User experience may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of SEO. But together, they are a winning combination. Using user experience SEO techniques you can shoot two birds with one stone.
Many bloggers and website owners mistakenly believe that SEO is limited to making your site more relevant with title tags, meta tags, and alt tags. If you think the same, then you’re wrong. An optimized website follows a set of on-page practices to make it more search-engine friendly. While tags do help Google to understand your site’s content, the search engine uses more than 200 ranking factors to evaluate SERP ranking.
I’ve written posts on link-building, on-page SEO, and social media previously, but today I’d like to discuss the importance of user experience in SEO. Why should you focus on user experience SEO techniques and try to improve your site-viewing experience?
Google launches new updates and refreshes regularly to improve their search result quality and give users what they want. Killing all web spam is impossible because there’s always a way to manipulate the algorithm. Google uses user behavior data to improve its search results. Dwell time and pogosticking are used to rank websites on SERP. It’s clear that Google looks at user behavior and uses it as a key factor in evaluating the site’s online worth.
When you first start an SEO campaign, the first thing you must analyze is your website’s user experience. It’s best to gain more organic traffic by implementing on-page and off-page changes that facilitate a more positive experience for your users. After all, simply adding tags and keywords will be meaningless if users aren’t able to understand or interact with your website’s interface. It’s all about creating an online atmosphere that piques your visitors’ interests and converts them into paying customers. Websites need to be responsive, intuitive and inviting to draw in users.
What is User Experience (UX)?
User experience, often abbreviated as UX, is a term that covers a whole range of website features from the ease of use to user engagement and visual appeal. UX captures all of the behavioral and psychological aspects of users’ interactions with web pages. The user experience on a site directly reflects how visitors will behave. When UX is awesome, you can expect more site engagement and user interactions. Poor UX will undoubtedly lead to poor SEO and vice versa. UX has four key elements:
- Usability – Is it easy to explore and complete the task?
- Value – Does the website provides value to its users? Does it publish valuable information that’s required or sought after by users?
- Adaptability – Does the website convince visitors to use the products or services?
- Desirability – Is the interface engaging and visually pleasing?
It’s not necessary to keep all elements equal, for every website. For instance, if you’re designing a social network, then it’s important to provide “adaptability” regardless of its features, usability, and content. This means that users can easily discover the website and signup with their own profiles. Adaptability cannot depend on marketing. The next part is “desirability” of the social network. Is it fun and engaging? Even if adaptability is good, failing to make users engage more with your website content will affect its end results.
However, if you’re creating an eCommerce site, then all four elements are equally important. You can’t neglect any of the elements from your eCommerce design. Users should adapt to the site easily, benefit from the ease of use, engage with offers, and find valuable information that they need. When any one of these is missing, there will be a noticeable drop in purchases.
Making an interface that brings all of these elements together will generate an amazing site-viewing experience that will positively affect your user behavior and also improve SEO. Thus, users will love visiting your website again and again to learn more. Since UX has so much influence on user behavior, Google uses it as a clear signal that the website is valuable to its users.
Measuring a Website's UX
Now, let’s discuss how these elements can be numerically measured for your website. This can be tricky like measuring your ROI, but there are several analytical tools that can be utilized to measure your UX. User behavior can be counted by the following parameters:
- Average Time on a Website – average time that a visitor spends on your website.
- Bounce Rate – the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your website after viewing just one page.
- Page Views – the number of instances when a visitor views a page.
- Exit Rate – the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing a specific page.
- On SERP
- Pogosticking – the action where a user goes back and forth from the search results page and search result destination sites.
- Click-Through Rate – the ratio of the number of site visitors who came after clicking a link to the total number of users.
- Dwell Time – the duration of time between the moment that a user clicks on a search result and goes back to the search results page.
Click-through rate (CTR), dwell time, and pogosticking are considerably used by Google to assess a website’s quality for a specific search query. As I said before, the analytics parameters aren’t the same as ranking factors, but they’re closely correlated. Having a low bounce rate and high average time on site shows that users are engaging with content. The combo of CTR and dwell time is something that’s very hard to manipulate, so Google can trust these parameters for judging user behavior.
Steps to Create Awesome User Experience
So, what can you do to improve overall site experience? Keep all of the elements in mind and continually crank out fun, engaging content. You could improve UX by taking the consultative approach of testing, monitoring, and conducting surveys. Yet, you really only need to focus on designs that fit UX principles. For instance, maximize your headline titles, optimize your menu names, create clear navigation tasks, and provide exciting product descriptions. Make certain you’re adding in a clear call-to-action that draws in users.
Following are some quick tips to make SEO and user experience work together:
- Optimize your web-page headings to make it easy for both viewers and search engine crawlers to find your content. This will solve the dual purpose of improving user experience and SEO.
- Make sure that your website is easy to navigate, as it will not only improve site-viewing experience but also improve your search rankings.
- Improve your site speed by removing unnecessary site elements, optimizing images, and using other speed-optimization techniques. Site-speed is an important search ranking factor and one of the key elements that define a good site-viewing experience.
- Optimize your site for a smooth mobile viewing experience. Making your website mobile-friendly will not only improve your website’s UX but will also bring more visitors to your website, as a lot of people surf the internet using mobile devices.
Overall, focus on improving your website’s viewer experience and search engine optimization will happen by itself. User experience and SEO have a lot of common elements and improving one automatically improves the other.
User experience is an important part of SEO and should not be ignored. Using user experience SEO techniques, you can solve both problems simultaneously.
Google sees all and notices everything.
If your website visitors are happy, spending more time on your website, and leaving positive reviews, Google knows.
Although these are not direct ranking factors, all of these factors will still improve your search rankings. User experience and SEO work hand-in-hand and you just need to appreciate and maintain that balance.
If you have any further questions on user experience SEO techniques, do let us know in the comments below.