The role user experience will play in the future of your website and business
As with any year in the digital marketing world the industry goes through a period of great change. In 2016 and specifically, we had a number of different algorithms and the introduction of ‘machine learning’ or ‘artificial intelligence’ which we have mentioned before. As technology continues to improve year on year, this is fed into the search engines aswell and this means two things are likely happen:
1) The way the user interacts with search engines such as Google will change.
2) The types of result / output that is obtained, i.e. what does the user get from searches will change also.
Today and moving forward the focus is certainly likely to be on point number two. Search engines giving users accurate results is no longer enough – the usability and user experience of websites is now becoming very central to the output of many search engine results, including Google of course.
What does this all mean?
In simple terms, it’s quite easy to envisage. What the searcher regards as positive relevant or helpful will by virtue have a positive correlation to a healthy organic search rate and result. This is not a new concept as such. Google has always been fond of user experience, but evidence suggests that this is going to be pushed further and more prominently in the medium and longer term.
How can I ensure I am not left behind?
This too is a simple question to answer but the practice of making it become a reality may be more difficult! Marketers, webmasters and businesses alike all need to place greater emphasis on the user experience factor – that is not only knowing what this means but rolling it out to ensure it is in circulation too.
What needs to happen?
Changes certainly need to take place, and for the rest of the posting we will explore a couple of the main areas.
A) Within the marketing industry itself.
It sounds rather ironic that the actual industry this relates to is quite far down the ladder when it comes to recognising or implementing changes of behaviour or attitude, yet we can see that when it comes to user experience this is quite often the case. Many marketing companies (and people generally) still do not understand the importance of user experience and have little focus for it when delivering their campaigns to their customers. If machine learning intelligence for search engines is going to become even more dominant, then arguably this change has to be accepted as it will be beyond anyone’s control and the ‘machines’ will simply do it for us. That is really when those that haven’t got to grips with the principle will be left behind.
B) The dynamic of the approach.
There is evidence to suggest that even those who are fully familiar with user experience do have a limited, narrow minded or closed eye approach to it. For example, creating good user experience applies to more than just the homepage which is a common mistake that many people make. When a user conducts a search, it is likely that they will be routed to something other than the home page. This then means that if the remaining pages are not satisfactory for user experience purposes, then the risk is the searcher can’t (or won’t want to) find what they are looking for, and simply just bounce off the page. The result is an obvious reduction in conversions which can hamper a website or business. Taking a website as a package and viewing the whole dynamic is key to succeeding on this point.
What is the conclusion?
As indicated above it seems like there is little choice or alternative route with this, but one thing is clear. Placing a greater emphasis on user experience not only helps the searcher, it will now also help your website or business (and increasingly more so) in the future.
Anyone would be foolish to ignore this – wouldn’t they?
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