The role of Human Experience in search marketing

April 20, 2015 - Digital State Marketing

Grumpy CatThe relationship between how humans interact with your website and your search marketing campaign should never be underestimated. Despite all the elements of the algorithm that would suggest otherwise, Google is still aiming to provide results that benefit human users. People “google” things rather than “bing it” or “ask jeeves” (remember, before it was abbreviated to simply ask?) because Google consistently provides relevant responses (in the form of websites) to search queries. Their ad revenue is dependent on it!

This is why I personally find it so frustrating, when websites fail to accommodate the basic niceties that human users enjoy. This might be because search marketing is a daily part of my life but even out of work, this grumpy person finds herself hacked off with the simple stupidity of some websites. Again this may be the sheer number of sites that I view and have reviewed the analytics of, but, time and again, I’m confronted with totally avoidable elements that will cause users to dropout.  Here are (just a few) of my personal pet peeves that lead me to search for alternatives…

  1. Drop down boxes that miss the one option that you want, particularly location based ones (Note to all Web Developers: Cumbria has been a county for longer than the World Wide Web has existed!)
  2. Sites that fail to display payment methods before the end of the checkout. For those moments when you haven’t got your credit card to hand and only PayPal will suffice.
  3. Site searches that don’t bring back an answer, when you know that they have the product (because that’s why you landed on their site).  Or those that provide an irrelevant result, as if that will convince you to make a different purchase.
  4. Forms that, if you make an error in the submission, lose data you have just arduously filled in. One missed box with or an overlooked asterix and you are doomed to start all over!
  5. Websites that fail to make it clear what is meant to happen on them. Thankfully this one is on the decline (due, in part, to my incessant complaining about it – or so I like to think!), but odd layouts and missing CTAs (calls to action) still exist.
  6. Perhaps worst of all are websites that have poorly considered or over-long checkout processes. You have my attention and I want to buy, yet you insist on making me create an account (with included email verification) simply so you have my email address to spam later?!

As mentioned above, analytics can paint a picture that the owner of a website could perhaps never see otherwise. As you have invested in your websites and know how your products work, it is easy to become blind to stumbling blocks in your website but by assessing the bounce rates of your pages and the conversion rates of products while aligned with this data, you can identify areas where users are getting frustrated and take steps to improve them.

And don’t forget that if you can see this picture, it’s a safe bet that Google is also taking note of this data – and judging the authority of your site based on it.

Here at Digital State Marketing, all our clients receive regular technical audits of their sites. The audit is actually conducted by a human (novel idea, right?) and as such allows us to take a real look at the site. While we incorporate SEO aspects, we also feature CRO (conversion rate optimisation) points such as “are the landing pages useful?” and “are there clear calls to action?” For more information about our human audits, contact the team.