SEO and UX webinar on August 3rd at 5pm GMT with Ulrika Viberg, Charlie Williams, and Pedro Dias.

How can SEO and User Experience work together? Where do the SEO and UX worlds collide and how should SEO and UX be helping each other out?

Joining Dixon Jones for episode 31 of Old Guard vs New Blood is Ulrika Viberg from Unikorn AB, SEO Consultant Charlie Williams, and Pedro Dias from Autovia.

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Transcript

Dixon Jones

Hello to old guard, new blood. Welcome to another episode, episode 31. How UX and SEO can work together is our topic for today. And as normal, Majestic are sponsoring the event, so thanks very much to majestic.com for allowing us to continue these podcasts. And as usual, I’ve got a renowned group with me of UX and SEO blend of experts. And why don’t I start off with you, Charlie? Your microphone’s off, so let me go with you. Charlie, who are you and where do you come from?

Charlie Williams

Hi. So, yeah. Everyone, I’m Charlie. I’m based in Oxford in the UK and I’m an SEO and content design consultant. Independent. I don’t work for an agency or have any employees or things, it’s just me as it stands. I specialize in Onsite SEO, Technical SEO and content strategy. That side of things. I don’t really work with links. But as a result of that, with the change that’s been made by Google recently, a lot of that involves considering UX as you might expect. Hence, why we’re all talking today. Yeah.

Dixon Jones

Okay. And if people want to find Charlie Williams, where do they go?

Charlie Williams

Yeah. If you want to find me, I haven’t been smart like my colleagues here who have put their Twitter handle by their name. That’s a really good idea that I didn’t-

Dixon Jones

Don’t worry, mate. It’s going to be a podcast for most people, so they can’t see anything anyway.

Charlie Williams

Oh, yeah, that’s true. But I just like it. I just like stealing from other people. That’s my entire thing. I just steal from other people’s good ideas. But my Twitter handle is at @pagesauce, as in P-A-G-E S-A-U-C-E, because I’ve been doing SEO so long that when you wanted to look at the code, you looked at the page sauce rather than inspecting element. And you can also email me if you want to at charlie@chopped.io. That’s my work address. Anyone’s feel free to give me a shout anytime they want some help with anything.

Dixon Jones

That’s great. Ulrika, how are you? I hear you’re up in the Arctic Circle.

Ulrika Viberg

Yeah, I’m good. Thank you for having me.

Dixon Jones

You’re very welcome. So, tell everybody about you. Who are you and where do you come from?

Ulrika Viberg

So, I’m Ulrika. I run an agency, an SEO agency, Sweden based, called Unikorn. We are in Stockholm, Sweden. Yeah. So, but I am not in Stockholm at the moment, but mostly I am.

Dixon Jones

Sitting up in the Arctic Circle. That’s brilliant. And people can find you at @Ulrika. Ulrika, how do you spell Ulrika?

Ulrika Viberg

Oh, my God. I think it’s easier if you just go to unikorn.se and find my contact there.

Dixon Jones

Excellent. Okay. That’s brilliant. Fantastic. Okay. And Pedro, finally. Pedro Dias. Where are you, how are you, and where do you come from?

Pedro Dias

Hi, thanks for having me. So, I’m in London, more specifically, Greenwich. I’m currently the head of SEO for Autovia. They are one of the lead automotive publishers here in the UK. And before that, I worked in search for… It’s going on maybe about 16 years now that I’ve been in SEO in search. I’m mostly like a technical SEO meets business consultant meets UX enthusiast. So, that’s where it all crosses together.

Dixon Jones

Thank you very much. And if there’s anybody watching us live, Montse just said hi. Can we get Montse on the show next time round, because she’s here and I’d love to have her back in the show. So, David, that’s your task for the next month. So, let me bring in my producer, David Bain, who can tell me all the things I’ve missed before we get into the show.

David Bain

I’m not sure what I missed, but I love the comical start to the show, just going live and Dixon going, it was-

Dixon Jones

It was superbly professional, wasn’t it? I thought. I thought that was spot on. Best just to edit that one.

David Bain

As soon as I said that, I thought, actually maybe I should have said that because, for the podcast listeners who, if you’re listening to this on Apple podcasts, Google podcast, Spotify, then I will have edited that out already. So, what on earth am I talking about?

Dixon Jones

And now you’ve got to edit this bit as well. Nevermind.

David Bain

Indeed. Well, perhaps not. I just want to say that obviously we’re listening to episode 31 at the moment. At the end of this episode, I’m going to share the guests that we’ve already got booked for next month and the topic that we’re going to be having next month. And next month’s show is going to be on the 7th of September 2022. And stay tuned until the end of this episode and I’ll tell you more details about that.

