Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

SEO and content design: Integrating user-centered search strategy into your workflow

Chris Corak
April 26, 2019

SEO and content design: Integrating user-centered search strategy into your workflow

User-centered SEO isn’t just some magic you sprinkle on finished web copy right before hitting publish. SEO components—like user intent, internal-linking structures, content hierarchy, structured data, and meta descriptions—are built into content design decisions.

After clashing on projects and stepping on each others’ toes, Chris (an SEO) and Rebekah (a content and UX strategist) found smarter ways to integrate their work and create helpful, relevant web experiences that are search-engine friendly, too. In this session, they’ll share what they’ve learned and help you understand when, where, and how to integrate SEO into your content design process.

In this presentation, you’ll learn:

- A better understanding of how, when, and where SEO essentials play into your web content workflow
- Practical approaches and tools you can use to add a search-strategy lens to the content research and design work you already do, without compromising user experience
- Ideas on how to collaborate more effectively with SEO stakeholders

This presentation is a good fit for people who want to expand on their knowledge of modern search strategy and understand how to account for SEO without compromising user experience. It's also relevant for SEOs looking for how they can integrate their work into the content + UX design process.

Chris Corak

April 26, 2019
Tweet

More Decks by Chris Corak

Other Decks in Design

Transcript

  1. SEO and Content Design
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9
    INTEGRATING USER-CENTERED SEARCH
    STRATEGY INTO YOUR WORKFLOW

    View full-size slide

  2. @BEKAHBAGGS @CHRIS_CORAK

    View full-size slide

  3. I M A G E C R E D I T | A W W W A R D S . C O M

    View full-size slide

  4. SEO
    SEO and Content Design
    I N T E G R A T I N G U S E R - C E N T E R E D
    S E A R C H S T R A T E G Y I N T O Y O U R
    W O R K F L O W
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9

    View full-size slide

  5. Crawling + indexing
    Technology rendering content + nav
    Page speed
    URL handling
    Schema.org JSON-LD
    XML Sitemaps + robots.txt files
    Internal linking structure
    Canonical links
    Duplicate content
    PageRank + links
    But wait!
    There’s still a lot of
    technical SEO that
    goes on behind the
    scenes, outside of
    content design.

    View full-size slide

  6. TECHNICAL
    SEO
    CONTENT
    DESIGN
    our focus today
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9

    View full-size slide

  7. Work with
    what you’ve got

    View full-size slide

  8. Modern SEO
    A BRIEF UPDATE

    View full-size slide

  9. RankBrain
    An advancement in
    artificial intelligence

    View full-size slide

  10. Photo by George Baier
    Sites that have better UX
    and engagement are doing
    better in search results.
    - Rand Fishkin

    View full-size slide

  11. then why would we cater to
    algorithms instead of working
    harder to make users happy?
    If Google’s #1 goal is to give
    people what they want,

    View full-size slide

  12. ✓ Website designed before real content is understood
    ✓ Writer writes web content to fit template
    ✓ Page template doesn’t quite work like how people intended
    ✓ Key features or functionality are missing
    ✓ Content modules explode, etc.

    View full-size slide

  13. ✓ SEO is an afterthought
    ✓ We lose search visibility in the migration process
    ✓ Rewrite, or re-design or re-develop, or all three
    ... nobody’s happy

    View full-size slide

  14. There’s got to be
    A BETTER WAY

    View full-size slide

  15. In every practical sense
    SEO is part of content design,
    and content design is part
    of SEO.

    View full-size slide

  16. You can no longer “do” SEO
    without having an SEO lens
    throughout the entire web
    design process.

    View full-size slide

  17. L E V E L O F E F F O R T
    Research Planning Design Development Iteration
    4
    5
    3
    2
    1
    Research Design Planning and production Development Iteration
    T Y P I C A L
    O N W A R D

    View full-size slide

  18. Create a shared
    project roadmap
    Add a search lens
    to research
    Don’t let it get lost
    in development
    Add a search lens
    to content design
    –1–
    –3–
    –2–
    –4–

    View full-size slide

  19. 1. Create a shared
    ROADMAP
    Photo by Jo Szczepanska

    View full-size slide

  20. Project steps (the work)

    View full-size slide

  21. Related tasks (and needs)

    View full-size slide

  22. Teams and people involved

    View full-size slide

  23. Project steps
    Tasks, teams
    + people
    CONTENT AUDIT
    Crawl the site to
    capture all pages
    Determine content
    grading criteria
    (include SEO factors)
    USER RESEARCH
    User interviews
    User intent analysis
    IA/SITEMAP
    Determine
    categories and
    nomenclature
    Slickplan diagram
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9

    View full-size slide

  24. Project steps
    Tasks, teams
    + people
    CONTENT AUDIT
    Crawl the site to
    capture all pages
    Determine content
    grading criteria
    (include SEO factors)
    USER RESEARCH
    User interviews
    User intent analysis
    IA/SITEMAP
    Determine
    categories and
    nomenclature
    Slickplan diagram
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9

    View full-size slide

  25. Draw a line to
    connect cards.
    You can connect
    your cards.
    Add new connections
    as you go.
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9

    View full-size slide

  26. Typically each team has their
    own project plan.
    But how can you reach the
    same destination if you don’t
    have a shared roadmap?

