How important do you think SEO is for your website? Well, you know the answer, it is quite important. If you want to rank your website higher on search engines then you must follow SEO practices perfectly. One thing that website owners know is that they cannot avoid SEO. But one of the most common misconceptions about SEO is that it is all about keywords and link building. But the truth is far from it. Although these two are important factors, there is another important factor in SEO. Well, it is User Experience (UX). Yup, you heard it right. User experience also affects your SEO.
Want to know, how and also strategies to improve it? Then stick till the end of this article.
What is UX?
Before moving further into a discussion on how UX design affects SEO. It is important to know what UX is. UX is the design aspect of your website. User Experience is related to how your users are interacting or navigating on the website. Content is king, everybody knows that. But one thing as a website owner you must know is that visuals are also equally important. If your site has it all i.e., UX, high-quality content, readability, inbound links, stunning visuals, etc then nothing will stop you from topping the search list. Simply put, user experience is to make the audience who visit your website happy.
If they are happy with your site, they spend more time on your website, which will in turn increase conversions and generate more leads. UX is directly proportional to the success of your business. Also, it doesn’t take a lot of your time too. If you strive for quality from day one you can clearly achieve it. Well, you can start by having a responsive web design. You don’t even have to hire a full-time web designer, there are on-demand designing platforms like Penji that will provide you with excellent UI/UX designs at a monthly flat rate.
Wondering how UX and SEO are related?
It is no secret that over the last decade search engines have evolved. They have been on a path to become more evolved so that the users can only get results with high quality. Google constantly updates its algorithm to make sure that the audience only gets cream of the crop content. Well, the SERP’s and strict algorithms are doing their part and are providing only high quality, trustworthy content to stay at the top of the search results. You can understand how Google is striving to provide its audience with the ultimate user experience. User experience is also one of the parameters on which search engines crawl your website.
SEO is something that search engines take seriously because search engines believe that is what users are searching for. So if you meet the needs for search engine optimization you’re automatically giving users what they want. At the end of the day, everything boils down to user satisfaction/user experience. It will make them satisfied.
But one thing that you must remember is that you shouldn’t be taking User experience seriously just for SEO. Do it to improve the overall user experience on your site. If a user is bouncing back to the search result from your site, it can be because of anything. However, search engines just know that they have bounced back (which may affect your ranking). So it is your job to figure out the user behaviour and causes for bouncing back.
Here are a few strategies for improving the User Experience of your website.
Page loading speed
Some of the common reasons why a user bounces back can be low-quality content, slow page and image loading or experience errors when trying to land on a website. Simply put, if the user is not having a great time on your website or not finding what they are looking for, they will leave your website. Always remember, lower the bounce rate the better for your website rankings (ideally, between 26%-40%).
Let’s talk about you for a couple of seconds here, do you wait if a website takes time to load? No, right? You either continuously refresh the page or just go back to the search list. So why will your audience be any different? There are statistics to prove this, one second delay in page loading will decrease your page views by 11%.
What is the solution to this problem then?
- Choose a reliable hosting provider and plan
- Invest in a good content delivery network
- Avoid auto-playing multimedia on your website
- Image optimisation is a must
- Avoid using too many visual effects and animations on your landing page
Simplify site navigation
Sometimes simple layouts do the trick. Another common reason why people bounce back from a site is site navigation. Yup, it has an effect on your SEO. Many people think that the more pages the better. Well, the truth is quite opposite to it. If your site has robust architecture it will lead to complex navigation. These complicated layouts will make it hard for visitors to navigate. Rather than complicating the design, you can opt for a simple layout which has high-quality content and a menu with short and sweet titles.
This way your audience can navigate through your website with ease. Don’t be afraid having fewer pages will no way affect your SEO. Just make sure that irrespective of page numbers you have high-quality content and enticing visually along with keywords in them. Also, make sure that you maximise H1 and H2 heading so that your content looks organised. Lastly, don’t forget using call-to-action buttons.
Mobile responsiveness is a must
If you have designed your website with the only computer or laptop users in mind. Then you’re in for a big surprise. Did you know that 63% of US organic traffic comes from mobile users? Well, you can imagine the traffic you will be missing out on. It is not an exaggeration to say that smartphones are taking over the world.
It is impossible to see someone without a phone. Since the device is always at hand, most people search the web from their mobiles. So it is important to have a design that is mobile responsive. Simply put, if you don’t want to lose more than half of your visitors or see low performing engagement metrics then check your site’s mobile responsiveness and make appropriate adjustments.
Hope that you have understood how UX design affects the SEO of your website. The above-mentioned strategies are some of the tips that are UX/SEO best practices. Put them into practice and you will see the visible difference in your site traffic and rankings. Don’t forget that everything you do is to improve users’ experience on your site.