The Importance of User Experience in SEO
Looking at the ranking factors of the current years, the top-ranking factors are mostly correlated to the user experience.
Now, more than ever, we are seeing how vital having strong UX and UI on your site really is, as metrics like time on site, pages per session, bounce rate and CTR (click-through rate) are leading the pack in terms of search engine ranking factors.
If you have plans on developing or designing a new site or even redesigning an existing site, there are some important factors to keep in mind if you want the sites to perform optimally. In this article, we will explore the most efficient ways to do so.
Site speed is self-explanatory. How many times have we clicked out of a site because it took too long to load for example? Now picture this on a greater scale and how much the human attention span has shrunk over the years. A fast site speed is not only necessary, but it is something we expect when we visit a site. A fast site speed enables visitors to stay longer on your site, to get visitors to not bounce which makes it critical that you do not make visitors wait. A fast-loading web page goes a long way.
*For those who do not know, CDN stands for “Content delivery network”. It aims to reduce latency and delay between requesting a web page from the server to it actually loading on your device. In short, reducing the distance that the information has to travel.
Alongside site speed, site responsiveness is equally as important. Making sure that your site is always loading properly across all devices will allow for your visitors to stay longer on your site and decrease the bounce rate.
Consistency and relevancy across all tags
From the moment visitors search for you on Google, to the moment they arrive on your page, use consistent terms, and ensure they are relevant. Consistency and relevance across titles, descriptions, H1, H2 and content, leads to a higher CTR and more time on site.
If the terms H1 & H2 are foreign to you, it is simply the HTML tag that indicates what the heading is on a website. H1 should always be the first and largest text on any site or page and is generally considered the title for that page's content. They are also especially important to your page’s SEO as it should include the most important keywords. Having multiple H1s on a page does not necessarily have a negative effect but making sure your content is organized in a practical sense is generally best practice. The H2 tag is usually considered as the subheading which should still be like your keywords in the H1 tag. Think of these as a hierarchy of importance when creating your site but don't forget to not stuff these keywords in your headings as Google will absolutely recognize this as manipulation and will penalize your site for it!
Readability across devices
You might have the best content in the world, but that does not mean it is readable. Invest the time and resources to ensure what you are showing to visitors is visually pleasing, well organized, and accessible. The extra effort is worth it.
To make content more readable:
- Use proper distribution of headers (mainly H1, H2, H3);
- Make sure that sentences are meaningful and readable and include a maximum of 20 words;
- Use relatively short paragraphs: avoid massive paragraphs that are hard to read;
- Include visuals between your text, do not just throw text on your page;
- Always write for humans rather than search engines.
Think beyond SEO and ROI. Think of genuine human value. When you do so, you will be able to have exceptional UX, from which SEO and ROI are more likely to follow.
Use consistent language
Do not mix up languages on your page.
Breadcrumbs allow users to easily navigate between sections and subsections, categories, and subcategories.
Create good, relevant, useful navigation
- Group your navigation properly;
- Allow an option to always go back and forth between pages and blogs;
- Allow on site search to help users navigate via search bar;
Capitalize on your footer
Make sure that you are using your footer to link to pages that you might not be able to squeeze into the main navigation.
Use calls to action
Calls to action are about more than conversions. They are about making the next step(s) clear for visitors.
Use interlinking properly
Always link content in one page or blog to other relevant pages and blogs.
Everything we covered above is good but remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Continual testing and optimization are cornerstones of good marketing. You have to always assume that you don’t know what you don’t know. If your navigation menu is doing well, that does not mean that it cannot be even better.
With all these methods in mind it is important to continue to always try optimizing where you can. Often these little efforts will go a long way in the overall performance of the site. While there is no magic wand to fix everything and anything, implementing or improving on these factors above will give your site the best chance to succeed in our vast digital space.
If you’re interested in learning more about SEO and how to optimize for humans, this online workshop is designed to get beginners up to speed on the basics of SEO and how to implement best practices and strategies for long term growth and success.
Want to learn more about the trainer, Tarek Riman? You can find his bio here.