Dixon Jones

Excellent, fantastic. And if you want to sign up for future episodes, then of course you can get to from the Majestic blog as well. Right. Okay. So, I want to start, I always start my shows by asking people if guests don’t have 45 minutes to hang around, given that we are talking about UX and SEO, what’s one UX tip that you might have that also hates… Helps. Hates? Helps SEO as a sort of top level takeaway. So, if people come away with one thought, what would you want to share with them? I’ll go and say more to there. Charlie, can you set us up for that one?

Charlie Williams

Yeah, absolutely. So, my tip, one thing I’d like people to take away from listening today is doing some UX testing basically. UX testing videos, user testing videos sort of thing. It’s a low cost. There is a cost, but it’s a low cost way to start testing an aspect of your website. But when it specifically comes to SEO, what I love doing is testing common user journeys that we’re planning for SEO. So, may surround a keyword, a keyword topic, perhaps more specifically someone’s looking to achieve something on your website that you are targeting for SEO. And the reason I do this is you get two wins. It’s a really eyeopening process for a lot of clients. Firstly, they’re going to get a video sort of someone using a key part of their website and seeing how they use it and giving feedback and probably being a little surprised about exactly what people like, don’t like, understand, don’t understand, et cetera.

But also, and this is something that Glenn Gabe wrote about a year, maybe year and a half ago. This idea of taking those questions that Google provided about what to do around core updates, things to run your content by, things you are lacking or doing. And it works just as well for e-commerce or informational content. Actually using those, some of the questions in there, and getting this real understanding of how good a job is our page actually doing compared to maybe a leading other page that’s ranking really well for one of our keywords? How are we doing, what are we lacking, where can we go? It’s using a UX technique, you get some UX benefits, but you also get a load of insight for SEO.

Dixon Jones

Look, I might come back to that. That’s really interesting idea. And we might dig into tools you might use to sort of do that I think. Ulrika, why don’t you go next? And what takeaway have you got for people?

Ulrika Viberg

So my top tip is also using the user journey. But in this instance, using the call to actions or how you are framing a page or how you are structuring a page from a UX point of view and seeing where can I, from an SEO point of view, where can I put my internal linking? And how does it fit together in that structure? And what should those call to actions say? Or what is it that we are telling the user to do next? And if they are… And depending on which step in the user journey the user is doing or taking. And we build clusters around that. So, I use UX for a lot of other things, but that is the one go-to key that I do, because it’s also very important for SEO.

Dixon Jones

Okay. So, I might come back to you on that one as well a little bit later on then, because I’m interested on user journey is a really interesting phrase, because I want to know what happens when people don’t follow the user journey that you’re thinking about. So, I’ll come back to that one, I think, a little bit later as well. Just line you up for the poison pill question. Pedro, what about yours? One tip for people to take away. Okay. Pedro, you’ve got on the wrong microphone now.

David Bain

If you unmute yourself, Pedro.

Dixon Jones

He’s unmuted. He’s on the wrong… He’s just not talking to the right microphone. Sorry about this, folks. Will we back in just a second. Yep. There we are.

Pedro Dias

Sorry. Can you repeat the question? Because I’m having some audio problems here and, yeah.

Dixon Jones

Not a problem. Okay. So, Pedro, what one tip would you give people for a UX tip that also helps SEO?

Pedro Dias

So, one UX tip that I would give people is usually make your-

David Bain

Sorry. Pedro, is it all right if we come back to you? There’s a little bit of a strange effect in your audio.

Pedro Dias

Okay.

David Bain

Could you perhaps even leave StreamYard for a second and try and rejoin and just see if you can resolve that? And perhaps we can just move on then come back to Pedro. Is that okay, Dixon?

Dixon Jones

Yeah. Yeah. And I’ll ask that question again, so that’s great. Okay. See you in a bit, Pedro. Okay. We’re getting back. Not a problem. Okay. I want to go on with my first thing question and just ask, is there a difference? This might sound to a lot of people like a really stupid question. To me, I don’t think it is a stupid question, but it could be. But there’s no such thing as a stupid question. So, is there a big difference between UX and accessibility? These words, I think some people and possibly even me, get mixed up between those two words at times. Is it a totally separate discipline or is there an overlap between the two ideas? Who wants to go with that one first? Ulrika, do you want to say-

Ulrika Viberg

I can start.

Dixon Jones

Yeah.

Ulrika Viberg

So, in my point of view, I think that accessibility is a part of UX. It’s not separate, it’s a part of it. And if you look at the UX honeycomb, I’m not a UX-er, I just work a lot with UX people or UX professionals. So, I learned a lot about the UX honeycomb and which you can actually translate a lot to SEO. But in there, you also have accessibility. It’s one of the… I think it’s seven or eight pieces that is holy for UX. So, in my point of view, it’s a part of it. It’s not everything. And if you work with SEO and UX, you can’t just go to accessibility. That is not everything, but it’s obviously important.