    View full-size slide

  27. C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9
    ✓ Bring UX, SEO, content, design and dev people together
    Create a shared project roadmap
    ✓ Understand shared areas of responsibility, timing and
    dependencies
    ✓ Map everyone’s steps in the whole project
    ✓ Create a culture of inclusion and collaboration

    View full-size slide

  28. Create a shared
    project roadmap
    Add a search lens
    to research
    Create development
    guidelines
    Add a search lens
    to content design
    –1–
    –3–
    –2–
    –4–

    View full-size slide

  29. 2. Add a search lens
    TO RESEARCH
    Photo by Jo Szczepanska

    View full-size slide

  30. RESEARCH Stakeholder Interviews
    User Intent Analysis
    User Interviews
    Content Audit

    View full-size slide

  31. Stakeholder
    Interviews
    Add a search lens to reveal:
    § Priorities
    § Processes
    § Team structures
    § Opportunities
    Include questions
    that reveal search
    considerations,
    opportunities and
    challenges

    View full-size slide

  32. Landing pages,
    microsites and subdomains

    View full-size slide

  33. We needed to know
    Are there broken processes
    that lead to organic search
    problems or constraints?
    So we asked
    How do you use
    subdomains and microsites?

    View full-size slide

  34. We needed to know
    Does the executive team have
    realistic expectations?
    So we asked
    How do you envision
    organic search playing into
    the marketing strategy?

    View full-size slide

  35. Interview the SEO

    View full-size slide

  36. politics,
    people and team structures
    that impact SEO.
    Add a search lens to
    stakeholder interview
    questions to reveal
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9

    View full-size slide

  37. User Intent
    Analysis
    Analyze long-tail search data to
    understand:
    § How people search
    § What information matters
    most to them
    § What language they use to
    describe things
    Capture user
    intent, questions,
    tasks and priorities

    View full-size slide

  38. It’s all in the longtail

    View full-size slide

  39. Photo by Thos Ballantyne
    Active intent is the intent
    that is explicitly described
    by the query syntax…you
    must satisfy active intent
    immediately.
    @ajkohn

    View full-size slide

  40. Photo by Thos Ballantyne
    Passive intent is the intent
    that is implicitly described.
    @ajkohn

    View full-size slide

  41. Google Search Console

    View full-size slide

  42. On-Site Search History

    View full-size slide

  43. http://answertheclient.com/assets/atp-dark-inline-9dc08e1790f7273b9aee6bcfa16580e9dda179dbea01081599f7d9a04f9ab112.png
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9

    View full-size slide

  44. search term here

    View full-size slide

  45. read
    for themes

    View full-size slide

  46. Cost + Quotes

    View full-size slide

  47. Intent themes identified
    • Cost + Quotes
    • Validation
    • Taxes
    • Meaning
    • Local Agents
    • Value

    View full-size slide

  48. Out of 1.8 million monthly searches…

    View full-size slide

  49. can help you prove
    value and prioritize content.
    Summing up the search
    volume for each theme of
    intent

    View full-size slide

  50. It’s the most powerful tool we
    have to align SEO to real user
    needs and expectations.
    User intent analysis is more
    than just keyword research.

    View full-size slide

  51. bit.ly/understandingintent
    Start analyzing user intent
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9

    View full-size slide

  52. User
    Interviews
    Add a search lens to user
    interviews to reveal:
    § How they search and the
    terminology/phrases used
    § What results they follow and
    why
    § Where search fits into their
    journey
    Include questions
    that reveal search
    habits

    View full-size slide

  53. We needed to know
    What their search journey
    looks like
    So we asked
    Tell me about the last time you
    searched for (product) or
    (service) or (problem) online?

    View full-size slide

  54. Hotel site vs. booking engine

    View full-size slide

  55. We needed to know
    What language they use to
    describe things So we asked
    What words or search
    phrases did you use?

