Many of those who’ve been trying to make a living online (or at the very least, boost their businesses through the web) are curious about one particular bout: UX vs. SEO. That’s right: lots of people want to find out which of the two is superior. In other words, they wish to know which one could guarantee success. Is there really a better pick, though? Discover the answer to that (and other important questions) by reading on.
Fundamental Focus of UX and SEO
When trying to determine the better choice in the UX vs. SEO fight, it’s always a must to know the basics about each option. So it’s best to begin by defining both UX and SEO. UX is short for user experience. Those who rely on it focus on three things: aesthetics, convenience, and function. To explain a bit further, user-experience aficionados try to put themselves in the shoes of netizens when designing a website.
What do they gain by doing that? That’s the question in most people’s minds right now. If someone arrives on a website that’s easy to use and eye-catching, wouldn’t it be likely that a sale would be made? The ones who want to know the winner in the UX vs. SEO match are probably thinking about this question after reading that: Does SEO also have crowd-convincing powers? Truth be told, it does – albeit to a lesser extent.
SEO or search engine optimization is all about taming the web. In other words, its main goal is to drive people toward a certain website. How exactly do SEO specialists do that? To “tame” the online world, they often rely on keywords – terms used by people to look for things online. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing process those words, using them as guides in determining link suggestions.
So far, in this UX vs. SEO battle, one thing should already be clear – user experience and search engine optimization are quite different, despite being both used to enhance entrepreneurial endeavours. One pleases consumers while the other plays with algorithms. It’s safe to say though, that some info-seekers might still be confused about the distinction between the two.
Worry not, as these (situational) examples should be more than sufficient to help those perplexed about this part of the UX vs. SEO bout:
- When a user-experience expert finds out that a website is failing (in convincing netizens to become paying customers, that is), the question, “What should be done to make the website much more appealing and functional?” would immediately be asked.
- When an SEO specialist notices the same thing, a different question would guide the entire solution-planning process. The optimization professional would ask, “What’s the problem with the site’s search-engine visibility?”
Do UX and SEO masters see eye to eye? Obviously, they don’t always do, which in turn reveals one crucial fact – the two business-boosting approaches aren’t completely compatible with one another. That’s why some continuously claim that focusing on user experience leads to much better (or rather, longer lasting) outcomes than exerting effort in search engine optimization.
Those who consider themselves part of the SEO crowd wouldn’t be able to fully refute that claim, but they sometimes argue that UX could have detrimental effects on a site’s rank and visibility. Well, people who’d like to get to the bottom of the UX vs. SEO fight (and afterwards, discover the real winner) shouldn’t be too hasty in supporting either one of those camps. They should continue their quest for knowledge.
Math and Evidence in the UX Versus SEO Battle
To find out which among the two is worth supporting, it’s necessary to learn about the numbers and evidences. The next part of this article tries to answer one important question: In the UX vs. SEO match, which side has the most impressive statistics? Search engine optimization is associated with many fascinating numerical facts. To make things as simple as possible, though, only the most remarkable ones are listed here.
- As the years pass, more and more netizens engage in searches. Back in 2002, 85 percent of the online populace habitually looked for info online. Nine years later, 92 percent of those connected to the web routinely to search for something.
- This is often brought up in UX vs. SEO discussions – even though new ways to drive people toward sites have emerged, searches are still the main driving force behind traffic generation. At present, more than 40 percent of online traffic comes from search activities.
- As revealed from Nuanced Media’s study, more than 131 billion searches are carried out online every month. Obviously, that figure highlights just how important SEO is, as 131 billion also (ideally) represents the sheer number of potential customers on the web.
- The television alone is no longer enough to capture people’s attention. Almost 60 percent of those watching TV right now are also exploring the online world (either to do something interesting during commercials or to augment their television-viewing experience).
- Entrepreneurs who’ve merely set up online hubs for their businesses but don’t necessarily sell anything on the web would surely be intrigued by this piece of info – 57 percent of netizens who look for products online still choose to make the purchase offline .
- Company decisions are often driven by searches (or particularly, the insights gathered from search queries). Actually, 71 percent of business owners rely on search engines while starting their info-gathering pursuits about certain choices.
- Here’s a vital fact to consider in this UX vs. SEO battle – when it comes to close rates, search engine optimization has significantly surpassed direct-mail advertising. The former enjoys a close rate of almost 15 percent, while the latter barely reaches two percent.
