TL;DR — Understand the correlation between SEO and UX design — how it can help your website to rank higher in the SERPs. Also, find out what are the best practices that will yield the best result for your business and how to get the UX right…and more.
What goes behind Google and other search engine doors to rank your website? It would be an underplay to think that Google considers only a handful of these factors! There are at least a hundred of such ranking elements.
Based on these, the Google algorithm would determine the rank of your website. The critical question is, how can you deduce a factor that would work or not. Well, you wouldn’t.
So, What Can You Do? Work The Other Way Around…
Since Google continually updates its algorithms from time to time — it would not be productive if you optimise your website or mobile app, keeping Google at its centre.
One should instead go for a website or mobile app optimisation understanding’ human perception’. Yes, because it is people who use the search engines for data and information. And the search engine has one goal: to deliver fast and relevant results to its users. That is when the UX design comes in to play a vital role.
What Is UX & Why It Is Important For SEO
Simply put, UX Design is the way your product communicates meaningfully and provides relevant experiences to users. Of course, to deliver excellent user experience, your website or mobile app has to have a good number of link building and keywords in it.
However, SEO goes far away from this to aim for a better end-user experience. SEO targets search engines to rank your website superior or inferior, which determines the success of your website.
Let us understand the correlation between UX and SEO via a more familiar scenario. A user landing on your website is similar to the time when you get invited to a house-warming party. Would you consider the following few critical observable points such as,
- Was it easy to locate the address given on the invite?
- Were you able to engage with the interior design elements?
- Did you want to stay longer and experience more? or
- All of the above
First of all, it is quite clear that the address is the keyword through which one can hope to land at the correct place. Secondly, does your home encourage visitors to engage while also making it easier for them to roam around? And lastly, the most crucial point in the scenario is, do they wish to stay back and engage with your content?
Similarly, your website needs to be simple and easy to understand, seamless to navigate and provide a responsive design so that they can engage. Ultimately, this engagement leads to an increase in search rankings, drive more traffic, and boost conversions.
However, if your site does not fulfil the above requirements, then it is complicated, confusing, and deceiving the user by not providing what they want. In such cases, your website is bound to rank low since user experience is critical to Google. This proves that UX design plays an essential role in SEO campaigns.
The Common Motive of UX And SEO
Together they both help in the entire process to build design and brand the product to make it successful. While SEO leads a user to the content they desire, and on the other hand, UX design answers their queries as well as keeps them engaged.
Combining UX designers and SEO experts can lead you to maximise your profits through the right target audience and optimisation.
Thus, UX design and SEO share the same goals, and hopefully, the importance of UX in terms of search engine optimisation is now evident. However, it does leave to understand does SEO affect UX or vice versa does UX affect SEO? But before that, we will need to know how to get the UX right.
How to Boost Your Website Rank with UX Design?
Let’s find out what all changes you could implement to improve your website’s UX for better ranking in search engines.
1) Unify UX & SEO Strategy
Ensure that your UX and SEO strategies are aligned and supporting each other. While one works to bring in leads, the other helps in conversion. They both have an essential role to play, and hence their campaigns also need to work together as well.
2) Focus on Design Elements
Your design principles should fit right into your SEO strategy. Focus on detailing correct product names, descriptions, menu names, functionalities, H1 & H2 titles, and more (remember — we did say above there are hundreds of them.)
3) Responsive Web Design
Your website must be responsive and optimised to work across all platforms. If your web pages are hard to comprehend on desktop or mobile phones, and it is slow to load — your ranking on the search engines is badly going to affect.
4) Mobile-First Indexing
Mobile-first indexing means as it sounds. It primarily leads your mobile-version website to be the first point of referencing or indexing in Google as well as creates a baseline to determine rankings.
If the desktop and mobile version of your website are identical, then you don’t need to do anything. But if it is separate, then you’ll need to check content, hreflang, XML and media sitemaps, app indexation, server capacity, switchboard tags, search console verification, and social metadata.
5) Website Navigation
One easy step to rank higher in the search engine is to include a sitemap on your website. Users should be able to navigate your website intuitively, starting from your homepage. To improve site navigation, you can avoid multiple menu items, be descriptive, and add a search bar. With better navigation, you can generate more traffic and convert more in sales. Adding breadcrumbs is beneficial in that case.
With inappropriate navigation, customers can’t find what they want even if you have everything in your store, or we can say your online store(website). With proper navigation and internal linking, you can have better navigation for your users.
6) Content Placement & Strategy
The design of the content flow on your webpage matters the most. Everything from the navigation, headline, body content, graphics and visuals to footer and more has to solve a searcher’s query. There are times when websites might contain relevant information, but improper placement can make it hard to access or find it.