Dixon Jones

Okay. Charlie, would you agree with that? I think there’s other bits.

Charlie Williams

Yeah. So, in my experience with it, I agree very much with Ulrika, the idea that accessibility is a part of UX and an important consideration within UX, within that honeycomb. And I think it is one of the honeycomb things, it’s called accessible, if I remember correctly. Is for me, very much when talking to clients about this, accessibility is about the idea that the content is actually just accessible, which sounds really obvious. And I’ll explain what I mean. But there’s two kind of facets with that. Accessible in terms of, is it findable within a website structure? If your content isn’t readily accessible, then we know, for example, there’s going to be less visits because people aren’t going to navigate their way to it. We also know that from a search point of view, of course, a lack of accessibility might translate to lack of internal links and things like that, which that shows less interest in a page.

If you’re not bothered to link to a page, Google sort of thinks it can’t be that important, in theory, et cetera. But also accessibility, of course, as a term, at least in the UK, as course applies to this idea of a webpage being accessed by both people, maybe with different kinds of abilities or different kinds of sort of opportunities for accessing a webpage. So, it might be that pairing things down or making something… Not using colors or really hard to read backgrounds and all these kind of ideas here. That’s an important consideration of UX, but it’s also a separate kind of idea that is the page accessible to people with different ability levels?

Dixon Jones

Yeah. I’ve got terrible eyesight and I cannot read my iPhone when… And if they don’t let me expand the text, then I get really, really angry. So, yeah, that’s a big part of things, of course. This honeycomb UX. So, what’s it called? Honeycomb UX.

Charlie Williams

Yeah. It’s the UX honeycomb. I think it was by Peter Moreville. I have to double check this, if memory serves me correct. He’s somebody that wrote a lot about UX. He’s an expert in UX, essentially, and information architecture and all that kind of stuff. That’s where a lot of my knowledge of the field, apart from working with professionals, has come from.

Dixon Jones

Useful bit of background reading to take away. So, thanks. Okay, Pedro, how’s your microphone?

Pedro Dias

I think it’s working now.

Dixon Jones

Ah, that’s so much better. So, Pedro, if people can’t stay to the end, what one takeaway would you give to people about UX and SEO?

Pedro Dias

So, I think the other folks already spoke at it at length, and I think I agree most of what they said. UX is an area that encompasses many, it’s extrapolates the digital world. And it’s like, so we can fit into UX usability, web accessibility, information architecture, and so on. So, one of the things that, for example, benefits SEO within UX is all the usability aspects within, for example, consistent navigation, consistent breadcrumbs that locate users in a landing page where they come from search engines. Because when you think about search, when users do a search and they land on your website, they almost never enter through your homepage. They tend to enter through pages that are in the middle of your website, or down the final or whatever in the categories where they sit. And if you have consistent breadcrumb that is relevant and users can locate themselves, this helps both SEO and UX.

Dixon Jones

So, that’s an interesting tip and it brings me back to what Ulrika was saying then about user journeys and calls to actions. Because your tip of thinking hard about the user journey doesn’t work if somebody starts in the wrong place or does it? How do you handle that one, Ulrika? When somebody doesn’t… And they don’t always go in the order that you think as well. So, if a-

Ulrika Viberg

Yeah, they never do, do they?

Dixon Jones

Never do. It doesn’t seem to. If you ever try and track a channel, I’ve never seen actual data where somebody’s actually tracking user journeys in a way that I can meaningfully present to in the days when I had clients present to a clients. But so how do you deal with that dilemma?

Ulrika Viberg

So, how I do it, I prioritize the things that I would want or we would want, or that my client would want their client to do, the actions they should do, then prioritize them in an order. And then have the most prioritized one in top of the page, of course, with the call to action and then… Or some stuff to click on and some interactivity or something. But if that is not what the user is wanting to do on the page, then the second choice is the next one. And then with the prior two. And then so on and so on. So, you have multiple different call to actions or multiple different touch points, let’s say, on the page and you structure them from what you think the user is coming from, and what you kind of want them to do next in terms of going further in their decision.

Dixon Jones

So, that gives me another philosophical point about what Pedro’s just said with consistency on a page and what you’ve just said about trying to help people do things in the order they want. Because people are going to be in a different state of mind in different times of the user journey. Basically, if they know the product inside out, then you want to give them the buy button. If they don’t know the product inside out, then they want to have a look at the knowledge, the papers, download the papers or the case studies, or engage with you in a demo, or whatever it may be. So, if you think that they’re in a certain place in their user journey, does that mean the dropdown should have the calls to action, or the dropdown or the table or the list or whatever, should try and change the order of those things, depending on where you are in the user journey?

