How Does UX Affect SEO?
We all know how essential SEO is for website positioning as it directly links with ranking and organic traffic. Still, for quite some time, another strategy has started to influence SEO. That means, now while ranking any website, SEO considers more than relevant keywords and backlinks.
One such factor that directly impacts SEO is User Experience. In fact, UX and UI have become a significant aspect of Search Engine Optimization. Search engines today are utilizing user-driven data to rank websites on search pages. The typical factors that search engines consider are:
Does your website load fast?
Is it mobile responsive?
Do you post quality content for your users?
Is it easy to navigate on your site?
So, these and many other factors are considered by top search engines like Google and Bing for ranking your websites. With that in mind, let’s start our article and dive in to discover more.
What Is UX?
Before understanding how UX affects SEO, it is critical to know the core aspect of UX. UX stands for user experience; and it is associated with the design aspect of your website, such as the position of texts, fonts used, themes used, menu link, and so on. Basically, it is related to how user-friendly your website is, which means how easily the user can navigate your site.
If your website has intuitive menus, quality content for your users, dynamic visuals and is designed keeping in mind the user’s emotions then surely it has excellent UX. An effective UX design helps users to find what they are searching for, efficiently. It simplifies the pain points of your website- points where users are most expected to get confused. Moreover, creating an effective web design with excellent user experience also has a positive impact on your search rankings. All in all, user experience helps to convey what users feel about your website. It depicts the actual picture of how engaging your webpage is.
How UX Affects SEO?
No doubt implementing essential SEO aspects are necessary to get your site on top of the search results. However, in today’s world, having an excellent user-friendly design is as crucial as other factors as search engines have significantly modified their way of ranking web pages. UX has become a critical aspect of SEO, and almost 90% of the marketers agree to that.
UX has a significant impact on your SEO strategy. It affects SEO as they both somewhat share the same goal. If you are continuously in touch with the term SEO, then you might be aware that, search engines have changed the way they used to rank websites. For instance, the search giant Google regularly updates its algorithms to ensure that only the best quality content is presented to its users.
Moreover, both SEO and UX cater to the needs of users, i.e. they both help the users to get relevant answers to their queries. That is why UX can be considered as an integral part of SEO or vice versa. UX has created a drastic impact on the way search engines work. That’s because, in today’s technological era, user experience matters the most. How engaging your content is, how intuitive your menus are, and how simple your website is, makes a significant difference while determining your search rankings. All in all, UX is critically important not only regarding SEO but also how active your business is while solving user’s issues. While SEO leads a person to the webpage, UX makes their journey comfortable on the webpage.
What Are Some Vital User Engagement Metrics?
While talking about an efficient website, many factors are to be considered. But here we will discuss the top four factors that influence your site. These factors determine how engaging your site is and eventually impact your search rankings. So let’s discuss them in detail.
1) Bounce Rate
It is a kind of negative metric. The bounce rate means the percentage of the number of times a user has left your website. It is a representation of the effectiveness of your website, as it represents the flaws in your site. Having a higher bounce rate predicts that the user left your website after visiting the very first page.
There can be many reasons for having a higher bounce rate, as in, you might not have had a useful product, or the website was not mobile responsive, and so on. Whatever the reason may be, it is all related to a poor UX design.
Since a proper design is correlated to better user experience, that’s why search engines like Google and Bing have listed the bounce rate as a critical factor while deciding search rankings. To put it simply, if your website has proper and engaging content and visuals, then your search rankings will be higher.
2) Page Dwell Time
Page dwell time or time on site is another crucial factor that gives an estimate of the time spent by a user on your webpage. It is entirely different from the factors mentioned above, i.e. it provides a percentage of the total time spent by the user while analyzing the complete site.
Dwell time gives us an idea of how engaging our webpage is, as more the dwell time, more appealing is the page. Having a higher dwell time suggests that the content you’re updating on your site is of great interest to your audience. It also indicates that the viewers are finding your website attractive and perfect.
Having a higher dwell time eventually makes your website rank higher on search pages as search engines mostly place engaging sites on top so that all its users can get the best and relevant content. To increase your dwell time, or in simple words to make your site more engaging, you must follow best practices while designing your website.
3) Repeated Search
Repeated search cannot be directly linked as UX metrics, but it surely is a critical aspect of your search rankings. It gives an idea of how relevant your content is to the user’s search query. It works in the following ways.
