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How Design and SEO Go Hand-in-Hand



Higher search engine rankings = more website traffic = more opportunities to sell.

Everyone knows that. 

But marketers can become so obsessed with rankings that they occasionally become too focused on clicks, which may harm your visitor’s user experience (UX). 

In this article, we explore how you can have the best of both and how you can use great UX to help improve your search engine rankings. 

Is UX Important in SEO?

Google keeps the algorithms they use for ranking search results a closely guarded secret. 

What we do know for sure is that their ultimate goal is to deliver the very best websites when a user searches a query on their platform. With this fact in mind, it is easy to see that better UX makes your website more attractive to search engines and will ultimately help you rank higher. 

Even if some UX best practices aren’t currently being measured by search platforms, the likelihood is that they will be in the future as search platforms seek to constantly deliver better results. Therefore, all improvements to UX are practically guaranteed to have a current or future impact on SEO


Initially, search engines primarily focused on keywords and how regularly they were used in a piece of content. This created several obvious issues – websites were stuffed with keywords, which was good for search engine rankings, but made for horrible user experiences.

Since then search platforms have become more switched on to UX and work hard to update their algorithms to promote websites that are easier to use and better answer queries. Take for example the fact that websites that perform better on mobile and have faster load times now do better in search engine results. 

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Better UX = Better SEO

We have established that better UX makes for better search engine performance. But what does this mean in practical terms? Below we explore some ways you can improve your UX whilst simultaneous improving your SEO

Format Your Content Clearly

A 2000 study by Microsoft found that the average attention span was just 8 seconds long.

Helping visitors find exactly what it is they are looking for on your website will help you grab their attention and hold it for long enough to convert them into customers. 

Making pages clear and easy to navigate makes for a much better user experience. Doing this is also a fantastic way to highlight to search engines what your page is all about and what topics it offers value on. 


Using clear headings (H1, H2, H3) will make it clear to search engines and visitors how your content is laid out and which aspects are most crucial. Spending time to ensure that you use the most suitable keywords and key terms in the most relevant places will also help. 

Also, try including images that further explain your content, as this will boost the user experience. Including clear, concise alt descriptions will ensure that search engines are also able to pick up on the value of these images. 

Speed Up Your Website 

Slow load speeds are both frustrating to visitors and used as an indicator of a bad website by search engines. 

Working to shorten the time it takes for your website to load is a great strategy to improve the user experience whilst making your website more attractive to search engines. 

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It is suggested that a massive 40% of website visitors would abandon a site that takes more than 3-seconds to load. This is likely the main reason why search engines use load speeds as an indicator of website quality. 

When it comes to reducing your website load time there are lots of technical things you can do. However, a few simple changes and updates include: 

  1. Compress file sizes such as images 
  2. Remove page elements that are not crucial
  3. Don’t host videos on your website, use an external platform like YouTube or Vimeo
  4. Find a better website host

Lower Your Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate indicates how useful the content of your website is. 


Google define it as “single-page sessions divided by all sessions”. Your bounce rate percentage is the percentage of people who visit your website and leave immediately without clicking through to any other pages. 

The ultimate goal of your website is to drive engagement and convert customers. If a visitor leaves without clicking through to anything else, it is unlikely that you will achieve this goal. It also indicates that your visitor hasn’t found what they are looking for on your site and have had to go elsewhere. 

Working on the areas we previously mentioned (site speed and correct formatting)  will help lower your bounce rate. Including clear calls to action will also help keep users engaged. 

Aim for Longer Session Durations

Assessing your average session duration can help you improve UX and search engine rankings. 

Session duration indicates to search engines that the page they suggested doesn’t contain the content the searcher was looking for. This will then lead to your page being pushed down the rankings as a result.

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Consider your average session duration and bounce rate as a vote of confidence in or against your website:

  • A high bounce rate or low session duration indicates the page doesn’t answer their query, this is a vote against your website.
  • A low bounce rate or high session duration indicates the content answers their query well, this is a vote for your website. 

Long-form content can be a good way to increase session times. However, unless your content is also relevant, it is unlikely to demand visitors attention regardless of how long and details it is. 



We have dived into how creating a better user experience is better for SEO. However, it is important to remember that the real purpose of your website is to convince visitors that they should buy from you.

Arguably, UX is more important that SEO as without a great user experience, it doesn’t matter how many visitors you drive to your site through search engines, they are unlikely to ever become paying customers. 

Using the tips in this article, you can get the best of both. 


7 Methods To Research & Analyze Your Audience For SEO



7 Methods To Research & Analyze Your Audience For SEO

When I describe SEO, I explain that it is a mix of marketing, technical know-how, and psychology.

From a marketing perspective, you must have an overall understanding of your product, the problems it solves, and how to best communicate to your audience.

From a technical perspective, you must be able to create a foundation for your website that improves search performance.

Now, from a psychological perspective… that is where an SEO can really make a difference.

If you can learn how to not only identify your ideal website visitor but also determine who they are and what motivates them, your SEO work will really pay off. You’ll have the traffic numbers and also the ROI to support your efforts.

SEO isn’t just about the numbers (i.e., keyword ranking positions, number of backlinks, traffic, etc.). It is also about understanding the audience and building an SEO campaign around that information.

When SEO is centered around the right audience, targeted traffic increases, which leads to more conversions.

There are several methods that will help you research and analyze your audience for SEO.


As you will see in the list below, there are tools weaved throughout each method to make things easier along the way.

1. Use Keywords To Gather Demographics Data

Keyword research is one of the core tasks of SEO. Keywords should be targeted and relevant to your products or services, which is something you likely already know.

