Toxic-Toast SEO

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UX and SEO belong in the same crazy basket.

When I studied UX (user experience), I was disillusioned to discover it was a smoke screen to repackage psychology, usability and design all rolled into one pricey pseudoscience. A retreaded designer could go from $45,000 a year income to $120,000 per year by changing his title. There was no university degree for UX professionals. Displaced and out-of-work print designers started jumping on the UX gravy train by merely hanging out a shingle.

Nowadays, SEO is mostly about 2 things: 1) relevant content and 2) page titles that arouse curiosity. That’s it. If you use WordPress, you don’t have to worry about machine SEO, tweaking snippets, and keyword usage. If people aren’t looking for what you have to offer, no amount of refined key words or manipulation will change anything. SEO is about motive. What’s the users motive to be on your site?

Market positioning is a creative communication strategy that serves as a shortcut to the buyer’s motive. Consumer visitors won’t wade through junk to figure out why you’re valuable or why they should care about what you do. They don’t have the patience. It’s a much more intolerant world.

Essential or core UX is also equally simple.

UX is about achieving or overcoming three critical things for quality first impression (aka credibility).

1. Speed being prime. Why? If you can’t get past this hurdle the user won’t hang around to even see your cool presentation.

2. Next attractive aesthetics. We react emotionally and holistically to what we see and instantly determine if a site is “good” or “bad.” Should we stay-or-go is based on design appearance.

3. And lastly, readability and findability (like navigation and text size, etc). Websites are about reading content (or skimming at the least). People are foraging for entertainment or problem solving. Pictures are nice. But it’s words that sill communicate to humans and are also beneficially machine readable.

UX is that simple. Three helpful things – not thousands of tricks. And metrics (big data) are a tiny part of the evaluation. UX is about *feeling right* and being polite. What meter do you use for that?

I decided I’d focus on my fascination of page load time. Seven years ago, it was called performance optimization: a snobbish, ivory-tower terminology.

Page speed as a phrase is searched for about 10 times more than the old performance optimization phrase. And mobile speed is synonymous to page speed in global interest. For mobile users, page speed is a competitive differentiating factor.

Why the pain today? Because mobile devices flood the earth. Massive adoption is changing how people work and play. Even in remote third-world countries, smartphones are the main computer technology and communications devices. Small screens can’t be ignored if businesses want to make money in new global markets.

What does that have to do with my dislike of Yoast SEO plugin? It’s one of the slowest plugins created – and most popular. The irony.

Steve Teare
performance engineer
PagePipe.com

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