PerformanceIN Live: Joining up the dots between SEO and UX with Bea Patman

PerformanceIN Live - the annual event which celebrates measurable marketing across all channels, and focuses on how best to measure, learn and optimise digital performance - has just ended following two days of talks from industry-leading speakers. And mid-morning today, our Head of SEO, Bea Patman, delivered her talk on 'joining the dots between SEO and UX' to a full audience. Her talk focused on three core areas: UX as a ranking factor, how to align teams to work closer together, and the importance of considering conversion rate optimisation.

UX as a ranking factor

What constitutes as good SEO is increasingly overlapping with what makes good UX, so there's a clear case for these two areas to join forces, as they're working towards the same end goals.

Thanks to improved search results, today searchers expect the perfect content for their query, first time. With that in mind, we now need all content on a site to be designed to facilitate conversions in some way (rather than aiming to drive acquisition alone), which is effectively a shared KPI for SEO and UX teams. Furthermore, the two teams focus on similar optimisation metrics, aligning with search engines' ability to qualitatively assess web pages much more accurately, such as:

  • Page speed
  • Bounce rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Page load times
  • Time spent on site
  • On- and off-site reviews
  • Brand sentiment
  • Heuristic usability

As such, there are four optimisation techniques which satisfy both SEO and UX requirements:

Content: Traditional relevancy signals also help users to navigate a page

Navigation & information architecture: A hierarchical navigation that's intuitive for bots and customers

Internal linking: We're seeing PageRank surpassed by engagement signals

Speed: The single biggest driver of mobile-led organic ranking

How to align teams to work closer together

In order to get teams to better understand their end goals and encourage a shared vision and strategy, there are three core areas to focus on:

1)      Share data

SEO and UX/Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) teams focus on different points in a user journey and use tools and analytics specific to those points. Sharing this data can help knit together a holistic picture of customer behaviour, benefitting both channels.

Things to consider and discuss with one another:


  • What are the highest volume keywords in our topic area?
  • How do we knit these into a coherent content strategy and information architecture?


  • How are users engaging with these pages? Can they find what they need?
  • Where are we losing customers who don't complete their journey?

 2)      Educate

Effective communication between teams can unlock success; having mutually beneficial data and insights is meaningless if the teams responsible for UX and SEO don't know about one another's work. Educating each other is therefore crucial. 

3)      Share a focus

It's one journey

Remember that you're all working on the same customer journey. Your KPIs should reflect the desired end outcome for the full path towards conversion, not simply for your team's part in it.

Keep learning

Our SEO consultants are increasingly seeking out CRO and UX accreditations to help them develop. Don't be pigeon-holed by your traditional remit - the digital marketing world moves fast and you should be just as agile.

We're getting closer to a united front

SEO's increasing similarity to UX optimisation is being driven by the demands of search engines, and this closeness is only going to grow as the ability of search engines to evaluate usability grows more nuanced.

The importance of considering conversion rate optimisation

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is a data-driven and structured approach to improving website performance from the moment a user lands on your site right through to conversion, making it an end-to-end solution to make the most out of your traffic based on audience behaviour.

The most important thing to consider with CRO is that it is, effectively, a continuous journey. Once one area has been optimised, it's time to move on to the next to ensure you're constantly testing and optimising your site to better satisfy your users. As such, we recommend that a logical approach be taken and that each test have real purpose (don't just test for the sake of it, look at your data and insights to find areas that need to be tested and that could make an important impact to site conversions).

What to consider when planning:

  • Which area will you focus your test on, and why?
  • Put together your recommendations, based on your site goals
  • Make a hypothesis
  • Develop a test plan

Looking at your site with an analytical and questioning eye will not only help you maximise the potential of your traffic, but it'll also help you uncover valuable insights.

Looking ahead

We're certainly at a crossroads in digital, where teams need to operate in close proximity, and in the case of SEO, UX and CRO, together. Bea notes that in a few years, we should be in a place where there's no longer a Head of SEO or UX, rather the roles will converge to make an 'Engagement' team which focuses entirely on customer journey optimisation. How can we take a step closer to this? Use your site data and audience analysis to inform and uncover site sights, and provide a strong learning environment which encourages collaboration so your optimisation teams can all work together and towards similar end goals.

Filter posts

Powered by

Back to Top

© Copyright 2018 Greenlight. All Rights Reserved Terms & Conditions