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Using SEO data for UX research

Esmee Lewis
Junior Researcher

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) data can be a useful resource to triangulate within UX (User Experience) research in several ways. This article will explore how insights from data regarding search trends and other analytics provided by SEO agencies can enrich UX research efforts and outputs.

Keyword insights

SEO data provides information about the keywords and phrases users search for on a website. By analysing these keywords, UX researchers can gain insights into user intent and the language users use to describe their needs and interests. Similarly, SEO data reveals users’ language when expressing their needs and wants. An awareness of this language might be helpful when improving the usability of a website. For example, the usability heuristic ‘match between the system and the real world’ emphasises the importance of using terminology and language familiar to the user and aligns with their mental models of how things function in the real world. As a result, cognitive load is reduced, and the usability of the digital product improves. SEO data that reveals these keyword insights can be useful when understanding the ‘real world’ language that users might expect to see on an interface. 

User behaviour

Metrics that demonstrate user behaviour, such as bounce rates, click-through rates (CTR) and time spent on pages, are vital in suggesting which pieces of content engage users the most and which require improvement. Similarly, SEO analytics can provide insight into common user journeys, which are valuable UX research outputs and evidence-driven ways of optimising the navigation of a digital product. These analytics can also provide further insight into how logical hierarchies might be and how intuitive a digital product is to use. SEO data that contains longer or more detailed search queries also provides UX researchers with more context behind user intent and can consequently inform content creation. It is advisable to supplement user research methods such as interviews, surveys and usability testing in triangulation with SEO data to create a fuller picture of the user experience.

Content prioritisation

Incorporating SEO data into UX research related to content provides a detailed way of identifying which content resonates most with users and can identify pages that have the potential to rank higher in search results. SEO analytics illustrate how well content ranks in search results, how much organic traffic content creates, and provides direction regarding what content might require updating. It is worth supplementing UX research with this SEO data as the qualitative insights that reveal the most useful or engaging content are complemented with concrete, quantitative data. As a result, this triangulation might be used to prioritise and optimise content creation and meet user expectations.

Enhancing UX research methodologies

SEO tools can provide insights into competitors’ keywords, content, and strategies. UX researchers can use this data to benchmark their website against competitors and identify areas for improvement. UX researchers can conduct A/B tests on these pages to optimise elements such as headlines and CTAs, which can impact both SEO and UX.

Conclusion

Insights from search trends and analytics data can enrich UX research efforts and outputs in various ways, such as providing keyword insights, capturing user behaviour, identifying the most engaging content and enhancing UX research methodologies.


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