7) Web Accessibility
Google rewards pages that have high accessibility implementation. Web accessibility and search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about delivering relevant content to users. A few of the accessibility and SEO practices are listed below but not limited to:
- Provide descriptive link text
- Identify page language and content.
- Allow multiple ways to find content.
- Add useful links and relevant resources.
- Captions for videos
- Consistent navigation & page structure
- Write short, concise & memorable URLs
8) ADA Compliant
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures websites to be compliant with the standards of accessible design. It guides publishers and web authors to make their work more accessible to all, including users with disabilities. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) has created a set of accessibility majorly listed under the following four categories:
9) Page Loading Time
Three seconds and you lose a user if it takes more than that time to load your website. The speed and performance of your website have a deep connection when it comes to ranking factors. Moreover, the website loading speed determines the overall UX, and a few suggestions to optimise are listed below:
- Compress images to reduce the file size
- Optimise the code
- Change the server & reduce plugin use.
- Enable caching, so users re-visiting your site do not have to wait
Whether a user has good experience on the website or not is also determined by other metrics than the one stated above. Let us understand a brief about ‘Rankbrain. ‘
What Is Rankbrain & How Critical Is The Rankbrain Ranking Factor?
Rankbrain was brought into effect in 2015 and is considered the remarkable ranking factor to determine the SEO value of your website. It uses behaviour metrics such as pages per session, bounce rate, dwell time, and organic CTR.
If a user re-visits your website, spends much time, moves around with quick and easy navigation, indicates to Google, that the user is satisfied with overall UX design experience. However, if the user instantly goes back to the search result page suggests that he/she didn’t find the relevant information and can cause your website ranking to fall substantially.
Last but not least, there are few more strategies one could lay hands on to improve website ranking with UX Design and SEO. Let’s have a quick eye over them.
Strategies to revamp UX & SEO
1) Check Bounce Rate
The website abandoning reasons could vary from one to many. It could be the keywords not matching to the website’s content, the site is too slow to load, or an error on your site. To reduce the site’s bounce rate and bring it under the optimal of below 40%, follow these best practices:
- Add image alt tags
- Create multiple landing pages with different keywords for different visitors
- High-quality content with relevant keywords
- Organise content, use large fonts, good colour contrast
- A mobile-friendly site with a responsive theme
2) Monitor Avg Session Duration
Direct website visits, time spent on the site, and pages per session are supposedly the top things that affect your search results. Google Analytics (GA) account helps you to keep an eye on the data for boosting your site’s SEO.
You could try and test upon the following things if you happen to notice that users aren’t spending much time on your landing pages.
- Ranking keywords are not matching your product and services
- Make your CTAs (Call-To-Action) loud and clear
- Provide concise information on the landing page
- Users aren’t able to access the homepage from your landing page
Performing A/B testing at this moment will help you to analyse each element of your website by testing. These deductions can further help you to make informed data-driven decisions to accelerate and improve UX.
3) Clear Heading
The precise headings will guide search engine crawlers to understand the purpose of the website. Clear heading makes it simpler for your website visitors and search engines to understand the nature of your content.
It is advisable to use the H1 tag only once per webpage to state the prime focus of the page clearly. This will help crawlers to index the site and place it under the right category.
Before we conclude, for the advanced level, a few would also consider going in detail with On-Page Optimisation’ for content and user experience.
For the best optimisation result, one should find the load speed, relevant content, design, visual, responsive design, navigation, but more importantly, keeping the focus on the searcher’s intent.
Let’s say, for example, if someone wishes to take up an evening hobby class per se of cooking, dancing, meditation, etc. They would search online with the most probable keyword, i.e., “Evening Dancing Class in New York,” to get the relevant and nearby results. And simultaneously, you have a page optimised for “New York’s Best Evening Dancing Class” that should get you on SERPs. However, does the content and experience a user get answers to their query and leaves him satisfied after visiting your site? Does it answer basic questions like, Where is it located? What are the times? Who are your instructors? Is this the type of class that I would want to attend or learn? Is it conventional? Is it modern?
While carrying out the on-page optimisation, one should keep in mind to address 90% of a searcher’s intent when they query a phrase like “New York’s Best Evening Dancing Class.”
Few of the other activities such as ranking, visibility, links and link building, local SEO, keyword and keywords research, and many free SEO tools are a few of other equally important things.
It is quite clear that what you do with page design, content optimisation, and other things seen above is the utmost necessary to get past the traditional way of thinking about SEO.
In the end, all you need to take care of is to ascertain that users who come to the pages of your site are satisfied with all the information received.
Author Bio: Maulik Pandya is the founder & CEO of Evince Development — a software development agency committed to delivering innovative digital solutions. With over 8+ years of experience, Maulik has played a versatile role in development, marketing, and every other aspect surrounding web, mobile, and enterprise solutions.
Originally published at https://inkbotdesign.com.