Why UX is SEO’s best friend -Michelle Wilding-Baker & Luke Hay

09 April 2019

Posted in: BSEO

UX is now a vital ranking factor, with search engines demanding that you give your users a great experience when they visit your site. Knowing how to enhance the experience you give your customers means understanding how to please search engines too.

In this talk, the dynamic duo of Michelle Wilding-Baker and Luke Hay explain the relationship between two of the most important parts of your digital strategy – UX and SEO. You’ll discover which UX areas you need to focus on to improve your ranking and boost your traffic.


Speaker’s name: Michelle Wilding-Baker & Luke Hay

Job role and company: Head of SEO & Content at The Telegraph (Michelle);  User Research Director at Fresh Egg Digital Marketing Agency (Luke)

Links to Twitter profile: @ohmishy & @hayluke

Link to LinkedIn profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/michellewilding/ (Michelle) 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/hayluke (Luke)

Link to the slides:

What was the talk about?

SEO’s change in direction has meant that the user is now first and foremost. It’s vital that UX is taken seriously, and this means a collaboration between SEO and UX/CRO.

In the first half of the talk, Michelle Wilding talked about meeting user needs, and what users want (speed, relevancy, and results that are optimised for all devices). She explained how we need to think about intention — such as purchase or comparison — to succeed with creating a quality user experience.

She also covered the changes in Google’s algorithms that meant many business lost traffic due to content not being valuable enough to users, emphasising that traffic requires context to show true value.

brightonseo april 2019 ux and seo talk

Instead, we should be focusing on softer engagement metrics and second-clicks. Michelle explained that what she really cares about are engagement and conversions — not just in terms of sales, but in everything a user cares about and looks for.

Michelle then handed the talk over to Luke Hay, who explained in-depth what UX entails, including the blockers and persuaders that are encountered along the way.

Luke spoke about the importance of using real users for research and testing, making the audience chuckle with a user-testing video that we could all empathise with. He also highlighted the importance of embedding a user-centred culture in your company, and including empathy-mapping and personas to maintain this attitude and approach.

Fave quote

“Traffic in isolation is just a vanity metric; traffic requires context for showing true value.”

Potential impact on the industry

SEO has now become more user-focused, which has a huge impact on the industry. Through UX-SEO collaboration, businesses can ensure that they are providing a high-quality experience for the user, as well as delivering what they want and need.

Both Michelle and Luke provided valuable insight and actionable takeaways on how to make UX count.

brightonseo april 2019 ux and seo talk

Key takeaways

  • We must maximise UX on our sites through speed, relevancy, and results that are optimised for all devices
  • Traffic in isolation is just a vanity metric, and companies should focus on engagement (including softer engagement metrics and second-clicks) and conversions
  • Keep the user at the centre of everything you do through user-testing and research
  • Take note of blockers and persuaders of your key landing pages
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