Most companies are willing to put in a lot of effort to improve their SEO. Yet a large number of them manage to forget the critical role that user experience plays and how it can affect your overall SEO. Unfortunately, if you neglect to account for UX, all of your SEO efforts will have diminishing returns. Nowadays, if you want to boost the ranking of your website, you’ll need to shift your focus to your users and how you can improve their experience. Read on to find out why user experience is vital for quality SEO and how to get the most from your website.
How user experience relates to SEO
It used to be that if you wanted to improve your SEO, you could rely on keyword stuffing and creating a large number of backlinks. However, current trends are shifting more towards offering your users genuine value and a positive experience on your website. If you are making changes to your website just for the sake of the ranking algorithm, you’ll quickly realize that your old tactics don’t work anymore. Google has long since figured this out, and it will punish you for behavior it deems spammy. What’s worse, Google may even penalize your website if you go too far.
Instead, you should be trying to create an enjoyable experience for your users. Over time, Google has gotten better at recognizing user behavior and determining which websites are enjoyable. Therefore, user experience is vital for quality SEO, and modern design trends are making them almost inseparable and synonymous.
On the other hand, if users are having a bad time on your website, Google will be able to tell by looking at the bounce rate. Although Google might not know what is causing users to leave such websites, they will still be ranked lower than their competitors. If your website is struggling to appeal to users, you might want to perform an SEO audit to pinpoint the issues. However, it doesn’t hurt to make some improvements to your website that are guaranteed to positively affect the user experience.
How to improve the user experience and boost your SEO
1. Improve website speed
One of the most important factors that can influence the user experience is your website’s load speed. Faster websites are much more enjoyable for users and rank better on Google. The main culprits that can slow down your pages are large media files. You can speed up your website by optimizing your content, especially images and video files. While you are at it, you should also take a look at your website code and see if you can get a faster hosting service. If your pages take more than a few seconds to load, users will get tired of waiting and go elsewhere.
2. Design for mobile users
The average user is probably accessing your website through their phone, and it makes sense to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Large companies are not only optimizing their sites for mobile but are also actively developing mobile apps to keep their users engaged. Check how your page layout looks on mobile and how everything looks on a smaller screen. The mobile user experience is vital for quality SEO, and mobile usability will significantly impact your Google rank.
3. Improve your content
On the internet, content is king, and content marketing is all the rage. That doesn’t mean you should produce a bunch of meaningless articles. Google evaluates content based on the perceived value it offers to the user. Load your articles with researched information and link to authoritative websites. When placing hyperlinks, you need to make sure that they are logically titled and take users where they expect. Generally, long-form articles tend to perform better – users spend more time reading your pages, and Google is more inclined to offer them on its first page.
4. Navigation needs to be simple
Always keep things simple, and try not to overload your pages with too many buttons and menus. If your website is a tangled mess, users will get confused and have a hard time finding content on your site. Your call to action button needs to be clear and recognizable; that’s the only way users will perform the desired action you want them to. Simple navigation will also help users complete tasks on the website in fewer clicks and less time.
5. Avoid having too many ads
Website ads can represent an additional source of revenue, which is why many website owners are tempted to place as many as they can on their pages. However, if you overload your pages with banners and ads, users will have a hard time figuring out which buttons they are supposed to press, and your CTA might get lost in the noise. Google also considers too many ads to be bad for the user experience.
You also need to be careful if you feature ads that don’t relate to your business since Google can misinterpret what your website is about. Avoid being flagged as misleading and carefully screen the ads on your website. On the other hand, if you feature ads of businesses connected to your own, you could end up driving some of your customers towards the competition.
6. Use a comfortable layout
All of the design elements on your website need to work in harmony to deliver an enjoyable user experience. This includes:
- Using headings to identify what pages are about.
- Easy to read text; the size and typeface can affect usability.
- Leaving enough empty space for the important design elements to stand out.
If you want your website visitors to have a good experience on your site, you need to integrate their needs into your design process. What’s best is that by putting the user first, you will also boost your SEO at the same time. We hope that you now have a better understanding of why user experience is vital for quality SEO and that you can actually design for both at the same time.