I mean, I admit that that’s a pain in the neck to program anyway, so it’s unlikely to happen in a real world. But if you’re saying that that’s the ideal thing, then does that contravene what Pedro was saying of being consistent? Because once you’ve seen something in a particular order, if user testing thinks… Oh, sorry, if you think that somebody’s in a different zone, should you bring something else out? I don’t know if I’d bring Pedro back in on that one, or whether I’m just being too obtuse, which is fine. I usually am. Pedro, any thoughts on that? Would you-

Pedro Dias

So, yeah. It’s tricky because, ideally, you would want the page kind of to accommodate the intent of the user. And sometimes is hard to accommodate all the intents in one place. So, and I think rendering dynamically content, or CTA that would accommodate what the user wants, that probably… I don’t know how would that work for search engines. Because search engines are kind of… When they visit your page, they would have to see the content that you have there. And if it changes dynamically, then the risk that there would be some content that would be invisible, it’s probably high. But what I would try to do is probably to create a hub where then you could segregate content according to search intent or to intent of search.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, I get it. So, if they’re in the… So, if they’re in the research phase of their cycle, then they’re in a place where research is a predominant kind of messaging. And if they’re approaching the buy stage, then hopefully they’re in a place where they can see the checkout and the cart and things like that. Okay. Okay. That correlates with everything. I’ll take that as a win and thinking about how people are in the user journey. But let me go back then to Charlie’s one liner at the start of using UX testing videos. So, what I guess you mean by that, Charlie, is going through with a customer and saying, could you go to this webpage and do something on that page? And then record them whilst they do it and whilst they get completely baffled and lost, and then record that and give that back to the client. Is that the idea or… And if so, what do you use to do the recording and what kind of questions do you ask the user?

Charlie Williams

Yeah, it’s very much that. It’s the idea of taking a common journey that you want to test on the website, or perhaps even launching a new version of a page or changing something that’s in that journey that’s important to you. So, it could be, if you’re an e-commerce site, it might be testing your category pages, how easy it’s for people to filter down to the product they want. Or it might be looking at product pages and saying is this a particularly good product page that gives you all the information you need to make a buying decision or not? To go back to what we were just touching upon there about buying journeys. So, you can do it for different situations, whatever’s relevant for you. And the point for about tying it into maybe something that you’re targeting the keywords for.

So, you can say, ah, we’re really targeting this. And we often hear that to rank in competitive terms, you have to have the best content experience possible. Well, how do we have the best content experience? Well, we’re biased, aren’t we? When it’s our website, it’s incredibly hard to get people not to see what they want to see. I think we’ve all had clients in that situation or been in those situations where people think what they’ve got is ideal. And the idea of this is that we get a series of videos. So, let’s say we’ve got a common user journey we want to test. We might use a service, a common one is usertesting.com. It’s called user testing, it does what it says on the tin. It provides user testing videos. And we might pay for that to do 10 videos.

So, we use 10 different members of the public to do this journey, and we’ll have a set number of questions, and we’ll have a set number of stages that will ask them to go through and they will vocalize their thoughts as they go through this journey on your website. They will say, “I’m looking here. Oh, I’m looking to find so and so. I will try up here. I’ll try up here.” And yes, sometimes they’ll be completely baffled. Sometimes they’ll be very much in tune of what you’re hoping. That sometimes happens. I think a good example of this is I was working… This is when I worked at Screaming Frog, and I worked with a team there. We were looking at a client’s website. The rankings were going down consistently, and it was very hard to push them up in a competitive niche. But one thing we noticed was their conversion rate was very low.

And so we actually worked with them to improve their checkout process because we thought it was bad. We thought it was putting people off, even though they put things into basket. We saw in analytics a low abandonment rate. And we worked with them to improve it. And it over doubled their conversion rate, which actually turned into a lot of cash and more than made up for the difficulties they were having with ranking. So, that’s not doing it for a purely SEO purpose, but it’s still getting them more conversions and money, which is the entire aim of the game. I think I’m right in remembering that one of the testers actually opened their checkouts and actually said ugh out loud. We were like, that’s all the evidence the client needed to then spend the money. Because of course it’s a monetary cost to actually put that cost, spend a few grand on improving their checkout because they saw that reaction. Not from us. They were listening to us going, oh, you’re just using excuses for not getting better rankings. You hear it from the public, suddenly people are likely to listen a lot more.

