The art of effective AND beautiful SEO

By embracing the artistry of design, storytelling, and user experience, you can create a digital masterpiece that not only ranks high in search results but also captures the hearts and minds of your audience.

The term “SEO” often conjures up images of keyword-stuffed content, bland metadata and a relentless focus on beating an algorithm to perform well. 

With every website and their marketing teams competing for clicks and following identical industry standards, the internet is awash with variations of the same thing, achieving little reward and little differentiation in creativity. 

This is not how we work. Our focus is on the one thing that makes us and our clients excited about the projects we’re working on – Beautifully Effective®

Our mantra is what we strive for, a concentrated effort to make a difference between a solution that works and a solution that works beautifully.

Beautifully Effective Approach to marketing

As an agency that offers a wide range of digital solutions, we often find that most of our clients sit within four key realms of brand and marketing – strategy, design, development and search. This ticks all the boxes from our team’s perspective as we really get to delve under the hood of a brand and create solutions that deliver aesthetics, mechanics and impact. 

The key challenge is, how do we maintain our core belief of making something that speaks to the audience and delivers on brief?

Let’s not pretend that making a Google result visually attractive is an easy thing to do. Just look at it – it doesn’t give us much room for creative flair! But as this is the starting point for many of our client’s business requirements it’s the place to try and mix things up, stand out and be effective.

Google search result example

Jon, our Head of Design stated that in the world of design, Beautifully Effective is ultimately about the audience and how removing friction is a big part of how successful a design is.

If we apply the same thinking to a search result we look at organic marketing in a much more beautiful way. 

Take for instance a long-standing client of ours – a leading independent law firm Ellis Jones – by making the search result as frictionless as possible we focus on bringing all available information to the forefront so that the user can find the page they’re looking for in their current intent. 

This leads to a rich search result with top destination pages, a map of locations and a knowledge panel that incorporates reviews and imagery; all of which entice that ever-important click, but more importantly, remove the friction of users finding the brand, information and content they are looking for.

Google search result example for Ellis Jones Solicitors

I call this a harmonious marriage of beauty and effectiveness. Before we even get the user to your website we start to create seamless paths of simplicity and frictionless interactions, helping to make SEO both effective and beautiful when approached with a strategic and creative mindset.

There’s little point redecorating your library if your books are in a pile in the middle of the floor.

SEO is a critical aspect of digital marketing, and while it may not be traditionally associated with beauty in the aesthetic sense, there are ways to make it more appealing and effective. 

Our clients are all too familiar with my library-based analogy when I’m talking about SEO, which I find helps to very quickly establish a shared understanding of the world we work in. 

There are your big national libraries that are historic and cater for many interests, just like websites such as Wikipedia, BBC and YouTube. Then there are smaller regional libraries catering for local communities and offering special services, a bit like Ellis Jones. If you treat your own website like a library you can start to understand organic search better. Your smaller library is trying to attract the footfall of people looking for more specialist and refined content on topics they’re interested in. 

Design and creativity can make your library more appealing, a new lick of paint, better signage and a marketing campaign can bring people in, but what if you haven’t put your books in the right place, haven’t sectioned off your aisles in the right way and have abandoned best practice industry standards like ISBN and Dewey decimal systems. Well, then your books are in a pile in the middle of the library with readers digging their way through trying to find the book they want. In the world of digital, this is how we compare to and approach good website structure, content hierarchy and user experience. 

The combination of beautiful design and effective development married with a well-thought-out structure and information architecture helps to lay the foundation of success for search marketing. 

Matt, our head of development, believes that “a beautiful digital development process is one that results in a product that is easy to use (for everyone!), delivers on the visual expectations, and is intuitive for the humans who intend to engage with it.” 

Libraries (and websites, stick with me in this comparison folks) can be both beautiful and effective, but can also be a frustrating experience that leaves you searching for the only copy of the book you want. Take Coventry Library, a city renowned for its love of concrete, I’m from there, so I am allowed this opinion. 

The public library follows the blueprint of the city’s post-war regeneration leading to a building characterised by its monolithic, blocky 1950s Brutalist architecture. The inside is just as appealing with a barren, confused layout and difficult-to-navigate organisation of content. If it was a website it would be Craigslist (sorry not sorry).

Image of Coventry public library (source: Coventry Telegraph)

Compare that to the splendour of the most stunning library I have visited, the Clementinum in ancient Prague. This was like stepping into Hogwarts on acid, with painted ceilings, marble floors and decorative adornments aplenty. 

Housing the national library of Czechia the 18th Baroque style blends beauty and effectiveness to a level that delights the visitor and engages them to browse the building and find the book of their dreams, now imagine you could get your website visitors to do the same!

