Somewhere along the way, SEO has become more about users than technicalities. If you ask Google how to do SEO, it will tell you to pay attention to the user by creating relevant, engaging content. Understandably, marketers have been satisfied with this response. For once, it meant we could create quality content that would be effective at bringing in organic traffic and not have to worry about the technical side of things.
While the user experience is a large part of SEO, it’s not everything. In fact, by focusing only on users, you could end up in an SEO disaster. As you make changes to the user experience, either by updating your site or switching platforms, do not ignore the formalities of search engine optimization.
Here are a few examples of when to keep the technical side of SEO in check.
Combining or Reducing Pages
Some marketers are tempted to combine their existing pages into several longer pages. The thought is that fewer pages will be easier for users to browse through. However, each page may already have keywords that it ranks for. By consolidating the pages, you will lose rankings and organic traffic. If you are intent on combining your pages, you will need to use SEO redirects so that users searching for specific keywords will still be brought to your page.
Changing the URL Structure
Another thing that marketers are often tempted to do is change the URL structure of their site. The purpose of this is to make their website more simplified, organized and user-friendly. This in itself can encourage visitors to stay on your site longer and convert. However, when you change the URL of a page, Google views it as a brand new page rather than an updated version.
As a result, the page loses its rankings and search history. This does not mean that you can’t take advantage of a new URL structure, but it does mean that you must apply SEO redirects from the old URL to the new URL. This way, your new pages will keep the same SEO value. While this isn’t too difficult to do on smaller websites, large, complex sites will need to be well-thought-out.
Updating the Page Design
On-page SEO factors such as headings, internal links, rich snippets, keyword density, and more all make a difference in how your pages rank. When you update pages with a new layout or content, be sure to consider the on-page factors. For instance, title tags are second after content for most important ranking factor. When you launch the new pages, strong SEO practices will help you maintain your search rankings.
Focusing on the user experience can boost organic rankings. After all, you are writing to real people, not the search engines. But, it’s important not to ignore the technical details of SEO, otherwise, you could run into trouble. By keeping both UX and technicality in mind, you can update your pages with new content, layouts, and URL structures without suffering an SEO disaster.