Once you have a solid list of keywords, select the top five that represent your brand the best and find out the demographics associated with those words and phrases.

Google Trends will provide you with demographic information tied to the location and will show you how the keyword has trended over time.

Google Trends really came in handy during the pandemic when people’s online behaviors were quickly shifting.

One of my clients publishes recipes, and the question came up regarding the types of recipes people were searching for when they were stuck at home.

It was banana bread.

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Apparently, comfort food was the focus when we couldn’t leave our homes. You can see in the screenshot below how the trend for “banana bread” skyrocketed.


Screenshot from Google Trends, June 2022

But, what about the demographic data?

Google Trends provides great data on the location, but there is also another tool I like to use for further demographic information, This tool ties demographic data to keywords.

Using the same banana bread example, below is the data of people who were searching this keyword.

Demographics toolScreenshot from, June 2022

Tip: How To Apply This Information

Identifying demographic information, including age, gender, and location can help you in SEO in many ways.

You can look for local link opportunities in the geographic areas where queries occur.

In terms of age and gender, you can determine topics, interests, and other terminology that is relevant to those groups.

2. Identify Who Is Visiting Your Website

This method is kind of like painting the target around the arrow.

However, it is important to understand who is coming to your website and then you can determine if that is the correct audience.

One of the easiest ways to get this information is from Google Analytics.

Under the Audience section, you are able to view a range of audience information, including age, gender, location, and interests, as shown below:


Analytics DemographicsScreenshot from Google Analytics, June 2022

Tip: How To Apply This Information

This data can give insight into the audience and will help you as you recommend content topics and target geographic areas.

On the other hand, you might look at this information and realize that it does not align with your organization’s target markets.

In that case, you need to take a close look at your keywords and content to make sure there is no misalignment.

3. Analyze Other Brands

To gather information about your target audience, you can look beyond your own website and analyze other brands and competitors.

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You would be looking for demographics and psychographics – basically, you want to collect as many insights as possible. The following tools can help you with this type of analysis.


Quantcast pulls together insights on purchase behaviors, occupations, device usage, demographics, domain affinity, and more. The example below is an analysis of

Analysis of Goodreads.comScreenshot from Quantcast, June 2022


Analysis of Goodreads.comScreenshot from Quantcast, June 2022


Note: I love this tool and use it often.

According to, they build the audience using eight different criteria, “which can be combined together allowing the creation of highly targeted audiences: Demography, Relationships, Behavior (activity), Conversations, IBM Watson Personality Insights, Location, Interests, and Twitter profile.”

Audiense then creates audience segments by “clustering individuals based on ‘who knows who’ i.e., how these individuals are interconnected. We take into account who follows who and cluster them together – for instance, if person A follows person B then they’ll be clustered together.”

The first screen of the report provides a snapshot of the audience data, as shown below.


Audiense InsightsScreenshot from Audiense, June 2022

What is so great about this tool is that you can drill down even more. Just check out the breakdown of information available (see the red box on the screenshot).

Audiense Insights GoodreadsScreenshot from Audiense, June 2022

Tip: How To Apply This Information

Similar to the last method, this data can give insight into the audience and will help you as you recommend content topics and target geographic areas.

You might also find some great link building ideas based on your interests.

4. Use Social Insights

Social platforms are one of the quickest ways to get information about an audience.

You can view follower/fan information directly on your company’s Facebook page, as shown below:

Facebook InsightsScreenshot from Facebook, June 2022

You can also view competitors’ and other brands’ audience information on Followerwonk.

What’s great about this tool is it also provides you with a word cloud to show you what users are talking about:

Followerwonk word cloudScreenshot from Followerwonk, June 2022

Tip: How To Apply This Information

Specifically, the word cloud in Followerwonk can help you identify other keywords you might have missed and can also present content marketing ideas.

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5. Send Out Surveys

This method is the most straightforward out of all of them on this list. If you want to understand your audience better, send out a survey.

To get a decent number of surveys returned, keep it short and sweet. Ask questions about basic demographics, overall interests, pain points, and needs.

Here is a great resource on how to create your survey: How To Create & Use Surveys For Content Marketing.

Tip: How To Apply This Information

Use the information you gather in the survey to identify content opportunities, including images and videos, keyword targets, etc.


6. Identify Questions

With Google increasingly showing answers directly in SERPs, identifying common user questions has become that much more important.

Plus, we want to anticipate the long-tail queries of our potential audience, so we can get in front of them at the right time. There are many tools that provide common questions, including:

These tools pull from various data sources, so it is worthwhile to check out them all. Below is an example from AnswerThePublic.

Search listening tool AnswerThePublicScreenshot from AnswerThePublic, June 2022
Electric cars keyword from Answer The PublicScreenshot from AnswerThePublic, June 2022

Tip: How To Apply This Information

Create content around common questions to attract long-tail searches among your audience and to increase your odds of showing up as a direct answer in Google SERPs.

7. Research Secondary Data

Once you know age/interests/etc. of your audience, you can fill in the blanks through further research. Look for studies regarding one of the key aspects of your audience.

For example, if you determine that your audience is in the Baby Boomer generation, head to Google Scholar and look for published research on this group.

Tip: How To Apply This Information

Use this additional research to sketch your personas and get a better view of who it is you are trying to target via SEO.

Final Thoughts

It might seem like a lot of extra work to dive into your audience before getting into SEO tasks. However, it is well worth the time.

You will be able to drive better traffic to your website and improve your ROI on SEO.


More Resources:

Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

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