User experience (UX) is being touted as one of the most critical factors for effective SEO in 2021. With the average attention span of internet users seemingly shrinking by the day and a generation expecting instant results, website speed and ease of navigation are of utmost importance .
In this article, we’ll explain UX, what it is, search engine optimization, how to improve it, and why it’s so important for every website owner.
What is user experience?
The term is relatively self-explanatory as it refers to the experience a website visitor gets when viewing and navigating your site. A positive UX consists of several factors including, but not limited to, the following:
- Website loading and page loading speed
- Simple and logical site navigation
- Minimum number of ads and pop-ups
- Quality content
- Text with a lot of empty space and broken into subheadings
- Content that can be quickly scanned
- A website that is easy on the eyes and pleasant to look at
- Keep it simple
- Have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page
- A clear call to action (CTA)
Basically, the goal is for the visitor to have a great visual experience and navigate your website easily. It sounds easy, but it’s not that simple because other criteria are needed to achieve maximum experience, results and conversions.
Who really cares about user experience?
Visitors care about great UX, so basically everyone does. Dwell time will improve on a website that offers a positive user experience. Present them with a page full of flashing ads, loud colors, massive blocks of text, and the visitor is likely to click away and go somewhere else.
Website speed is also a part of tuning your user experience, as long load times must be a focused effort to improve in relation to SEO, and this is an increasingly critical aspect in 2021. True, it will also depend on the internet speed of the visitor, but even a fast website load time won’t make much of a difference if the site has errors, long load times, slow TTFB and is slow to navigate. The goal is to ensure that every page on the website opens quickly and seamlessly. This will keep visitors on your site and reduce your bounce rate, which is a good thing for your Google ranking.
Apart from Google, Bing also cares about the user experience of websites.
Does bad UX lead to lower search engine rankings?
In particular, Google places more and more emphasis on websites that provide a positive user experience for visitors, and this can affect your rankings, either positively or negatively. We confidently assert that UX will impact your rankings, conversion rates, and bounce rates. And that leads to gaining or losing traffic, rankings and new clients.
One area that Google and Bing focus on is site speed. We’ve talked about this before, and it’s worth mentioning again. Sites that load slowly will be at a disadvantage when they get higher positions in the SERP results. It’s not something that will get you a manual penalty or get your site de-indexed, but it can lower your rankings and increase your bounce rate.
Google aims to provide the best results for a search query. There are many factors that go into how Google comes up with these results. Quality content is always vital, as are backlinks. UX ranks right up there, as quality overall is becoming a big deal in the browser world.
Suppose people visit a web page and immediately bounce away from it. In that case, this is an indication to search engines that the site does not offer a good user experience in some form or another. It could be something as simple as the content not being what the visitor expected to find, the page looking like a jumbled mess and too slow to load.
Every website owner needs to look at their website from the visitor’s point of view in order to tweak, test and make design changes or adjustments that will improve the UX.
Why are technical SEO and UX also important?
Technical SEO and UX help with the overall SEO and ranking performance of your site. It also adds to the user experience as the website functions properly and delivers the promised content discovered in the search results.
Technical SEO can cover things like:
- The site’s initial interaction with the SERPs
- The overall quality and relevance of the landing page
- Page loading speed
- And much more
User experience can even go a step further by providing ways to interact with your site and your brand even after the visitor has left. This could include inviting them to join your email list, re-marketing, campaigns, your brand’s social media presence and so on.
How to improve the user experience of your website
In the modern world, every website owner should at least familiarize themselves with the basics of SEO and UX in order to stay competitive.
We mentioned earlier that one of the best ways to improve the user experience of your website is to see it from the perspective of your visitor’s persona:
- What do they hope to find when they get there?
- Is the content useful and easy to read or scan?
- If you were a visitor, would you want to spend time on your website?
- Is the menu and navigation logical, making it easy to locate information, products or resources?
Questions like the above should be asked by website owners about their websites, because only then can they hope to improve their website and offer the best possible UX.
Hiring the help of industry experts who fully understand the mechanics of SEO and high-quality user experience will also not help completely. Unfortunately, not all webmasters and online business owners have the time, knowledge or inclination to effectively improve the UX of their sites, if you are interested we offer SEO optimization and improve rankings on search engines such as Google.