End to End Optimisation: The User-Agent Journey
Optimize the Brand End to End for the User-Agent Journey
Optimizing a site or a profile, even a collection of them, is Web 1.0. It’s a tactic, just not that effective given today’s range of platforms and devices by which a customer can access you — let alone the multiple channels to the customer in the first place. In the Web 2.0 era, as the traditional and social webs merge, the only strategic way to go about it is to optimize the brand end to end: Build a clear digital footprint by making the entire brand machine readable and processable as well as human readable; all platforms, systems, user interfaces and experiences, digital assets, objects, and interactions; the spaces and silences as well as the noisy busy parts. Web 3.0, the Semantic Web, will practically demand this. As important, it’s the entire point of technical optimization.
Search Engines and Browsers are User-Agents
Assuming your customers use search engines and browsers to find and access your site or profiles, then User-Agents are important to you (because search spiders and browsers are both User-Agents). Two technological shifts will make it imperative to optimize the platforms that support the entire brand, not just the parts that appear to be the most customer facing, for these agents:
- An increasing number of online functions performed by humans are being taken over by contextually aware, intelligent SW/delegated agents. These agents sit between you and your customer and they are picky about how they operate.
- Billions of non-networked objects, from cars to appliances, watches, even toothbrushes, are being enabled to connect to the Internet of Things (forecasts range from 12 to 50 billion by 2020). Most of the connections are invisible to humans but are followed by machines.
- Your content will increasingly be discovered (or not) in the first instance by machines, not humans.
Why Optimize for User-Agents
- For search spiders, the journey to and around your site is just as important as the customer journey on it. Probably more so.
- For browsers, the mechanics to downloading and rendering your content will determine the human UX.
User-Agents are the go-between that operate between your site and your customers. Build your digital infrastructure and apps around the most inclusive, lowest common denominator and optimized technologies to make life easier for them.