After learning about those things, some would hastily assume that user experience would lose against SEO. Well, no matter how impressive search engine optimization is and regardless of how popular it has become throughout the years, it wouldn’t be wise to simply dismiss UX’s own set of statistics. Without further ado, here are some numerical facts that should keep this UX vs. SEO fight a lot more balanced:
- Lots of people (roughly 40 percent of the entire online populace) are innately impatient. In other words, if the site that they’re browsing doesn’t load in a few seconds, they immediately look for a much faster alternative.
- The biggest corporations in the world have websites that shine in providing a superb user experience. Interestingly, more than half of those sites rely on the attention-grabbing power of high-quality images and centred navigation systems.
- Here’s something that’s often pointed out in UX vs. SEO bouts – around 60 percent of the firms that came up with different site designs for different devices enjoyed better revenues, which in turn shows just how crucial it is to allocate enough time for UX-improvement pursuits.
- Most small business owners (almost 90 percent) believe that their websites are essentially part of their marketing strategies. While it could be argued that belief isn’t synonymous with accuracy and reliability, the promotional value of websites is hard to overlook.
- E-Consultancy, a research firm that focuses on online entrepreneurship, conducted a study on the perspectives of netizens regarding user experience. The results were virtually unanimous – 90 percent considered good user experience as a true “must-have.”
- Cost and complexity are two very important things to think about in determining the winner in this UX vs. SEO match. So, does user experience beat SEO in those two aspects? The answer is yes. Small-scale (and thus, low-cost) UX assessments are usually enough.
Breaking the UX-SEO Fight
Right now, most people are probably thinking that putting an end to the UX vs. SEO bout should no longer be difficult. After all, it does seem that SEO comes with more concrete perks. Those who’ve been considering every piece of info that they’ve come across so far, though, are most likely having doubts. To be a bit more specific, they’re beginning to ask themselves whether there’s really a need to pick a winner.
There’s a growing belief among top marketing experts that the UX vs. SEO fight doesn’t even have to exist. They say that entrepreneurs would benefit the most by merging both user experience and search engine optimization. According to Bhava Communication’s Ashley Schofield, the unification of the two camps is slowly becoming inevitable (especially since search algorithms are becoming more user-oriented as of late).
Paul Hickey of Cabedge Design, also emphasizes the sheer significance of working toward two goals at the same time, making searches easier for the online populace and making websites a lot more likeable. One of SEO.com’s specialists, Preston Van Dyke, acknowledges that the UX vs. SEO battle is often discussed and he believes that marketers and business owners alike could learn a lot from both camps.
However, he warns against making one dangerous assumption – believing that user experience and search engine optimization are substitutes for one another. He says ,
“It still makes sense to understand the separation of the two and build a process wherein both can be integrated in your website.”
In other words, he believes that complementation is possible despite the many differences between UX and SEO.
Moz’s Rand Fishkin has this to say about the entire UX vs. SEO bout:
“If you’re not trying these two together, or if you’re like this guy and you think this is a fight or a competition, you are almost certainly doing one of these two wrong.”
At this point, it should already be obvious that business owners should rely on both user interface and search engine optimization. However, it’s safe to say that some are still sceptical.
The best way to change the minds of those naysayers is by giving a few examples of websites that excel in both UX and SEO. Here’s a list of sites that prove why UX vs. SEO fights don’t matter anymore and are actually counterproductive:
- Pandora is a website that functions as a cutting-edge online radio. Even though it’s not accessible worldwide due to licensing issues, it continues to move up in the global ranks. What’s the reason behind that seemingly limitless momentum? Aside from taking advantage of proper SEO (27 percent of its visitors come from Google, while roughly 8 percent arrive from Facebook), Pandora’s design is both functional and eye-catching.
- Here’s another site that should silence those who continue to focus on the UX vs. SEO battle – CNET. Currently in the global top-100 list of websites (based on traffic), CNET attracts visitors from the United States, India, Japan, and the United Kingdom. SEO-wise, the site is really superb – it generates traffic using both general and highly specific keywords. As for the matter of design, one look at its scrolling list of featured articles should be enough to hook most readers.
The Real Bottom Line When It Comes to SEO and UX
All in all, people who’ve been trying to determine the winner in the UX vs. SEO bout should stop, as only by learning how to fuse the two business-boosting approaches would they be able to finally achieve triumph