Search algorithms are constantly changing and becoming more sophisticated and this is why it’s so important to have good UX on your website. In an attempt to increase organic traffic, marketers and site owners are constantly looking for ways to improve website ranking. Most commonly a variety of optimisations are being actioned: speeding website pages load time, snippet refinements and other bits are being improved.
However, instead of focusing so much on organic traffic increase, it’s more expedient to keep a close eye on the audience engagement with the website. Let’s have a look at how UX affects your SEO.
How user experience affects search engine algorithms
To understand the importance of good UX for SEO, we need to understand how search algorithms work:
- Search query is generated by a user.
- Search algorithms compose a page with the results based on relevance with the query.
- The user examines results and continues to the website, which, by the look of the snippet, will satisfy his request.
- He or she is landing on the website, within a few seconds decision whether to stay on the site or leave is being made.
- Visitor obtains necessary information, finds product and proceeds with next step, contacting the company or placing an order, etc.
Exactly step four in this user journey is having the most impact on your search ranking. If the website does not meet search criteria, slowly loading and it’s hard to navigate, most likely, the visitor will leave and try with another website. This then signals back to search robots that there is something wrong with the website. Therefore if the user involvement is low, if they do not interact with the website, do not spend considerable time on a page it will reflect in website ranking and this case ranking will decrease and this will certainly lead to organic traffic decrease.
This also means that the good UX for search algorithms as important as properly selected keywords. These two things are something you should pay proper attention to and improve where possible.
In order to keep your first-time visitors to stay longer on your website, you should consider these three factors:
- The time required to load your website – quick load time.
- Appropriate website design.
- Clear content serving, that is easy to digest.
To identify existing problems, I would recommend you to look at your analytics. Google analytics is a sophisticated tool and if you do not have it installed on your website, it should be a good time do so. Have a look at statistics for time spent on your website and bounce rate. If visitors are leaving almost immediately, meaning that the first impression is not very good and either website does not correspond to their requirements or they have no patience to wait for the website to load or even worse visitors do not understand your interface.
The other great tool to accurately identify website weaknesses would be something like Crazyegg, that records user interactions and generates a heatmap. This gives you more visibility on what actions are working well and where things are failing.
Addressing existing user experience issues and making required changes will improve overall user engagement. At the same time, it will positively reflect on visitors “first impression” and increase the chances of deeper interactions as well as returning users.
In addition, you can look at your website from the clients perspective and analyse your first impression:
- Does the website style/design match the business theme?
- Is it loading fast enough both on desktop and mobile?
- What about content? Is it easy to digest as well? Does it provide the necessary information?
- Is it easy to navigate on the website?
Although it is important to make sure that user engagement stays high, it’s still not enough for SEO as we need to make sure that content is keeping visitors from leaving the website, as well as their experience possibly being affected by the performance of the website. Here are the “Five most popular responsive design mistakes” that can help you address certain issues and improve your user experience.
Context of your content
For better organic traffic, you have to find the right keywords and write content that is relevant to potential queries. Consider your visitors and take into account their possible search queries.
Think about why people come to your website? Do they want to find out more information, purchase or get advice? Taking this into consideration will help you with content generation. Your content should not simply be informative, it should meet their needs as best as possible.
Let’s assume that the visitor lands on your website and tries to find out if your services a good match and that his problem could be solved here. The visitor quickly scans your website and something catches his/her attention. It would be in your interest to think about your potential client, for a moment put yourself in their shoes, is the content written in a way that conveys me? Does it simply lists service advantages and price or actually explaining what will be my benefits?
It’s important to care about your customers, don’t just list things, try to expand them and give answers in a way your potential client is able to digest. To maintain interest make your customer centre of the story. There should be an emotional connection, help them to associate themselves with described situations. What will be the result of your cooperation?
For example, let’s review “SimilarWeb” and how they engage with users. In this instance, we can see that they start with “who needs it”, highlighting potential customers benefits as well as expanding on each of the topics.
In addition, they are letting their potential clients have a play with the platform with a free trial option before subscribing to a paid option. This service is very popular and this only highlights why good UX is important for SEO
Do not forget the search algorithms do consider user experience these days and that search engines goal is to provide users with high quality and relevant content. The high engagement of visitors on the website distinguishes you from competitors, and at the same time demonstrates to the search engines that your resource meets requirements of users and the site’s rating should be positively affected. Thus, the emphasis on good UX is able to positively influence the SEO of your site.