Dixon Jones

So, this is actually a good chance for me to get a plug in for Majestic in the middle of the session, because Majestic has, for years, been struggling with some UX issues and they’ve just launched a new look and feel of the website. And after a lot of pushing and pulling and discussion and things, they’ve really worked on there, basically, a left hand nav bar, but it’s makes it much, much easier to get all of the… Get to all of the tools within Majestic. And it was amazing even when I was working there full time, seeing how some of the really cool tools and features of Majestic were never used because no one ever found the things and they didn’t know they were there. And that’s all UX. And of course, if people are going to use more of the tools, then they’re going to stay longer, love the tool more, and talk about it, hopefully. So, which will be good.

Okay. So, let’s jump in then to another question and put people a little bit on the spot. Because Googlers, and I’m paraphrasing here, often say think about what the user wants not what the algorithm wants. And they’re pretty consistent on that. I don’t think I’m taking their words out of context too much there. I hope I’m not. John and Gary and Martin. But anyway, if I am, tell me off. So, but how do you see Google’s algorithm giving better search results, if that is the only thing, if the webmaster’s thought about. If webmasters were really genuinely starting to think, oh, I just care about the user and totally their journey, their UX, and not about the algorithm, then perhaps I wouldn’t be bothering about getting a title to the page that a computer can understand or a machine can understand. I’ll just sit there and have one that I know that my customer understands because they get the nuance of, I don’t know, choose a nuance here. And they get something nuanced that an algorithm, a natural language processing algorithm might not work.

A good example, being headlines that newspapers used to work. You think of the sun headlines when it’s a really hot day. And instead of saying, “It’s been the hottest day of all time,” as was just happened in the UK, it says, “Ooh, what a scorcher.” And as humans, we know what that means. We know exactly what the rest of the story is going to say. I put it to you that that is talking about their user and is terrible for SEO. So, my argument is, my question is, are Google really being honest, when they say, think about the user instead of the algorithms? Or do you have to take that with a little bit of a pinch of salt? We got Richard L coming in here, by the way, “Telling people to try all the search engines is the best remedy to worrying about Google’s foibles.” So, other search engines do exist. Bing, DuckDuckGo. I don’t think Yandex is around anymore, and if so, don’t use it anyway. So, anyway. So, right, anyway, back to the question. Who wants to take it? Is the mantra of do it for the user and not for the SEO a good mantra?

Charlie Williams

It is for Google. It’ll save them a lot of money.

Dixon Jones

Ah, yeah. Okay. So, yeah. So, is this a… Google overreaching in their advice to SEOs to the industry?

Charlie Williams

I’ll jump in, if that’s okay with you guys. I don’t think so. I think the premise behind it is true in terms of if you just stop trying to game our system and just concentrate on producing the best content, we will then try and sort that best content and show it to people and you’ll make more money because we’ll show your great content to people. The issue is is that for a lot of keyword queries, content isn’t alone enough to kind of cut it. If you were talking about very competitive e-commerce queries around clothing, or sort of phones and things like this, there’s only so much you can do with a product page, et cetera. So, it is tricky. But I do think what would happen, of course, is there’d be a certain percentage of less junk produced.

I don’t know what percentage you could quantify as, but there must be an awfully high percentage of content that’s produced basically even today for SEO. And you see people going, right, great. There’s AI tools now that can write content for me. I don’t even have to bother hiring people. I can just churn it out where I go. Here’s my affiliate site. Or not even just affiliate sites, sort of brands doing this as well, to be fair. Not meaning to slander anyone. So, the idea is, if we all concentrate on everyone’s gaming, the other things, quite so much would be bad. But then would it actually mean that Google would find organizing important content from important sites more difficult because they haven’t got people like us saying, “Organize it properly, get your context correct, have the semantics in there.” All this kind of thing. Like your title tag example you just gave. I think it would make certain things more tricky that way, but you would see less junk in theory. I don’t think it… It doesn’t matter what we say. If all webmasters concentrate on this, some of us are still going to try and do different things, aren’t we?

Dixon Jones

Pedro, Ulrika, any other thoughts about that?

Pedro Dias

No, I think that what Charlie mostly said, I-

Dixon Jones

Okay. Unfortunately, he’s cut himself off. So, Ulrika, any thoughts there?

Ulrika Viberg

Oh, yeah. He’s back.

Dixon Jones

We’ll come back to you, Pedro. Ulrika, yeah, would you agree with Charlie?

Ulrika Viberg

So, I agree to some point, but also I would like to just add in there that what would happen… Or we all have seen pages or websites who have only considered the algorithms, and they’re not fun at all to look at. Or the information is crap and spammy. So, also, that’s why I think that we should listen to Google when they say this. And I think that they do have something… They’re thinking about something here, and that is probably that they want to have a better product, because our organic searches, our organic results are the product that they give their users and then they can put ads on top of it and then they get paid as well. But our customers or our users will be happy if we help them make the decisions before they buy something.

