How user experience can improve your SEO
Once upon a time, SEO was easy. All you had to do was cram in a bunch of keywords and your site would quickly find itself at the top of the page for related searches.
Then Google woke up and got smart. Instead of accepting spammy tactics, the search engine started to look at things like backlinks and useful content to measure the authority of the sites it crawled.
This meant that the sites which provided useful information to searchers were the ones which came out on top.
This is all well and good and means that, nowadays, to appear at the top of Google, you have to make sure that your site is the best fit for what users are looking for.
If you’re selling running shoes, for example, then you need to ensure that your site provides the best information about this particular product. As well as being technically sound, your site would need to feature content that would be useful for someone looking to buy a new pair of trainers.
It would also help if the respected authorities on running shoes were linking to your site.
Whilst this all makes perfect sense; it does mean that there’s a lot of juggling to do when you’re trying to get a site to rank well. Making things even more complicated still, the team at Google are constantly refining the way that their search engine ranks websites.
Indeed, they’re regularly introducing new metrics which they use to evaluate the strength of any given website.
One of the metrics which is perhaps spoken of less frequently than others is the way that Google is using AI, or machine learning, to refine results based on user behaviour. The idea being that if the vast majority of users who click through to a web page after searching in Google leave shortly after, the relevance of that page is very questionable. The net result of this, is that user experience impacts search engine position.
What is User Experience?
User Experience (UX), as the name suggests, is a term used to describe the way that users interact with design. It refers to all the aspects which make it easy (or difficult) for users to find what they’re looking for on a website.
In very simple terms, you can think of UX as being the study of how people use your website, and how many of those follow a journey to conversion.
How does UX affect SEO?
To understand how UX affects SEO, you need to remember that Google’s mission statement is to provide users with the best possible search results.
In order to do this, it learns which websites provide a good experience for users and privileges these sites above ones which don’t offer such a good time.
Looking at things like bounce rate and session duration, Google is able to tell if your UX is up to scratch and whether you’re deserving of a spot at the top of its search results. And whether you are ultimately answering the question posed by the user.
In this way it’s possible to see that understanding your UX is just as important as understanding your keywords if you want to stay ahead with your SEO.
What can I do to improve UX?
To help explain how you might improve the user experience on your website, consider the following real-life example.
We recently inherited a new client who helps users to view and compare a range of franchises for sale. When we took on their site, we imagined we were in the market for a franchise and asked ourselves the following questions once we were on the site:
· Is everything explained clearly and laid out intuitively?
· Is it easy to find information about franchises for sale?
· Is the route to inquiring about a franchise straight forward?
By answering these questions, we were able to roll out changes to the site which would benefit the user. By doing this, we helped to increase the likelihood of getting a conversion. Here's a before and after to illustrate things a little better:
Ultimately, to improve UX you need to put yourself in the position of a user who is visiting your site for the first time and is presumably interested in the services or products you specialise in. Then you need to consider how easy it is for them to get hold of these services or products.
Ensure that the user is clearly led into the website with a hierarchy of content that is welcoming and easy to digest. Optimise the route to conversion by reducing the journey and adding easy to follow prompts through the site and add clear calls to action throughout. Ensure consistent delivery of navigation and structure and apply a colour to all clickable items so that the user expectation is met, and bounce rates are kept nice and low.
At Nu Image, User Experience is something we think very carefully about when building a new website. We realise that our clients depend on securing new business with their sites, so it’s our job to make it as easy as possible for new users to make bookings or place an order.
Similarly, when we’re providing some digital marketing for an existing site, we’ll spend plenty of time testing it to optimise the route to conversion.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how the UX of your site could be improved to help increase your SEO, get in touch with a member of our team today, and we will happily offer a free audit or review. Call us on 01603 859007 today.