When marketers approach search engine optimisation (SEO), they often do so in mind of attracting organic traffic. After all, earning a search top spot through the use of relevant keywords, website authority, and link building can all significantly increase the chances of high, and relevant click rates.
Unfortunately, increased interest means nothing if consumers click straight off again. And, a poor user experience (UX) is almost guaranteed to see that happening. Hence why, as well as ticking the box on SEO basics, marketers could increasingly benefit from considering SEO and UX in the same breath. In fact, with even search engines increasingly favouring companies who simultaneously tick both of these boxes, success simply isn’t possible without first getting your head around this. The question is, what is UX, and how can it begin to benefit SEO efforts overall?
The basics of user experience
As you can tell from the name, UX is all about the experiences that you provide for your users. UX from a web perspective is especially dependent on great web designs that use analytics to take the full scope of relevant consumer needs into account. From a marketing standpoint, this focus is pretty unique considering that it’s concerned with fulfilling the needs of users, rather than using consumers to blindly meet objectives. This customer-first approach can single-handedly transform loyalty drives, with as many as 52% of consumers claiming that they would make a repeat purchase off the back of positive UX, while as many as 88% of users are unlikely to return if companies get this wrong.
The role of UX in SEO
So far so simple, but how exactly does UX relate to SEO? To understand that we first need to understand SEO itself. After all, too many of us get caught up on the obvious, traffic-driving techniques of this focus without remembering that it’s short for ‘search term optimisation. As in, optimisation across all corners.
Google certainly doesn’t just care about blindly advocating for businesses that slam their online content full of keywords and hope for the best. In fact, updates like Google’s RankBrain were specifically designed to account for behaviour metrics such as pages per session, bounce rate, and so on. These focuses are well outside of the remit of keywords to instead consider the authority, and overall value, that contending sites have to offer. Hence, UX itself is as much an SEO variable as content creation in the first place.
Even after RankBrain’s shakeup, the introduction of further focuses like Google’s Fred algorithm worked to eliminate the ‘thin’, ad-heavy content that search results were churning out. Why? Because Google has a reputation to uphold, and without considering the UX potential of any given site, there’s no way that it can continue to back pages with its head held high. Only by taking UX in their stride can marketers therefore continue to bag all-important top search spots.
UX factors to focus on where SEO is concerned
So, that’s why, but now you’re probably wondering about how. The good news is that you’ve probably already been taking care of a lot of UX-SEO focuses without even noticing. However, full UX optimisation also rests on specific SEO shifts that you’re going to need to accommodate with more awareness. The main areas that a specialist SEO Company like us will focus on, include:
1. Page speed
In an age where we supposedly have shorter attention spans than goldfish, it’s hardly surprising that page speed matters a great deal to UX and SEO. Fast loading is especially imperative for rankings considering that as many as 53% of mobile users will click off if a page doesn’t load within 3 seconds. RankBrain will notice this in minutes and mark you down for it unless you tackle page speed with focuses like compression, image optimisation, and combined files.
2. Content display
Large chunks of unbroken content are unappealing and often difficult to navigate and are a significant reason why Google recently introduced its ‘passage algorithm’ to take consumers directly to the part of an article that matches their query. However, making content appealing to search engines and users alike in the first place relies on your ability to display content with UX in mind using numbered and bulleted lists, headings, images, and of course, plenty of relevant outbound links.
3. Easy navigation
Simplified navigation may seem like an obvious point, but this is worth reiterating considering how many sites continue to go wrong here. Navigation bars are certainly not the place for deadends of popups and should be kept simple with a few key headings that can, importantly, translate to site links that are guaranteed to both get Google onside and increase your appearance in all relevant searches.
Mobile users now account for as much as 56.75% of all internet traffic, meaning that sites should also incorporate mobile-friendly responsive designs that deliver positive UX and value irrelevant of device. Google’s mobile-friendliness tool especially makes this a must from an SEO perspective, with pages that have responsive design in the bag undeniably ranking higher than those that are quickly falling behind.
5. Non-invasive ads
It’s also worth mentioning that Google’s quality rater guidelines mention ‘disruptive ads’ a fair few times, while 85% of consumers feel negatively about brands that use invasive ads like popups. As such, UX-led SEO also needs to make sure that ads are kept to a minimum, and that they remain non-invasive with techniques like native ads, retargeting, and personalisation.
Inclusive SEO takes UX into account
The jury’s out, and it’s plain to see that inclusive, successful SEO is at one with UX in every way. While we’ve touched on just a few of the reasons for that in this article, this is an expansive topic with a whole load of marketing scope. As such, the best possible way to make sure that UX is benefiting your SEO instead of hindering it is to let experts in the know tackle this priority for you by contacting our team today.