Suppose any user searches for content marketing tips, and the search engine provides him with the results. He clicks on the first result, which let us assume is your website; he spends some time there and returns to the search result page. After that, he again scrolls through the result listings.
What does it indicate? It shows that your content was not relevant or maybe it was missing some information. Whenever a user repeats his/her searches, the search engine considers that as a sign that your content was not appropriate. That’s why search results are always dynamic and not static, that means, if a site is found to be irrelevant, then search engine decreases its rankings.
Feedback is an essential aspect if you’re aiming to offer excellent user experience. That’s why the search giant Google has started to include input in its search results. Google has included snippets in its search results, meaning there will be a small box at the top of the search for the users. This box will summarize the information on a particular web page so that users can analyze whether the article is relevant or not.
Also, this block has a feedback option so that users can tell Google if any article is missing on information or if the article has any wrong information contained in it. The reason why this metric is related to SEO is that if in case, the user doesn’t respond well with your site, then Google may rank your website lower.
All these metrics are a part of UX design and directly or indirectly affect your SEO. Therefore, it is vital to take care of them to improve your search rankings. Now we know what factors influence our search ranking, let’s discuss the ways of improving them.
How To Implement Best SEO And UX Practices?
Now that we all are well aware of the importance of UX in SEO let’s quickly jump to the ways of improving SEO and UX to gain fruitful results.
Your homepage is the first page that users land on to. And if it is not optimized or framed according to their needs and wants, then you may have to bear consequent results in terms of engagement. However, one must not just focus on the home page, but make every page easier for the users.
Your website should be as simple as possible. In other words, your website should be clear and should be easy to navigate for the users. It should have the capability to assist the users in navigating your site. Remember, the easier the website navigation will be, the higher will be your search rankings.
2) Invest In Responsive Web Design
There is no aspect of creating a website if it’s not meant for users across all the platforms. If you do not have a responsive web design, then it is likely that your bounce rate will be higher and your dwell time will be less. That’s because most of the users today use smartphones, and as per statista, that number is likely to reach 2.87 billion by 2020.
So, if your website is not mobile-friendly, or in other words, your design is not responsive, then the chances are high that you may lose many potential customers. Moreover, having an unresponsive website also impacts your search rankings. So make sure to invest well in making your website responsive and mobile-friendly.
3) Implement A User-friendly URL Structure
A user-friendly URL is also an integral part of UX as a responsive website is. Active URLs are vital to update users about the current location of the page they are surfing. They also help to convey the users what the webpage is all about effectively.
Ineffective URLs are exactly opposite, i.e. they do not have any hierarchical structures, nor do they convey appropriate messages to the users. So, it is vital to have a useful URL as it does have a significant effect on your search rankings. Search engines analyze the URLs and keywords used in it to determine your search rankings.
4) Improve The Page Load Time
Page loading time was always a crucial aspect of SEO, but with the latest speed advancements, it has become a key factor to influence search rankings. As per a report by Google, if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, then your bounce rate can increase by almost 32%. Without a doubt, that can severely influence your search rankings. So what can be done?
There are a few ways to improve your loading time. For instance, choosing reliable hosting, including high-quality images and videos, eliminating auto-play option, and using lazy loading are some of the ways. Apart from all these, leveraging cache memory, and offering high-quality content can also contribute to the fast loading time.
5) Focus On Quality
Last but not least, try to focus on the overall quality of your webpage. Fast loading time and easy navigation are not the only factors that affect SEO. Content quality, the position of links, page layout, theme, and fonts also play a vital role in influencing your search rankings. So always choose what best suits your business site. Be relevant, and optimize your website as per user needs, because at last, what helps the user helps businesses.
When it comes to your business, you only wish for the best. So, why not use the best in improving your online image. Throughout the article, we saw how crucial UX is today in your SEO strategy. Not only does it add value to your business but it also improves your search rankings. And better search ranking implies better visibility, which eventually signifies better conversions.
So, follow these tips to improve your user experience and make your site more useful. Frequently run A/B tests on your website to improve its efficiency, make improvements in your content, add visuals wherever necessary, and at last be relevant. Keep in mind, implementing SEO along with UX may seem tedious at first, but in the end, it’ll surely boost your business.