A good result can only be achieved with holistic work

March 27, 2024

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In this interview, Astrid Kramer shares her insights and expertise on SEO and UX, and explains why both are essential to succeed.

1. You are a Corporate SEO and UX consultant. Can you explain to the readers of IMPACT what does working on Enterprise SEO & UX consist of?

My scope of work includes all areas of SEO, i.e., technical SEO, editorial SEO and SEO strategy. The same goes for UX. The difference with consulting, for example, small companies is that my work is also strongly influenced by company policy.

Communication between departments and with stakeholders is essential for the final success. Therefore, it’s my job to mediate between IT, editorial and management, but also PR, social media and many other departments to achieve the best possible result for everyone.

For many, SEO is a special discipline. But if you take a closer look, you see how holistic SEO work actually is. Findability, targeting, data-driven work and ultimately satisfied users and perfectly functioning systems like websites and apps are infinitely important in the digital age and can no longer be considered a niche product.

For any company with a digital presence, SEO influences all areas of business – and vice versa. This needs to be communicated and conveyed.

2. One of the fields you work on is reputation management. What guidance do you give to enterprises in 2023?

Change of perspective. There is so much talk about the importance of putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. And yet many companies act and communicate from their own perspective.

They want to present themselves in the best possible way, while it would be much more important to solve the actual problems of potential customers, to make them feel good, to build trust and to retain them. People want to communicate at eye level, in times of social media and participation even more than before.

 

Two women sitting at a table talking

 

That’s how you have to approach them as a company, too. Explicitly from the SEO point of view, this means that you have to look behind the data! Google your own company and look at the results. Respond to reviews accordingly. Take up and process feedback. It’s important to work across different media that the data from the call center can be used perfectly for SEO.

And finally: What does the user see when he has clicked on a ranking and landed on the page? Is he in the right place? Is his search intention met? Is he being guided well to his destination here? Is the page performing well and is his user experience positive? This is where many groups need to work together, both experts and real users. User testing is essential in UX, but also important for SEO. As mentioned at the beginning, a good result can only be achieved with holistic work.

3. You have previously discussed that SEO doesn’t result in anything if you don’t take UX into account. How can we ensure that the two support each other?

Communication, communication, communication. UX is mostly attached to the graphic area, SEO to the technology. If each department works separately, the result will not be satisfactory. It may even be that departments unknowingly work against each other. Therefore, it’s important to get everyone on board.

For consultants in these areas, the rule is to never consider your specialized expertise as sufficient, but always learn to understand and respect what others are doing. It’s also important to have functioning project management that is aware of this and acts accordingly. For example, tasks can only be marked as done when all relevant stakeholders have given their go. This is more laborious, but it’s worth it in the end.

 

Group of people working on website template

 

And just as important is creating understanding for SEO and UX. With concrete examples, customer testimonials, etc. Training and seminars for the entire team are extremely helpful here. It’s not about training ten new SEOs in the company. But every digitally working employee should understand why SEO and UX are so important and how they belong together.

4. In your opinion, how important is image SEO?

Like every answer in SEO, it depends. Image SEO is important when one’s branch or main keywords are linked to images. The search engine result pages (ideally viewed via a tool, so that they are not personalized) are virtually the largest usability lab in the world, since what the search engine considers relevant is ranked here for each search phrase – and these search engines can access an extremely large amount of data.

This also means that if an image search is displayed as a vertical for a term, then images are important here. So, if I sell a product for which explanation charts rank high in image searches, then I should also provide those charts. Ideally, I know this before Google does because I know that my product needs explanation or because feedback came from customer support that potential customers have a lot of questions about XY.

Images and videos are a natural part of the Internet and must be edited accordingly. Since they can be understood less easily than text, they must be enhanced with textual elements in such a way that machines can read and evaluate them.

 

Man looking at different images

 

But we are not just talking about machines here either. Visually impaired or blind people should not be excluded when it comes to being able to capture and experience the content on the web. Without additional information such as alt attribute texts or speaking file names, captions and surrounding text, this content cannot be grasped by many people, which brings us back to an intersection between UX, accessibility and SEO. Without one, the other does not exist. Or at least not well.

5. Google is doing core updates several times a year. How have the last few changes affected your work?

I have been in SEO for 15 years and have never been hit by an update. That’s because I’ve never done anything that could be considered gray. That means if you stick to the Google guidelines, if you produce good content, if you work technically clean and keep your system transparent and understandable and if you do SEO sustainably, then no update will surprise you.

Of course, it often takes longer to see success. Of course, high-quality purchased links can initially offer success and produce pretty charts. But if these do not deliver traffic, then they were probably not useful for users.

No Google update in the last decades contradicts the actual goal of Google of offering the user the one, best possible result for him and his search query in his specific life situation. So, if I’ve communicated with the user and not tried to use tricks to achieve quick wins that do not reflect the added value I really deliver to the customer, what update could surprise me?

6. What keeps you motivated? Any advice for the young digital marketers?

Don’t stop learning and remain humble and amazed at the many bright minds around you who can do one thing or another better and in a more exciting way than you.

 

A groupe of people looking at a laptop

 

I’m absolutely sure that no other job could have inspired me as long as SEO, where I can learn and apply psychology, neuromarketing, graphic design and much more that goes beyond technical know-how. And where there’s a community that supports each other, shares its knowledge and inspires each other.

I’m endlessly grateful to be able to work in a field that is more collaborative than competitive, and that remains exciting every day – as search systems are also evolving day by day.

7. Finally, this book is all about impact. What is impact to you?

A feeling that remains. Something that someone does or says and that I encounter again sometime, months later, in my life. An example: I needed new profile pictures. I remembered that almost two years ago, I once stumbled across a woman on LinkedIn whose corporate website I thought was fantastic because she presented herself as “out of the box”: no suit, but rather colorful clothes. No perspective from above, but photographed at eye level or from below. No typical business photos, but character, expression, style – impact. A feminist statement without explicitly calling it that.

This person had so much impact on me that two years later, I searched all my contacts to find her again and to show the photographer what I want for myself (shoutout to Shelly Omilâdé Bell – thanks for the inspiration, you are awesome!).

Globally, I hope that the younger generation, the “last generation”, will have more impact on our politics and all of us than it currently seems, because in the current situation, we absolutely need turnaround, innovation and fundamental changes in everyone’s life to be able to preserve this planet. In a very small way, I hope that I can have the best possible impact on my son and that I can give him values that will make him happy but also everyone who has to do with him.

About the author

Astrid Kramer has been an expert in Corporate SEO since 2007. The combination of SEO with UX and business requirements has brought her international key accounts. She excels in public speaking and moderating in front of hundreds of audience members. Her academic foundation includes a master’s degree in information science, social psychology and law and informatics and a postgraduate course in business management.

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