Search Engine Optimization (SEO) came into existence 15 years ago. It later became a trend among many websites and business owners. Initially, many web admins and experts easily ranked their websites among the top by keyword stuffing. A practice that involved using target keywords as many times as possible.
With this skewed practice, low-quality websites ranked higher than those with relevant and quality content. This prompted Google to review their algorithm and eventually changed how websites were ranked.
Besides using target keywords and having backlinks, search engines introduced data-driven aspects such as web interface, web design, and user engagement metrics. These were used to determine a web page’s relevance and quality search results for its users. It focused on making the user’s experience an important aspect of website ranking and organic traffic.
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How UX Design Affects Your User Metrics and SEO Rankings
User Experience (UX) design has a compelling and direct impact on your SEO ranking, majorly through user engagement metrics.
UX designs consider URL structure, menu/header Layout, mobile responsiveness, and page speed, which means that an improvement on your UX design will most likely result in a better SEO ranking, audience retention, and increased brand credibility.
What is User Experience (UX)?
User Experience refers to how a user interacts and engages with a product, service, or system. It focuses on making a website user-friendly while using and navigating the site.
A good and effective UX design always positively affects the users and causes a trickle-down effect on search ranking rankings by Google and Bing.
User Engagement Metrics that Matter
There are a few metrics that are critical in improving SEO. These serve to let Google know how practical and relevant webpages are in engaging the user and in terms of a search query. Some of these metrics include:
Bounce rate is a metrical measurement system that captures the user ratio of people who exit your website having viewed only a page. Often, this can either be the landing page or homepage.
A high bounce rate indicates that users were not interested in the pages or didn’t find what they were searching for.
A high bounce rate can result from slow page speed, poor web design, irrelevant content, and confusing UX designs.
Page Dwell Time
Dwell time refers to the total time a user spends on a page. It acts as an indication of how engaged the user was with the content provided.
Whenever a user spends a considerable amount of time on a page, Google interprets this as a positive sign and that the page was both relevant and interesting. On the other hand, if they spent little time, Google assumes that the information provided was irrelevant or not applicable to the user and the search query.
The only way to increase the page dwell time is by creating relevant, insightful, and exciting content. This will automatically leave a positive impact on the user metrics and boost the overall search rank.
UX Design Factors
Above, we have covered some primary user metrics that affect SEO rankings. Each of these metrics can be made effective by focusing on improving UX designs. Here are some practical ways of doing so:
Page Speed / Load Time
According to Google, the average time for a mobile landing page to load is 22 seconds. However, most visitors will leave a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds. This will result in a higher bounce rate, negatively affecting search rankings.
Page load speed can be affected by many factors, some within your control and others not. For example, the low speed could result from the user’s internet connection and not the business’s fault.
Create a User-Friendly URL Structure
It’s all about the clicks. Getting organic website visitors to convert is the primary goal of search marketing. That conversion can be many different activities from joining a mailing list to buying your product, but all of them encourage more clicks.
Headers and Menus help make a website page look less cluttered, neat, and efficient
The presence of a confusing and inefficient interface is difficult for the user as it makes it difficult to navigate and find relevant content.
Incorporate clean menus on the website for easy navigation for the user, especially for those constrained by time.
Make Your UX Design Improve Your SEO
One of the most integral parts of any SEO strategy is User Experience Design. It has a significant impact on the overall ranking through user engagement metrics employed by Google in its search algorithms.
With an improved and effective UX design, one has better user metrics, which results in improved search ranking, audience retention, and the brand’s overall credibility.
Content Creation for User Experience
Every user that visits a website is looking for quality content. Therefore, you must understand what your user is looking for and what they wish to accomplish before creating any content.
Do this by asking questions on Google and see which one ranks the highest, then write content to answer the top most ones.
What's a Better Answer?
Website users always seek answers that show them what they are looking for, how, or why. Such can be guaranteed by providing easy-to-understand answers, images, and graphical representations of the solutions.
Create each solution with the user in mind.
Natural Language Processing
Recently, Google introduced breakthroughs such as Bert and Rank Brain that help decipher the exact answers people are looking for. This uses a machine that learns to provide accurate answers based on what is provided on a web page.
With these breakthroughs, a user gets more than just the keywords as an answer to their query. Google is key to matching every question with the correct answer.
For a website to rank higher, one must strive to provide the exact answers that users are in search of.
Web Page Experience
It’s not easy to measure the overall user’s experience on a particular page or site using Core Web Vitals provided by Google.
For a website to have a good user experience, it must optimize all its pages, ensure that its site provides fast downloads, and finally, take time to read content to gauge what the users are receiving. That way, they can measure the overall feel of their user by what they feel.
How to Create a Better Web Page Experience
Here are some practical ways that you can create a better web experience for your users:
- Provide quality content that answers the users’ questions. Use small paragraphs and short sentences.
- Make use of bullet points and lists to explain different ideas
- Use relevant images and graphs for illustrations
- Use optimized images that are less than 100 kilobytes
- Conduct regular tests on your pages using different mobile devices
- Please make use of easy URLs and keep improving them from time to time
- Use heading tags often and meaningfully
- Rethink the use of sliders
- Minimize use of scripts, whether a third party or Java
Acknowledge & Mirror Your Site Visitors
When creating web pages, make sure that they mirror the image of the regular customers.
Be diverse and careful when choosing images that only reflect your liking or cultural orientation. Instead, make it as comfortable as possible for every segment.
How Does User Experience Impact SEO?
There is no better way of building popularity with users than creating a relevant and frictionless site. That way, you are guaranteed that they will share their experience with other users, increase page views and attract links. Such become building blocks for good search performance.
Can UX Have a Negative Effect on SEO?
Fortunately, UX has no negative impact on SEO; rather, UX Affects SEO positively by focusing on the user’s satisfaction.
5 Fundamental User Experience Tips to Improve Your SEO
If you use Magento’s open-source PHP-based ecommerce platform, we can work to improve your SEO. We are experienced in working with Magento’s framework and adding the best ecommerce SEO elements without any issues.
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1. Simplify Your Site's Navigation
We can accomodate your commerce SEO no matter which platform or software you are using without any issues. We have experts that know how to customize traditional SEO to your ecommerce platform without any disturbances to your website’s functions.
2. Utilize UX Design to SEO-friendly Layouts
Designs are a perfect way for a user and company’s products to interact and communicate. Well-thought designs that leverage headers, videos, images, call to action, and links to other related content will always support usability and generate traffic.
3. Harness Search Data to Inform Site Architecture
Have pages that leverage both usability and SEO. Keywords and search data are essential aspects of SEO, but they do not make a difference unless both are used effectively. Therefore, a website should focus on having quality work over quantity.
4. Optimize for Site Load Speed
One of the highest-ranking signals on most websites is the site speed. A fast website will consistently be ranked higher by Google, whether in their search or Ads. If a website takes longer to load, it will affect the user engagement metrics and the business’s overall performance online.
5. Ensure Mobile Responsiveness
Every Tech-Savvy designer is now prioritizing having designs that are mobile responsive. The lack of mobile responsiveness will automatically compromise the overall experience and satisfaction for the user. Websites should be accessible whether by phone or tablet, failure to which the user engagement metric will perform very poorly.