    View full-size slide

  56. and what
    language they use to
    describe things.
    Interviews uncover the
    reasons behind what
    people search for, how
    they search
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9

    View full-size slide

  57. Content
    Audits
    SEO, UX, and content are
    intertwined:
    § Avoid duplicate work and
    conflicting recommendations by
    considering UX, SEO and content in
    one audit
    § Invite SEO and UX teams to co-
    create audit when possible
    § Content audits need a technical
    SEO and UX lens in order to be
    effective
    Audit content
    holistically

    View full-size slide

  58. Don’t just
    check the SEO box

    View full-size slide

  59. ✓ Use analytics to understand top performing and under-
    performing pages in organic search, audit accordingly
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9
    ✓ Audit against active and passive intent identified in user intent
    analysis, use this to identify gaps in content
    ✓ Pay attention to internal linking structures, forward paths to
    related information, and ensure links are crawlable
    Key SEO audit criteria

    View full-size slide

  60. We need each other in
    order to be successful.
    Content audits without an
    SEO lens (and vice versa)
    don’t tell the whole story.

    View full-size slide

  61. bit.ly/SEOmyaudit
    Add an SEO lens to your audit
    C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9

    View full-size slide

  62. C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9
    ✓ Stakeholder interviews
    ✓ User interviews
    ✓ User intent analysis isn’t just SEO, it’s user research
    ✓ Holistic content audits that account for SEO factors
    Add a search lens to research

    View full-size slide

  63. Create a shared
    project roadmap
    Add a search lens
    to research
    Create development
    guidelines
    Add a search lens
    to content design
    –1–
    –3–
    –2–
    –4–

    View full-size slide

  64. 3. Add a search lens to
    CONTENT DESIGN

    View full-size slide

  65. DESIGN
    IA/Nomenclature
    Core Modeling
    Structured Data
    Content Production

    View full-size slide

  66. IA +
    Nomenclature
    Use search intent to help you:
    § Identify top tasks and topics that
    need representation in the IA
    that aren’t there now
    § Prioritize how high in the IA that
    content should live
    § Use nomenclature that aligns to
    language people use to describe
    things
    Should be
    influenced by
    search intent and
    semantics

    View full-size slide

  67. Photo by George Baier
    Look for the words
    (especially the verbs!) that
    people use when
    interacting with your site or
    product, then mirror their
    language back to them.
    - Lisa Maria Martin

    View full-size slide

  68. Photo by George Baier
    Category labels and
    navigation structures are
    not the place to socialize
    corporate lingo or
    experiment with
    affordances.
    - Lisa Maria Martin

    View full-size slide

  69. Content for special circumstances

    View full-size slide

  70. Content for special circumstances

    View full-size slide

  71. Easy to find in the
    IA (not buried)

    View full-size slide

  72. Core
    Modeling § Align page content to user intent
    § Provides a shared framework to
    consider UX, content and SEO
    input at the same time
    § Allows for compromise and
    discussion around priorities
    Align page content
    to search intent

    View full-size slide

  73. B U S I N E S S G O A L S U S E R T A S K S
    I N W A R D P A T H S F O R W A R D P A T H S
    C O R E C O N T E N T
    C O R E M O D E L C R E D I T | A R E H A L L A N D
    Page name

    View full-size slide

  74. Content for special circumstances

    View full-size slide

  75. User tasks and priorities

    View full-size slide

  76. Page name
    B U S I N E S S G O A L S
    U S E R T A S K S
    F O R W A R D P A T H S
    C O R E C O N T E N T
    A C T I V E I N T E N T
    P A S S I V E I N T E N T
    Page titles, main headlines, intro
    copy, and sub headers
    Subheadings, page content, video,
    imagery, and other content should
    address a mix of active and
    passive intent
    I N W A R D P A T H S
    Links from high
    priority pages
    Meta
    descriptions
    and markup
    Links to next steps &
    related intent
    Links to external
    sites
    A C T I V E I N T E N T
    +
    P A S S I V E I N T E N T
    C O R E M O D E L C R E D I T | A R E H A L L A N D

    View full-size slide

  77. Satisfying passive intent
    in content

    View full-size slide

  78. Featured snippets

    View full-size slide

  79. Answers given in paragraph, lists, and tables

    View full-size slide

  80. 28%- in bounce rates
    22% + organic traffic
    53%+ in people asking for a quote

    View full-size slide

  81. Content
    Production
    § Help web writers and SEOs have
    visibility into each other’s work
    early in the process
    § Be clear about how to address
    user intent in web writing
    § Align voice and tone standards to
    search intent when possible
    Incorporate SEO
    into the writing
    process

    View full-size slide

  82. What users want
    Questions
    Expectations
    Priorities
    Keywords & search terms
    Search volume &
    popularity
    How users describe things

    View full-size slide

  83. Voluntary vs. Supplemental
    543 different phrases
    5K in search volume
    1,681 different phrases
    26K + in search volume

    View full-size slide

  84. Structured
    data § Describe your content in more
    detail to search engines
    § Have more control of how your
    search results looks
    § Identify new content ideas, avoid
    missing information
    Pass along
    meaning to search
    engines

    View full-size slide

  85. Photo by George Baier
    Content design is a way of
    thinking. It's about using
    data and evidence to give
    an audience what they
    need at the time they need
    it and in a way that they
    expect.
    - Sara Richards

