Gone are the days of cramming the pages of a website with keywords. The archaic SEO-type strategy was useful when search engines weren’t nearly as efficient in finding and ranking useful information. But Google and the others have come a long way, and now a balance between User Experience (UX) and SEO must be struck.
Many UX based designs are complementary to SEO, and can even improve it. But ultimately, it is best that web designers take both into account during the design phase, but ultimately focus on the user.
When going mobile, there are three Google-acknowledged ways to design for mobile devices- responsive design, dynamic serving, and separate URLs. Responsive design is the best of the three, being able to benefit both UX and SEO. These two positively influence each other on mobile sites. Users remain on the site, and the mobile-friendly version is SEO friendly as well.
Infinite scroll is a design element that has become popular because of its ability to continuously load content while being a sleek UX feature. A drawback of this feature, however, is that web crawlers do not mimic user behavior in this way, which means that the content may be invisible to Google. If you are set on using the infinite scroll feature, be sure to create a pages of content alongside the infinite scroll. This will keep your load times fast, and let users find content they really want to get to more quickly.
Keep it all together. Click-to-expand is a feature that, when clicked, literally “opens” more content. There is no proof whether or not Google is ignoring this content, but it has been thoroughly discussed that Google is likely not indexing it. To be safe, use this feature minimally.
Use images wisely. Images are great for sharing information in a way that is appealing to users. But to be successful in using images, they must be well done. Generic stock photos or poorly captured ones are never preferred over text-only pages. Google reads images, they can appear on Google image searches and can provide SEO value. However, following these key things improve these chances: descriptive names for your image files, addition of appropriate alt text, and couch the image among relevant text. Use good judgement when looking for the proper balance between images and text.
While there is no perfect equation for finding answer to the SEO v. UX match, experts agree that as Google and other search engines become more sophisticated, the best approach to satisfy them is to focus on the user, and that SEO should naturally follow.