And I think that it used to be like that, that we went to a physical store and we asked a lot of questions about the product that we were going to buy, or if they had something for a problem, that would solve our situation. And today the behavior is a bit different that we don’t go to the physical stores as much. So, we need that content online on our online stores, where we can find the solutions for our problems in a much higher degree. And that is not just a category page, but more like in-depth content about how to solve things. So, I do think that focusing on the user instead of the algorithm will actually, in the long run, make you more credible and trustworthy as a brand. So, I like it, but I also know that this is not enough.

Dixon Jones

Okay. Pedro, did you want to come in on there or you want to move on?

Pedro Dias

Can you guys hear me?

Dixon Jones

Yeah, we can on. Yeah, that’s fine. Yeah.

Pedro Dias

Sorry. It seems like audio mayhem today. So, I was saying, as what Charlie was saying, I mostly agree with. And it’s like, when Google says focus on the user and chase the user, that’s what they aim to do. But there’s a certain limitations to what they can bring as signals. So, we will have to look at other SEO know techniques to make sure that Google picks up on the relevant signals that we want them to rank and to pick on. But you can see the effort that Google is doing when they launch stuff like core web vitals, which is something that is mostly towards the UX than purely SEO, you would say. And this is an effort that Google tries to evaluate, okay, does this website give users a good experience or not? And for years, they can observe user behavior in search results, like how users query and re-query, and kind of how they click on results. So, based on that, yeah, I would say to some extent they can evaluate user experience. They try to always rework their algorithms to better reflect user experience. Yeah. But yes, of course they have some limitations. And when we work as SEOs, we need to have that in mind that we have to cater for a machine that has some limitations.

Dixon Jones

Well, since Richard mentioned it in the comments, I’m going to give one up for being here. Because when I click on the results in Bing, I see what I feel as cleaner content than a better UX friendly content than I do when I click on results in Google. And maybe that’s just me or maybe it’s just my luck, but in particular, news pages. So, news sites for me have, in my opinion, extremely bad UX because they’re trying to give you a bad UX, because they’re trying to get you to click on an ad mostly. So, you’re reading something and then you’re going down and there’s a picture and it’s not a picture that’s related to the story. It’s an advert for something else. And you’re off the site. You go down a bit further and something pops up on your screen. You’ve got to get rid of it to carry on reading down.

Go a bit further down, it says, no, you’ve got to log in to read the rest of this content. This is not a good UX journey. This is a terrible UX journey. And those pages are ranking really well in search engine results, in Google, particularly. Not so well maybe in Bing. So, I put it to you again. Is it rubbish that you have to work for the end user if you’re going to work for SEO? Why is it that these bad UX sites rank so well if the mantra exists and those kind of bad UX experiences can rank so well for really big things, really big particularly news-based terms and ideas? Who’s going to take that one?

Charlie Williams

I’ll jump it on that because this is something I look at a fair bit, to be honest with you. Well, it’s because there’s only one signal out of the mix. It is most important. Google recently updated the quality evaluated guidelines to say that, for your money, your life, pages, EAT is the highest signal. But a lot of EAT is tied into links, domain authority, style, metrics, trust. All these kind of sort of ways of measuring it via links. With this idea that basically you have big brands. Newspapers are enormous brands with enormous brand recognition, with enormous trust, both offline and online. And they are huge sites that produce lots of information on news topics. And so they’re seen as very authoritative within those niches. And it’s kind of hard to shift that, despite the fact that you visit some websites, Daily Mail, that basically assaults you with click here, do this, this is something completely irrelevant from what you’re looking at. And the content is this wide and the sidebar is somehow this buyer showing you other articles.

It doesn’t matter. But what I will say is a slight counter to that. Is that yes, they rank well for certain topics. And obviously I’ll defer to someone like Barry Adams on the topic of this as a whole. But what you are seeing is a gradual reduction in the visibility of newspaper websites. But if you look at… I mean, I work a lot with Sistrix, so get that out of the way. But if you see something like Sistrix Visibility Index or Ahref’s SME traffic and you look at major newspaper websites and you look at their SME traffic or Sistrix’s visibility index compared to 5 years ago and 10 years ago, they’ve taken an absolute hammering. And that was that time that the mail website had a massive downturn and came back up predominantly because of UX issues where Google basically sort of said to them that we’re fed up with your newspaper landing pages being so hard to use. So, for me, it’s a case of, yeah, they are a bad UX experience in many cases. Not all newspapers, some are much cleaner, but it’s because of the weight of the domain, if you will, and its authority within its niche counteracts that to a certain degree.

Dixon Jones

Pedro, you got some thoughts there?

