Why good UX is important for SEO. Read time: 9 mins.
The dream of every website owner is to one day have their content on the first page of a Google search result. As a business owner, this will place your products and services in front of a wider net of potential customers. It also shows that your SEO efforts are paying off.
Everyone knows how important showing up on the first page of a Google search result is, but very few are willing to follow the process required to get to that point. Before your website can qualify for a high ranking in an organic search, there are a few technical factors you need to consider. These factors, if properly considered and implemented, will work to provide a good user experience for your visitors.
Google has consistently maintained that user experience is a strong signal for page ranking. Google’s job is to provide the best content to its users based on their behavior and what they want from a website. Therefore, before your website can qualify to rank highly for organic search, it has to be intuitive, easy to use, and accessible. This means that visitors should be able to get the information they need in very little time and with minimal stress. This is why website owners who want to capture or lead the market in their chosen niche would do well to make UX a critical part of their SEO efforts. After all, the idea is not to get one-time users to your website, but to ensure that visitors enjoy their visit so much that they are willing to come again, spend time browsing there, and become loyal customers.
As we go further, we will explore 4 reasons why UX is very important for the success of your SEO efforts.
1. Improves relevance.
Google search algorithm is a constantly evolving aspect of the internet. There is always a new update geared towards providing better content for search users. This is probably why Google has maintained the market leader role against other search engines over the years. There are a few criteria Google use to determine how to rank a website for organic search, some of them are:
- The relevancy of the page content to the search query
- The number of authority links to the page containing the content
- The amount of time the webpage takes to load, and
- The amount of time users spend on the website
While Google has not exactly publicized how each of these criteria are weighted, it is no secret that they all combine together to provide a good user experience for the visitor. For instance, if a website takes too long to load, a visitor will likely abandon the page and go look elsewhere for the information they seek. This means that if a visitor spends a considerable amount of time on a website, it is safe to assume that they have found what they were looking for, and got so engaged that they decided to explore the site further. This essentially confirms that user friendliness is a vital factor for page ranking.
2. Visual Appeal.
A few years ago, if your website didn’t have a lot of shockwave files and heavy graphics, then you were not ready to take on the market. But the days of these kinds of websites are long gone. Today’s internet visitors are looking for a website that can give them the information they need in the shortest time possible and with little effort. The layout, structure and navigation of the page will have a lot to say about how easy it is for your visitors to find what they want. It is one thing to have an attractive website, but it is much more important to have an attractive website that people actually want to visit.
Web Hosting experts suggest that a minimalist design with lots of white spaces that contrast nicely with the page content is the ideal way to engage visitors. Websites with positive first impression, good colors and design, easy to read content, easy to use navigation, and clearly defined call to action buttons will enjoy a high rate of conversion while websites that are not very user friendly will experience high bounce rates.
3. Builds authority.
In an offline business, it is easy to build customer trust, troubleshoot issues on the spot, and generally fix anything that goes wrong. You can easily see when a line is not moving, and quickly create new gateways to speed up the check out process. It is also easy to have a face to face talk with customers in order to find and resolve issues. For an online store or website, these personal touches are missing; there are not many opportunities to make a customer feel welcome except by providing a pleasant browsing experience. This is why when a website has usability issues, it affects the customer’s trust and contributes to bounce rates and cart abandonment. For instance, a slow-loading website will frustrate users and give a wrong impression of your business, even when it is not your fault.
A slow-loading and hard to use website causes users to underestimate the seriousness of your business. But when you have a website that meets user expectations in terms of functionality and usability, they tend to spend more time on it. When Google discovers that visitors spend more time on your website, they rate it as a credible source and this will help build the page ranking.
4. More conversion
SEO essentially involves directing the right people to your website, while UX is fundamentally about how these people interact with the website. Your website cannot succeed if one works in isolation from the other. When the right people are properly engaged by the right content and structure of your website, the end result is improved conversion. The engaging structure of your website is useless without the right people visiting it, and if the right people visit and see a poorly-crafted website, they will leave without making any commitment. This is why it is important that website owners measure the interaction of UX and SEO using Google analytics. Bounce rates, page visits, exit rates, behaviors, funnels, and heat maps are some of the data that can tell you how your website is coping with visitors. When you correctly interpret these data, you can learn where to make adjustments and adapt.
There are enough reasons to conclude that a well-designed website with excellent UX is good for SEO. If you feel you’re not getting enough returns on your SEO efforts, you may need to take another look at your website. Whatever you do, just ensure that your website is up to the current accepted marketplace standard and that it meets the expectations of your visitors.