Differences Between Website Optimization And SEO
Website optimization: deals more with the user experience and making the website easier to use. Examples include website layout, design, content formatting, buttons, interactive elements, colour, etc.
SEO: makes it easier for search engines to find and index website content. Examples include keyword usage, what content is in the headers, title, and page description, internal linking, schema tags etc.
SEO has an effect on the visitor before they get to your site whereas Website Optimization affects your visitor when they arrive on your website.
It doesn’t matter how much you optimize your site rankings in Google if your website isn’t fully optimized to meet your visitor’s needs and convert them when they engage with your site. These two types of optimization work together to create an effective user experience. Organizations get more conversions, meet business objectives and users get to find what they are looking for.
Website optimization is important because it has a lot of value for both the users and the organization:
- Increases user time on site: when a website is easy to navigate, users are much more likely to stay on the website because they are finding the information that they are looking for.
- Provides a better user experience: users are not only able to find what they are looking for, but they are also left with a better impression of a company because of their great website optimization.
- Leads to more return visits: when a website is pleasant to use, users are much more likely to return. A Shopify study (linked below) found that 25% of users abandon their online shopping cart if the website is hard to use, 21% if the checkout process takes too long, and 15% if the website times out (stops working).
- Increases e-commerce sales: if it saves them time or is easier than competitors, many customers are likely to use a better-optimized site, even if the cost is higher or the products and services aren’t quite the same. They just want the best experience possible. Time is money!
This section shows how website optimization will affect all the areas along the buyer’s journey:
1.Awareness: The buyer becomes aware of what they are actually looking for (e.g. a solution to their problem). For instance, if a small business owner wants more walk-in customers, one solution they might find is local SEO. Better website optimization helps ensure that solutions are more easily found.
2.Interest: The buyer finds your company and its products, which might include product pages, blog posts, or other content about the company/products. Displaying this information clearly and making sure it’s easily found on the website will convince users to move into the consideration step.
3.Consideration: The buyer starts considering buying something from the company. This could include calling the company, liking them on Facebook, reading blog posts from the company, etc. When these aspects are easily discoverable on the website, it makes a move to step #4 easier.
4.Conversion: A user will only convert to a sale or other type of conversion if the shopping experience or form is easy to use and the call-to-actions are clear. Websites should also be optimized to be consistently directing users toward conversion, so changes for conversion should be placed throughout the site.
5.Retention: Once a user has converted, the focus should be on keeping them as a recurring paying customer or regular user/recipient of the company’s products, content, and services. In terms of website optimization, this includes buttons, banners, related content suggestions, and more to ensure the user stays engaged with what the company has to offer.
Website Optimization makes it easier for a user to convert by removing any potential roadblocks that could cause a user not to complete a purchase or conversion, including barriers like:
1.Confusing navigation: if a user doesn’t know where to find the information or product that they are looking for, they are likely to get frustrated and leave the website entirely, possibly to never return.
2.Slow checkout process: if the conversion process isn’t quick, easy, and simple, then users are much more likely to exit before the conversion stage.
3.Unclear benefits to converting: users want to know what they get when they buy something or give a website their information. The layout of benefits should be clear and concise, and easy to read. For instance, too many animations or not enough contrast between the website background and the text can cause fatigue and frustration. Usually, black text on a white background is best.
4.Slow website: if website elements or content doesn’t load quickly on every device (tablet, smartphone, and computer), users are much more likely to leave a site.
Website optimization affects the following digital marketing areas:
- SEO: bad design and navigation can make it hard for search engines to crawl a site in order to index it (which then affects whether it is shown in search results).
- Graphic design: good design is a cornerstone of website optimization. How a site is laid out and what graphics it uses influences user engagement, interest, and brand reputation.
- A/B testing: testing different elements of the website plays into its optimization. For instance, factors like layout, CTA button text or colour, length, and placement on the site are all A/B tests that can be done to test user metrics, like conversions and engagement.
- Email marketing: the links used in email promotions play into what the user will see on a website when they click on a link (there also may be different links according to if there are A/B tests). Additionally, the design, colour, and layout of the emails should also be congruent with the design of the website to create trust and a more cohesive experience for the user.
- Social media: like email, design and colour should be similar to the website. Links and what parts of the website to promote on social media is dependent on how the website is optimized.
- Mobile optimization: if a website isn’t optimized for mobile (e.g. responsive), then users aren’t going to have the same experience that they would have on their desktop computer or tablet. Mobile optimization ensures a better user experience, no matter how a user accesses a website.