This article was originally published in April 2022 but was updated on August 25th, 2022.
Google considers many factors when ranking sites, such as link building, keywords, and high-quality content. Early on, marketers stuffed web pages with keywords (keyword stuffing) to rank well in SERPs. SEO is no longer this simple as Google continues to update its algorithm to focus on the user experience.
Today, search engines factor in how easily visitors navigate your website. How mobile-friendly, secure, and relevant is the website? Such elements of the user experience contribute significantly to your rankings. Read on to discover how user experience and SEO work together and some best practices to implement.
What Is User Experience?
User experience (UX) describes how users experience an app, product, website, or service. For instance, does a phone fit comfortably in a buyer’s hand, or does a washing machine have easy-to-understand controls that simplify the laundry process?
UX relates to a site’s layout and design and how a user interacts with it when used in web design. A website with simple navigation, speedy loading times, helpful content, and accessibility to users with disabilities has a great UX design. UX web design aims to keep visitors on your site for longer and increase conversions.
What Is SEO?
SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of improving a website’s elements to rank higher on search engines. It includes on-page optimizations including updating a website’s title, meta description, heading tags, and text with the target keyword. It also includes off-page and technical elements such as link-building, site-speed, mobile usability and more. The combination of improving your website’s off-page and on-page elements will help you rank higher on search engines like Google.
Optimizing a website has evolved significantly over the years. Remember, search engines want to display the best possible results to its users. In order to make this happen, they continually improve the algorithm they use to index (search) through website pages. As search engines find relevant and authoritative web pages, they are more likely to display those pages higher on search results. SEO is all about developing your website in a way that matches closely with what search engines look for.
The Relationship Between User Experience and SEO
Search engines desire to provide users with the best result to their queries. For a long time, web designers focused on designing sites for search engines by adding keywords, backlinks, and quality content. However, this practice meant that web designers sometimes ignored how users interacted with a website. Even if a site is optimized extremely well, a poor user experience defeats the purpose of providing value to users.
Search engines study how users engage with a website and monitor bounce rates. Bounce rates refer to how often a user will visit a web page and either stay or click out of that page. If people quickly leave your website after a few seconds on it, Google understands that your page didn’t fulfill a user’s intent. In turn, it signals to Google that the site may not have an optimized user friendly experience.
Google notably uses advanced technologies like natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) to evaluate how well websites cater to visitors. If your site has a good UX design, users should easily find what they are looking for. This will benefit the user engagement factors that Google uses to rank websites. Remember, the more organic traffic your site draws, the higher Google ranks it in results for targeted keywords.
User Experience and SEO should work hand in hand to provide great information to both search engines and users. Overall, a good seo strategy equals good user experience for users and vice versa.
SEO and UX Best Practices: 5 Tips for Better Results
Optimize your site’s user experience if your site has high bounce rates or is having a hard time reaching the top of search results. This next section will primarily discuss SEO and UX best practices. Read on for 5 optimization tips for improved traffic and better results.
Improve Mobile Friendliness
Since mobile searches outrank desktop searches in numbers, most people visiting your site will use phones or tablets. Consider these key aspects when building your mobile-friendly design:
- Enhance your content’s readability through optimal text and font size.
- Help readers efficiently perform various actions from a mobile device. This could include navigating to your menu or clicking on social media buttons.
- Optimize images so they look good on mobile screens – the content should be scannable on the go.
- Ensure the elements on each web page are easy to understand and engage with.
If you haven’t revamped your site for mobile, you lose out on organic traffic from mobile devices. Check out Google’s mobile-friendly tool to test your website’s mobile friendliness.
Optimize Site Speed
Page speed has a substantial impact on user experience and satisfaction. In fact, more than 50% of visitors abandon a page that takes over three seconds to load. The probability of users bouncing off your site increases rapidly with every second your site takes to load. Remember, high bounce rates affect your search rankings. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool can run a test on your site and give recommendations on how to improve your website’s speed.
Heavy image formats, server delays, and unnecessary redirects are some of the most common causes for slow load speeds. Also, the complex widgets and fancy animation on your site may harm your site’s responsiveness. In addition, your hosting provider is an important puzzle piece too. You should ensure that your server’s response time is below 200 ms. Check out this article on how page speed affects SEO and ways to keep your site speed fast.
Simplify Architecture and Navigation
The way you arrange the pages on your site contributes significantly to the user experience. Simple additions like an easily accessible search box and clearly labeled category pages do wonders to help a visitor seamlessly navigate your site.
Remember that users may not enter your site via the homepage. Visitors should access your homepage from the same location at all times, no matter the page they land on first. Annoying popups, dead ends, and a long list of options can complicate your site navigation. You should always opt for a clean site architecture.
Another tip is to simplify your menus as they easily become cluttered with too many items. A crowded menu leaves users struggling to find the page they are looking for. An organized navigation menu helps users easily navigate and find important information on your website. You can add a drop-down menu to let users navigate multiple pages in a single category. This will help keep users engaged and benefit their overall experience.
Add Heading Tags
Both search engines and visitors use headers to determine the relevance of any piece of content. Besides, headings are great ways to use keywords and boost SEO rankings. The best practice is to add only one H1 tag for each page with supporting headings marked from H2 to H6 several times on the page. Headers also make it easier for users to read and engage with text on your site. It breaks down the text into easy to read sections, helping to improve user time on page. Overall, headers help organize the text on your site while leaving more areas to use relevant keywords.
Improve Site Content
Along with developing the technical elements of your site, improving your on-site content can greatly impact your site’s user experience and SEO. Optimize your site with the following content to better engage with users:
- Photos: Use photos to capture the attention of the users on your site. Photos help provide useful details about your product or service. It’s best to use high-resolution photos with good lighting on your web pages. Remember to keep them below 70 – 100 KB wherever possible for optimal site speed.
- Videos: The use of videos can also create an excellent user experience. Keep them simple, to the point, and not too long. Although they can take time to create, adding engaging visual elements and music will keep viewers interested in your content. Too many videos per page can also slow down your website speed.
- Text: To further keep viewers engaged, your text should include user friendly elements. Use bullet points, ordered lists, and headers to keep things easy to read and organized. Break up long paragraphs and use consistent fonts to keep things uniform.
- Graphs/Visual Elements: Additional elements such as infographics and data graphs can help educate users easily. The proper use of colors, space, and shapes can also help aid in a site’s user-friendly experience.
Enhance Your Client’s User Experience and SEO with Boostability
User experience and SEO are both critical aspects of search engine rankings. While marketers could previously rely on keyword stuffing and links to rank favorably, search engines have shifted focus to better user experiences. If you are unsure of where to start, contact Boostability today!
As a leading white label SEO agency, we will help your venture reach its full potential. Our team of experts work to stay updated on Google’s algorithm updates and SEO best practices. Check out our top-notch SEO partner program to see how we can help your business grow.