, and I’m very busy here. But no, thank you for coming on. I’m really interested and I’m sure we’ll do a follow-up. And yeah, thank you all for listening and we’ll see you again soon.

0:46:39 – Pete Bingham
Thank you.

A Podcast for Marketing Directors & Marketing Leaders

Room 301 is a monthly marketing podcast ran by The Digital Maze, a specialist full service creative agency. We discuss ongoing themes, topics and news in the digital marketing industry to help marketing directors (and leaders) stay ahead of the curve. Show support by subscribing today.

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Rob Twells

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Rob is the Founder of an award winning digital agency (since forming a digital agency group The Digital Maze with Boom Online) specialising in SEO, PPC, CRO, digital strategy and web design. With over 10+ years in the marketing space, Rob has been involved with hundreds of marketing projects and campaigns with some of the best known brands.

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