Backup up UX with Analytics and SEO

Over the years, I have clung to the phrase “fact based decision making” as a kind of guiding principle.  There are time when you gut might jump in there and lead you down the right path. However, there is a real problem with letting your gut determine the path.

In a recent meeting, a client did a new page design review with their web user team. This client has a network of sites that follows the same structure and UX, so it is basically changed one place and changed everywhere.

The Design Changes

One of the topics was changing the Address/Location page.  This page has a similar set up to many companies where the main page has a listing of locations addresses that clicks through to a detail page for each location including a map, phone number and service listing.

A fair amount of time and effort was being put toward changing the page because one division had a slightly different take on how they presented location data.  There was a lot of focus being put on the design of this landing page, but I had a nagging feeling that was potentially a misplaced focus. 

Where is the Traffic Going?

When I went in to look at the landing page traffic across the network of websites, there was a definite story here.  

The main location listing page only received about 10% of overall traffic across this network of sites. Although SEO drives over 70% of total traffic for this portion of the sites, it only drove about 7% of users to the main Address/Location pages. The remaining traffic went directly to the individual location detail landing pages.  Given that most users look for information with either geographic modifiers or including “near me” in these types of searches, the result wasn’t surprising. It had actually shown that the SEO applied to these pages was working.

Who Is Converting?

The main locations pages was only converting 7% of users across the network for this section  of the website. The remainder of conversions were coming from individual pages, showing that the primary source of conversions for this section was from individual address/location pages.

In addition, some websites had service related landing pages for some locations.  That meant it was ranking if you were looking for Shoe Polishing Services near me (disclaimer, this client doesn’t provide shoe polishing services).

What did all this mean?

Maybe redesigning the Address/Location landing page would have some value.  However, doing some user testing to prove out what is working would be helpful instead of undertaking an entire redesign to add a data view for search. Since Search was the majority of traffic, many users were starting their journey at a point on the websites that hadn’t even been considered.

Also, in the process of updating this section of the site, details to the more trafficked and profitable pages were not being address. The data and conversions proved out that good UX feedback and improvement would bring the most value over time.