Pedro Dias

Yeah. I worked as the head of SEO for one of these major newspaper publishers in the UK. So, yeah, there’s a lot of… I’d say that they are very relevant for some topics. For example, when you start to enter stuff like your money on your life topics, there is health advice or something that’s really sensitive, you will see that Google prefers other news publishers more like broadsheet than kind of the tabloids. But the thing with the tabloids is that they publish a lot of stuff that what people are curious about, that they want to read about that others don’t. And they do it in such a high volume that people get used to this and they are recurring and they get almost like it works like almost a gossip magazine that people get addicted to and they want to read it.

So, and then they are at odds between having a good experience and making money. They want to make money out of their content. So, they kind of will kind of sometimes lengthen the content for no reason whatsoever, just other than generating ad impressions. That’s not good. But they have people inside that do user studies and tell them this all the time. Just sometimes they choose not to listen or to listen carefully because they don’t want to change their business model drastically. So, yeah, I would say, most of the times, it’s because these are very popular vehicles and people want them. You will see there’s a huge brand demand for people querying news and mirror, news express, news Daily Mail. And yeah, they get off of that.

Dixon Jones

Okay. And Richard, definitely on his high horse about other search engines here, is saying it’s a bit awkward when Google provides 90 to 95 percent of traffic to destinations for search information discovery. So, fair point to add in there. Okay. Let’s get into, we are running out a time already, guys, and I’ve only got through half my questions. But let’s get into a specific… In fact, I think what I’m going to do is jump into a video in particular, which may or may not be the one that you wanted me to jump in, it’s our last one. But I think has anybody got any thoughts on UX and involving SEO and videos? So, I see specifically YouTube being used by almost every SEO. Not all of them, but clearly there’s lots of other platforms for hosting videos. Some of them are… And then you don’t necessarily have ads in the system, but people still seem to be using YouTube, maybe just because it’s free. Are other SEO… Are other video platforms more SEO friendly than YouTube? What is it that just keeps everyone going to YouTube and are there tips for making videos more UX friendly just in the way that you write the videos as well? Ulrika, is there any thoughts that you’ve got on that, or is videos not something you get involved in too much?

Ulrika Viberg

I do get involved in it, but this was the one question I was like, oh, God-

Dixon Jones

You’ll let somebody else answer that one. I’ve dived onto the last one because I thought it’s actually the most… One of the most interesting ones.

Ulrika Viberg

I think it’s super important or super interesting to listen to this, but I prefer to skip this one.

Dixon Jones

Okay. That’s fine. Pedro, Charlie, anything you want to… Any thoughts?

Pedro Dias

I think the most of the success of YouTube, people would argue that YouTube is like a Google property. So, Google tends to prefer YouTube. But come on. I mean, I’ve tried to consider that as well, but if you look at the experience of players among video providers, I don’t know. I might be biased, but I would say that I prefer YouTube most of the times. I don’t know about you. If you guys had better experiences with other players. But so far, when I see a player on any other website, I go, ugh, this is going to be very hard to deal with or not. And most of the video stuff tends to be how people prefer and how easy it is to use. Okay. That is how much you can kind of tweak the title and make it relevant and you can work on the thumbnails and make them kind of pop. So, kind of people go like… And click on your video because it attracts their curiosity. But most of the times, why I see people preferring YouTube is because of the player experience. And I think this has a lot of weight.

Dixon Jones

Okay.

Charlie Williams

Yeah. I think that’s a… Oh, sorry, Ulrika. Go ahead.

Ulrika Viberg

No, I just want to add that most of my clients, they do like YouTube because it’s easy to use. But then they tend to choose something else just because they don’t want the autoplay play after their video. And then that, it makes them scary. Or that makes them hesitant to use it. But I also think that YouTube is so much easier to use.

Charlie Williams

I think the thing is it’s ubiquitous. Everyone’s used to YouTube. So, kind of thinking on it from that UX point of view, I agree very much with Pedro and Ulrika that the idea is that the vast majority of people using a website will have used a YouTube video before, so they know how to use it. Also, when you are familiar with it, and you’re a marketing team within a business, use a service that kind of does things in the way that you recognize. It’s easy for you to get into. That familiarity, I think, is one of the reasons why people are using it so much. And of course the more people who use it, the more familiar it becomes, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It becomes that cycle. More and more people are using it so it becomes more familiar, so there’s more reason to use it. I have some clients that use… I’ve used bespoke once, I’ve had clients use Wistia with great success. Really love the editing and the functionality that that offered. I’ve had a couple of clients use Vimeo, which basically works very similarly to YouTube. It gives you a lot of the options. But it’s pay to play if you want any kind of functionality. Only a very small amount, talking like five pounds a month. But for some reason, that suddenly puts people off who are earning millions of pounds a month and things like that. But yeah.

