Hi, Lauren Kaye here with this week’s Content & Coffee with Brafton. In the SEO world, every brand is looking for that one special trick to give it an edge over the competition. Click play to watch the video, or read on below. 

It makes sense. Industries are rife with competition, making it harder for savvy SEOs to score Page 1 spots in SERPs. Even with marketers constantly on the lookout for new developments in ranking signals, finding the sweet spot is tough. Links were the last big thing, but it’s all about user experience today

For one, Google’s Search Engineer Matt Cutts said so himself. In a Webmaster Help Channel video, he told marketers to lay off the link building schemes and focus on creating excellent on-site experiences instead. Intuitive navigation, attractive graphics, clean site designs and fast-loading digital content are all elements that provide visitors with more value. 

Last week, Cutts said site speed is already impacting your search rankings. Even if your site and your competitor’s have equal SEO value in every other way, a few milliseconds can mean the difference between assuming a SERP position or falling off of the page.

But there’s even more evidence optimal UX is becoming a top priority for success in search and social marketing. Two major players – Yahoo and LinkedIn – both announced overhauls that upgraded the appearance and performance of their web properties. For LinkedIn, this meant a UX facelift for Groups, while Yahoo refined 7 sites, including its Music, Sports and Weather pages.

The message seems clear – it’s time to break away from those Web 2.0 templates and develop sites with better designs. Your website visitors will thank you, and your efforts will pay off in stronger SERP positions.

Catch you next week, and happy content marketing.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.