Guest Post: For SEO, content is king, mobile is key and speed is everything

Guest Post: For SEO, content is king, mobile is key and speed is everything

Nucleus chief executive Peter Matthews explains how the firm created a superfast user experience for slow holiday specialist Inntravel

Nucleus chief executive Peter Matthews explains how the firm created a superfast user experience for slow holiday specialist Inntravel

SEO tricks that scam their way to the top of search engines no longer work. Today, content is king, mobile is key and speed is everything.

That’s because we’ve gone beyond the world of keywords, into phrases and real-world questions. Google, Alexa and Siri are searching and personalising the web for voice search and online Google is favouring websites that respond instantly to cyber and human enquiries. This is conditioning us to expect quicker search results.

According to Google, a one to three second delay in website load time can affect conversion rates by 32%. Take that to a 10 second load time and there is a 123% greater possibility mobile site visitors will have left the page before it finishes loading.

Delivering outstanding UX, especially on mobile devices, means ensuring the user experience is seamless and rapid. Of course, the fundamentals of SEO still need to be covered with key phrases, tags, clean code and back-links, but download times are becoming more important than ever.

This is because Google understands the need for speed has reached our subconscious.  We all have a knee jerk reaction to low-latency which causes us to switch from site to site in a bid to find precisely what we want, when we want it.

The less engaging a website is, the more likely users are to simply click away to a competitor’s site.

Speed vs rich content

So how can we deliver rich user experiences with immersive images and video and at the same time improve performance to deliver super-fast and smooth loading across all devices?

This was precisely what highly regarded travel brand, Inntravel, asked us when they decided to retire their old website and revitalise their digital brand experience.

Inntravel is known for creating bespoke holidays focused on finding a pace that allows you to slow down, recharge, re-energise, and refresh. The complexity of its product offering made it challenging to sell online, as each of its 400+ holidays combines a wide range of components and permutations.

Combining rich content with a fast user experience was one of the goals we set for the new website. We designed and built the site using Google’s AMP web component framework (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to ensure super-fast and smooth loading across all devices. Google reports that AMP pages served in Google search typically load in less than one second and use ten times less data than any equivalent non-AMP pages. Inntravel’s own data shows average page downloads loading 20-25% faster with AMP turned-on than the same pages with AMP turned-off.

Whilst getting the tech right for optimised SEO was crucial, we also needed to create a rich user experience. We designed a more intuitive information architecture with simplified navigation and an engaging user experience, adding a smart holiday search and a more immersive use of imagery.

The key was to create a visual experience that brought the brand to life by engaging all the consumer’s senses. Larger images, greater detail in the holiday information, easier to scan pricing sections, optional extras and flight details are now pulled in dynamically.

Reframing Inntravel’s customer experience required optimising search at every stage of the customer lifecycle. It was imperative that the brand was present, relevant and useful at these stages to establish a connection with their audience when they are receptive to new ideas.

When consumers reach for search in their moments of need, be it looking for an inspiring destination or a perfect place to relax, they are more likely to re-engage with the same brand that initially inspired them. Inspiration therefore was our driver.

This is new ground for many search strategies, but it must mesh with a rich customer experience. The days of focusing exclusively on last-click return on investment (ROI) are over, the focus must now be on providing a seamless brand experience across all touch points.

Speeding up delivery of the brand experience was key to bringing Inntravel’s slow travel narrative to the fast lane of Google search.

Inntravel has been voted one of the Top 10 Websites for January 2020 by CMS experts Kentico