Modern SEO strategies can no longer rely on keywords and backlinks to survive, frankly for years I’ve said SEO isn’t just content and tags. If you’re in the process of revamping your current SEO strategy, it’s important to consider the user experience (UX). You should be thinking about UX and SEO as a power couple, building great content, building a great site architecture, ensuring you are serving users, will benefit you in ways you never thought possible.
Search engines such as Google are getting smarter everyday, so your strategy needs to keep up. Let’s talk about what user experience is and its role within modern SEO strategies.
What is User Experience (UX)?
To start, User Experience is defined as the overall experience a person has when interacting with a product, service, or system. You can think of it as ensuring you are answering a searchers question with the content they need, providing them a listing of a location they want to go to, providing the right piece of software from a B2B perspective. And the list could go on and on.
If you want to put it in simple terms, having good user experience means that your site loads properly, users can navigate it easily, and it looks good. UX can be the make or break factor for your website’s success.
It’s not just about flashy design, it’s about the experience. Typically, the information gathered from user experience data metrics is used to improve the experience for users to keep them coming back. Things like bounce rate and time on site are all factors that we know will define a solid user experience. This information is not only valuable for improving sales and retention, but it’s fantastic for SEO.
Why is UX important for SEO?
We know that being a search engine’s best friend is imperative for a good SEO strategy. Good UX means happy users, which means Google is going to notice. You’ll be rewarded with better rankings the more usable your website is. Here are some of the top ways that user experience can improve your SEO strategy.
Studies have shown that 88.5% of visitors will leave a website if it takes too long to load. This goes for desktop as well as mobile. Nobody has time to sit around and wait for your website to load, especially in todays society of immediacy and instant access. A user could go visit the other sites in they search for on Google if your site will take too long.
Guess what that means? Bounce rate goes up, time on site goes down, which in turn means Google will keep track of those ranking factors and it will impact performance, in a negative way.
It’s not only users who like fast speeds, search engines do too. This is why you should be optimizing your site speed. Google has tools available to help you diagnose site speed and Core Web Vitals.
If your website is running quicker than your competitors, you will definitely see a boost in rankings.
The majority of people heading to a website these days are doing so on their phone. With that being said, your website should be mobile-friendly for UX and SEO. It’s not just a convenient feature for users, it’s a necessity due to Google’s Mobile-First Indexing. Google prioritizes mobile-optimized websites when it comes to rankings. This is partly due to UX and wanting users to have the best experience, provided by their search engines.
It’s one thing to have mobile capabilities, but it’s another to do it well. Having top-notch user experience optimization is key to a great SEO strategy.
Engaging and relevant content
We already know that in SEO, ‘content is king.’ That doesn’t mean, however, you should be filling the pages with word vomit just to hit a count or stuff in keywords.
Search engines, and lets face it, people are all going to notice what you’re doing. No one likes that.
From a UX perspective, content should be written with intent to inform, sell and engage. It should strike a chord with someone from an informational or emotional standpoint. It should answer common questions and address needs in a way that’s user-friendly.
For example, your blog shouldn’t be muddied up with posts about your cat when you’re trying to sell automation software. Unless that software is automating your cat’s feeding schedule. But, along those smae likes you shouldn’t be talking about your automation software and how the automation software is the best automation software that automates software.
Did you notice how annoying that last one was. Believe it or not, I still see content written like this or similar to this. Keeping content accurate, well-informed and relevant to your product, and you’ll see your customers thank you in many ways.
We have a client in the furniture space and we have created many articles tied to health and wellness for this brand and every time it has been a hit with customers. Not only have they found it informative, but it has led to tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. That is a huge win-win when it comes to creating great content, improving the user experience and thus growing SEO visibility while affecting the bottom line.
It doesn’t just end at creating the content, this content also needs to be easy to navigate to from a user perspective, but also from a search perspective. Search Engines should be able to crawl the content easily, leveraging user experience items like breadcrumbs or navigation that makes it easy to get it. The creation of hubs of content will also create a solid experience, because it will group content pillars and create a easy way for people and search engines to find the content.
You can also look at your analytics and find engagement metrics showing how long someone has been on your website. If your content is engaging and they stick around, search engines will also notice.
Easy website navigation and structure
Going along with the theme of being easy to use and easy to find things, your website should have a solid structure that anyone can click around on and find what they need within a few clicks.
This is not only true for content, but every part of your website. Whether it’s a services page, product page, explainer, comparison, a large resource, a set of templates. All of the above. In every case, it should be easy to find a page within a few clicks.
A good example would be if you’re a photography studio selling a service customers need to book appointments for. Your service listings should be easy to find, as well as your booking options. If you offer online booking the link to do so should be so obvious that it hits them all that time. Good user experience means your website is intuitive which can reduce bounce rates and improve SEO.
User-centric approach to SEO
As search engines continue to get smarter, and users have more preferences, it is crucial that businesses focus on a user-centric design. People have so many choices today on what websites they choose to browse, buy from and scroll through. Personalization, understanding user intent and creating a seamless experience across all of your channels are the key factors in creating a modern SEO strategy. Understanding and focusing on UX can pave the way.
SEO Engagement metrics
There are tons of user experience engagement metrics that tie into SEO, two to take notice of are dwell time and bounce rates. Someone spending time on your site before returning to a search engine is a metrics you should be watching and making sure they are not bouncing right back to search is an important part of that.
When your website has good user experience, users will stick around longer and this will send strong SEO signals to search engines that your content fills a need and is userful.
It’s kind of like saying “Hey Google, my site rocks and people love it, so move me on up!” … or something along those lines.
The bottom line is that if you’re planning an SEO Strategy in today’s world, you need to be thinking about User Experience. There is so much that having good user experience can do for your website and your product, but more importantly, your users and customers
Keep your users happy, and search engines will be happy. It’s a win-win for everyone.
If you need a hand identifying how user experience and SEO can help your company win, leverage our SEO Consulting Services, and we can audit this and much more to help your thrive.