The Klementinum (Clementinum) National Library Prague (Source: WIkipedia)

Beautifully Effective is not just an output. It is a process.

Getting your library to be the most visited involves commitment at the start of a project. We first of all complete a benchmark analysis to understand your current situation and identify any blockers to performance that you might have, nine times out of ten this uncovers human error, old or clunky code and pages that are non-optimised and reduce search-ability. 

We take the findings of this into our team where each expert will take into consideration how we can limit the bad stuff and move on to building a better version – a more beautiful version – a more effective version. 

If you are looking to improve your organic marketing get in touch with us for a hygiene report and see how your library can be prevented from crumbling. 

Laying the foundations of a good website involves good information architecture and content that is well sorted, well optimised and thought through to give the user the high-quality, informative and engaging content that makes your user (and Google) happy. Knowing the vital elements on site and key conversion factors enables the design team to create landing pages that have clear call to action, identify routes of navigation led by intent, and opportunities to make beautiful design choices that marry with the effectiveness of search. 

Take for example a recent project for Jigsaw. Through keyword research and search engine investigation we were able to identify five key routes through their website and the important terms that would acquire traffic to the site.

Pre and Post restructure Information Architecture of Jigsaw

This resulted in separating the site into architecture, design and three key routes for the potential client to intuitively find the information they needed. Translated by our design team into a beautiful design that clearly indicates how to get where you need to be, but at the same time resolved a key issue in clustering content and the site’s URL structure.

Jigsaw Interior Design website example

The Essentials of Effective SEO

1. Quality Content

The foundation of SEO lies in creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content. Beautiful SEO starts with crafting content that not only satisfies search engine algorithms but also captivates human readers. Think of your content as a canvas where you paint a vivid picture with your words, offering valuable information and a delightful user experience.

2. Keywords with Purpose

Effective SEO incorporates keywords strategically. Rather than cramming them haphazardly into your content, integrate them seamlessly to enhance the flow and readability. A beautiful SEO strategy considers the user’s intent behind their search and weaves keywords naturally into the narrative.

3. User Experience

A beautiful website not only looks visually appealing but also offers an intuitive and seamless user experience. A user-friendly site with clear navigation and fast-loading pages contributes to a positive SEO performance, as search engines value user satisfaction.

4. Mobile Optimisation

In today’s mobile-first world, beautiful SEO means ensuring your website is mobile-friendly. Responsive design and mobile optimisation are crucial for both user experience and search engine rankings.

The Artistry of Beautiful SEO

1. Visual Appeal

Your website’s design plays a pivotal role in creating a beautiful online presence. Choose visually appealing layouts, typography, and colour schemes that resonate with your brand identity. A harmonious design not only attracts visitors but also keeps them engaged.

2. Multimedia Integration

Beautiful SEO embraces multimedia elements such as images, videos, and infographics. These not only break up text but also provide an engaging, visually stimulating experience for your audience. Alt text and descriptive file names can also improve SEO by making multimedia content accessible to search engine crawlers.

3. Storytelling

Craft a compelling brand story that connects with your audience on a deeper level. Share your journey, values, and mission through well-crafted narratives. Beautiful SEO involves storytelling that resonates with your target audience while naturally incorporating relevant keywords.

4. Social Media Presence

A strong social media presence can be a beautiful extension of your SEO strategy. Engaging with your audience on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn not only boosts your brand’s visibility but also encourages user-generated content, which can enhance your SEO efforts.

The Symbiosis of Effective and Beautiful SEO

The true power of SEO lies in the seamless integration of these principles. When you combine effective optimisation techniques with a beautiful user experience, your website becomes a digital masterpiece:

  • Quality content that informs and delights
  • Keywords that are seamlessly woven into your narrative
  • A user-friendly, mobile-responsive design
  • Engaging visuals and multimedia elements
  • Compelling storytelling that resonates with your audience
  • Active social media engagement

This synergy elevates your online presence, making it not only highly visible to search engines but also magnetic to your target audience. The result is a beautiful website that not only ranks well but also leaves a lasting impression.

Your website might look like the best thing since sliced atoms, but what good does that do your business if nobody can find it? Search engine optimisation (SEO) is critical for a successful website, and is the only way people looking for your products and services online will find it. 

By embracing the artistry of design, storytelling, and user experience, you can create a digital masterpiece that not only ranks high in search results but also captures the hearts and minds of your audience. 

Discover how to gain insights about a website’s effectiveness, and ways to optimise a website for search engines by giving the team a call today on 01202 330 000 or emailing [email protected].

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