Hyper Collaboration — When UX, SEO & Content Teams Converge!
Part 2: Bluespire UX, SEO and Content experts reveal the unique benefits of working together under the same roof…
What are Some Significant Insights You’ve Gained in your Collaborations?
UX: Answering the key questions of the users might start with intuition or experience. It may also include customer interviews. But even that’s not sufficient. It’s critical to analyze search engine queries and identify the actual questions that people are asking and to structure the content in a way that directly addresses their needs and their goals. For instance, in healthcare we find that our clients might want to differentiate themselves with their new technology, but potential patients don’t seek out the technology, they look for treatments and procedure. It’s also about delivering content that’s contextually rich but still the “right-size” for the web — striking the right balance between substance and style. So in the instance above, presenting the new technology in the context of the medical procedure – not as its own page.
SEO Strategist: Synthesis is significant in the context of a website and content experience. And how to take a wealth of information and organize it in a logical way. Google loves information and content – but we can’t just turn on the firehose and let it go. Our job is to create an on-page experience that accomplishes a goal. SEO strategy helps draw people to the page, but once there, the UX and content strategy have to be in place to convert.
Content Strategist: I have a “search mindset”. That means, I have to think about how the user experiences the content before they even reach the page. I consistently challenge my assumptions about content, and how it should be experienced, not just read. To illustrate — content for a health system, such as symptoms of an illness, is best expressed in a scannable format. A patient story on the same page is best told through video. And directions to the hospital or clinic are best displayed with a map as opposed to being written out. It sounds simple, but breaking down each element of a page in terms of UX writing is the rigorous work that pays off in engagement and conversion metrics.
What are the Main Results of Your Collaborations?
UX: A cohesive set of recommendations that helps the client achieve their business goals. The actual deliverable can take several forms:
- An audit with key findings and recommendations – we might find an opportunity to elevate a page with exceptional performance and elevate it to a featured snippet by reworking the copy or improving the UX.
- A proposed future-state information architecture (IA) – navigation is not just about user experience – it also needs to meet the needs of search engines and serve the intent of the content on the site.
- A content outline and/or content document – on-page content is strengthened when combined with SEO and UX best practices.
- A full-blown website – a website refresh should always include a well-rounded team of digital marketing, design and content members. Depending on the organization’s goals, we all have best practices to employ and when we bring all those together it’s exponentially advantageous.
SEO Strategist: The main product of our collaboration is more than just a checklist. We also provide solutions for an improved website. We collaborate and combine our expertise in UX, content and SEO to provide holistic recommendations. We offer specific guidelines on information architecture, navigation, page naming, title tagging, on-page SEO and cross linking and the structure and layout of each page.
Content Strategist: It’s about how a client experiences the process. When we complete an audit and present our recommendations, it’s fascinating and insightful for the client!
What Makes Bluespire’s Methodology Unique?
UX: What makes us unique is the fact that UX, Content and SEO are able to work together in real time, in the same room. It’s a real differentiator for Bluespire. When we get in a room together, we each bring our distinct perspectives and points of view. But we are all thinking as UX designers — or as Content Strategists — or as SEOs. We also have a deep understanding of our industry. And we’re able to draw upon past projects/past experiences to help guide our efforts. We’re always challenging ourselves to think beyond what we’ve done in the past, and to consider fresh approaches, tools or ways of thinking and embracing change.
For instance, we have ideas of best practices when it comes to navigation – but we often have to adapt those to meet the existing constructs of our client’s content management systems. We are challenged to develop a best-in-class-under-these-conditions solution for every client.
SEO Strategist: We truly collaborate to develop our recommendations. We each come to the table with ideas. Together, we determine which ideas strike the best balance between each of our areas of expertise. We are extremely collaborative. The result is that our recommendations blend UX, content and SEO in the most effective way. There are times the best SEO strategy, which is to leverage plain language – the way people actually talk – doesn’t jibe with the content guidelines of a client. For instance, users searching for assisted living facilities will often search for “nursing home.” Most senior living clients, however, don’t wish to be thought of as a nursing home. So we look for compromises and ensure that users who search for “nursing home” understand that when they are served a page for “assisted living”, they are in the right place.
Content Strategist: It’s rare to have experts in these disciplines in the same office, under one roof, much less collaborating. At Bluespire, we have a lot of T-shaped thinkers across our Centers of Excellence, which include Strategy, Content, Creative & Design, Development & Technology and Marketing Automation. We all have to really listen to each other’s points of views and weigh the costs and benefits to make the single best recommendation.
Sometimes, even after a lot of discussion, we still disagree. We present ideas to the clients and welcome their input. These collaborations inform all the work. No other agency I have worked at has been so fun. Nor has any other agency been so supportive of this kind of cross pollination and hypercollaboration across the industries we serve, and the Centers of Excellence we represent.
The Benefits of T-shaped Thinking
Design thinking promotes the idea of T-shaped thinking – the idea being that the broad stroke on the cross of the “T” represents a breadth of knowledge, while the down-stroke represents depth. Breadth of knowledge includes empathy, the ability to view the problem from multiple points of views, as well as enthusiasm for the other disciplines in the collaborative group. Depth comes from the years of experience, wisdom, training and immersion that a person brings to the collaboration. Utilizing separate vendors or siloed employees naturally leads to blind spots and unrealized potential. An integrated team brings more ideas to the table – along with the rigor of challenging and refining those ideas.
Collaboration — across our Centers of Excellence — sets us apart. We’d love to collaborate with you. Talk to a Bluespire strategist today.