    View full-size slide

  86. of traffic comes from
    Organic Search,
    while 29% start
    directly on your site.
    47%
    CONDUCTOR, ENTERPRISE ANALYTICS STUDY

    View full-size slide

  87. Structured data enhancing UX + CTR

    View full-size slide

  88. Schema.org by type
    Product
    Local business
    Reviews
    Organization
    Images & videos
    More…
    Healthcare & medical
    Finance & banking
    Real estate
    Travel & tourism
    Arts & music
    Software
    More…
    www.s c he ma.org / d oc s / f u l l .ht m l
    Schema.org by industry

    View full-size slide

  89. C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9
    ✓ Account for SEO in IA/Nomenclature
    ✓ Layer search intent data over core models
    ✓ Highlight SEO and content overlap in one production spreadsheet
    Add a search lens to content design
    ✓ Include user intent in your writing and brand guidelines
    ✓ Think of meta descriptions and structured data as design, too

    View full-size slide

  90. Create a shared
    roadmap
    Add a search lens
    to research
    Create development
    guidelines
    Add a search lens
    to content design
    –1–
    –3–
    –2–
    –4–

    View full-size slide

  91. 4. Don’t let design
    GET LOST IN
    DEVELOPMENT

    View full-size slide

  92. Technical SEO
    Requirements &
    CMS Mapping
    DEVELOPMENT

    View full-size slide

  93. SEO
    requirements
    +
    CMS mapping
    Communicate
    architecture, front and
    backend needs
    Create a technical SEO
    requirements checklist to:
    • Save time in development
    • Clearly communicate technical
    aspects that will make the build
    search engine-friendly
    • Document expected CMS
    functionality and editorial control

    View full-size slide

  94. Technical SEO + CMS requirements checklist

    View full-size slide

  95. Not linkable text
    Can’t include
    semantic relevance

    View full-size slide

  96. Vague and no
    semantic value

    View full-size slide

  97. C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9
    ✓ Document technical SEO requirements and explain
    what that means for development
    ✓ Create developer-focused guide to CMS functionality
    and editorial control
    Don’t let design get lost in development

    View full-size slide

  98. Create a shared
    roadmap
    Add a search lens
    to research
    Don’t let design
    get lost in development
    Design + produce
    content holistically
    –1–
    –3–
    –2–
    –4–

    View full-size slide

  99. RESEARCH
    Stakeholder Interviews
    Uncover org reasons behind
    broken search strategy User Intent Analysis
    Understand search intent, user
    tasks, language and priorities
    User Interviews
    Capture reasons behind
    search habits
    Content Stories
    Articulate search intent for
    design decisions
    DESIGN IA/Nomenclature
    Influenced by search intent and
    semantics, determines URL naming,
    directory paths, and how Google
    understands you
    Content Goals
    Determine micro and macro
    conversions and map to content types
    Content Audit
    Audit against ranking factors and use
    search relevant metrics for guidance
    Core Modeling
    Align info hierarchy, core content and
    forward paths to search intent

    View full-size slide

  100. Structured Data
    Research schema.org
    markup, map to page types,
    markup decisions, features
    and functionality
    Content Modules &
    Page Templates
    Account for on-page SEO in module
    design and CMS functionality
    Migration Plan
    Account for dynamic vs.
    manual redirects, align
    redirect decisions to
    relevant content
    PLANNING &
    PRODUCTION
    Content Production
    Worksheet
    Bring your web content production and
    SEO meta descriptions, page titles and
    redirect insight together
    Web Content Writing
    Include on-page SEO elements
    and Google answer box strategy,
    along with clarity, relevancy and
    semantic considerations
    Titles, Descriptions &
    Metadata
    Shouldn’t be done in a vacuum, align to
    voice and tone, key messages, and
    user-centered writing practices

    View full-size slide

  101. Technical SEO
    Requirements
    Comprehensive technical SEO
    requirements, QA checklist
    DEVELOPMENT
    Development CMS Mapping
    Developer-focused description of
    expected functionality and editorial
    control of content modules and
    interactivity on the front-end
    On-Going Testing
    & Iteration
    Establish content performance
    metrics that account for usability
    and search factors, not just end
    conversions

    View full-size slide

  102. In every practical sense
    SEO is part of content design,
    and content design is part
    of SEO.

    View full-size slide

  103. You can’t design content
    without understanding search
    intent data.

    View full-size slide

  104. C O N F A B | 2 0 1 9
    ✓ Download the user intent analysis guide and give it a shot
    ✓ Take your SEO out to lunch
    ✓ Look for ways to integrate user intent findings into the content
    design work you already do
    When you get back to work…
    B I T . L Y / U N D E R S T A N D I N G I N T E N T

    View full-size slide

  105. @REBEKAHCANCINO
    Thanks, y’all!

    View full-size slide