Dixon Jones

Which is bizarre to me. It’s bizarre to me. Why don’t people pay a small amount and get an ad free service for their website?

Charlie Williams

Yeah. Absolutely. Yes. It’s one of those things where you kind of go, well, how much do you value this? And from the other point of view, I think video is very important. I remember it’s a stat from a while ago, but it was something said that video makes understanding a product or service 74% more understandable from a reader’s point of view, when using a web page. So, video as a tool for UX is incredibly powerful. And even if people are just using YouTube, I’d always encourage my clients to use that rather than not having videos at all, if those videos can be helpful in that shopping or user journey that we talked about before.

Dixon Jones

I wonder how people actually measured that it was 74% more understandable. That’s an interesting-

Charlie Williams

Yeah.

Dixon Jones

That’s a rhetorical question moment. So, that’s good. I suppose also, to be fair, one of the things that YouTube does is it drives traffic in its own right. Because if you’ve written a good video, then it’s searchable within Google and they don’t actually have to come to your website to see that video. And there’s a lot of people in SEO that get a huge amount of their traction through just doing videos on YouTube. So, I guess a Vimeo and Wistia doesn’t have that luxury of coming with an audience of its own. So, that’s a fair point. But I do think that there’s plenty of opportunities to make your video itself more UX friendly, if you use other tools, so that you can have clicks in video, much more clicks in video with using tools, allowing people to jump around within the system, making sure the call to actions are… You can link to out the website, you can’t really do much linking out of YouTube on YouTube videos. So, it seems to be-

Charlie Williams

No. But the embedding, I mean, there are some improvements, like in the last couple of years, being able to have chapter marks and time marks and things like that is now much easier than it used to be. There’s also more options within the page itself. But I think some of the options for when you’re embedding on your site are better than they were before. That does also help. It’s not perfect. I agree with your points very much, but I do think it’s perhaps better than it used to be for doing this kind of thing. Also, if you pay just a little bit, again, with the Google, you can broadcast on high K without too much money and things like that. So, you can take advantage of Google’s scale for producing these things on the back end in that kind of function. That’s just to try and play both sides of the fence.

Dixon Jones

And we’re going live on YouTube as we speak. So, there’s my hypocrisy of my argument coming out right there. So, but we’re also live on Facebook and Twitter as well, so. And of course, when it comes to video, of course, there are many other ways of doing things. So, people are using TikTok and Instagram, as Richard points out, and they’re taking huge amounts of video content away from things. But when it comes to the UX on your website, you need to embed a video into your content and people still seem to be using the YouTube system to do that. So, there we go. Guys, we are there already. And I really appreciate you coming in and giving us all your individual insights. There’s a lot of interesting information out there. Before I ask you to just remind people how they get hold of you, I’ll bring back David. David, what’s happening in the next show? What are we going to be doing next time round?

David Bain

Sure. You mentioned earlier on Montse, coming on the next show. I’ve asked Montse to be on the October the 5th episode. So, to your back, Montse, hopefully you can make that one there. Next month’s episode will be episode number 32. That will be on Wednesday the 7th of September at 500 PM, UK time, 1200 PM East Coast time. Three guests are booked on that one already. Ilaria Fabbri from Reprise Digital, Nitin Manchanda from botpresso, and Begum Kaya from BK solutions. And the topic for that episode, next month’s episode, will be how to start your own SEO agency. Sign up at majestic.com/webinars to attend live and join us in the discussion for that one.

Dixon Jones

Okay. And if you’re an in-house SEO, maybe you want to just nip away and just read that, do that from a library, because you don’t necessarily want to be listening to that from the office. Okay, guys. Thank very much for coming in. Ulrika, again, how do they get hold of you guys? Unikorn.se?

Ulrika Viberg

Unikorn.se. With a K. Unikorn with a K. Dot S-E.

Dixon Jones

Excellent. Thanks very much for coming along. And Charlie, where do they get a hold of you?

Charlie Williams

Yeah. My business address is chopped.io. Nothing as interesting as unikorn unfortunately. Or you can get a hold of me on Twitter @pagesauce.

Dixon Jones

Thank you. Spell S-A-U-C-E.

Charlie Williams

That’s right.

Dixon Jones

Pedro, how do they get a hold of you?

Pedro Dias

At Pedro Dias with an S at the end, instead of the Z version, Spanish version. So, Pedro Dias or pedrodias.net. It’s my website.

Dixon Jones

Okay. Guys, thanks so much for coming on. I really do appreciate your time. So do the people out there in inter world land. And we’ll see everybody next on the next episode. Thanks, guys. Bye-bye.

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