What is UX?
UX is short for user experience, and it refers to a user’s experience of the product or service that they are being offered. Technically, UX can refer to how a user experiences any product (even physical ones), for example, lying down on a comfortable bed to decide whether it is cozy enough or not. However, in terms of SEO, it refers to engaging with interactive services offered online. An example of such a service is a web store. How these products and services make you feel, what emotions do they spark in you, and what is your attitude after consuming them – the answers to all these questions are part of your UX.
Is UX the same as usability?
Usability touches on the more technical and functional aspects of UX. How user-centered a particular service is can be used to measure its usability. If users find it incredibly easy to navigate through your e-commerce website, read product descriptions, and order what they are looking without any hassle, then your website will be considered as being very usable or user-friendly. However, UX is broader, and also includes aspects such as the aesthetics of your website, how users perceive it, and how well it can capture the interest of potential clients.
Simply put, usability is a part of UX.
Why is UX important for SEO?
Google is continually experimenting with search engine algorithms and updating them to meet search requirements accurately. In an attempt to provide the best possible results, Google has recently been more drawn towards websites with a high-quality UX. The best answer to a search query must not only answer the question well but must also offer the best UX too. Hence, if there are two websites and both cater to a user’s search equally, then Google will prefer the site that has a better UX. Poorly organized and messy websites with weak security will not be rated well by Google, even if they offer exceptionally well-researched information.
Reimagining websites as restaurants
Think of websites as restaurants. It is no longer enough to serve your customers with delicious food. You must go to lengths and treat fine-dining as an experience. To satisfy clients, you need to have an incredibly friendly and responsive wait staff, soft lighting, aesthetic interior décor, calming music, and an overall pleasant ambience.
Similarly, your website needs to tie together UX aspects such as visual design, text, layout, sound, and interaction. Coordinating these elements together is vital to offering high-quality UX to visitors.
Understanding the relationship between UX and SEO
UX and SEO are like two pieces of a puzzle that fit well together. A website that focuses on UX targets users as soon as they arrive on the landing page itself and begin interacting with the site by clicking, scrolling, and navigating through the content available. In turn, SEO responds to a high-quality UX by rewarding it with a higher search engine ranking. If your website is not SEO-friendly, then you will not be able to generate a substantial amount of traffic!
Strategies and tips
Wondering how to boost your UX to climb up the search engine ranking ladder? Here are some strategies and tips to get you started:
- Responsive web design. A responsive website is capable of making dynamic changes to its layout based on the user’s viewing preference, such as screen size, screen orientation, and device. Not optimizing your website will earn you negative points from search engine algorithms. Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open-source project that helps you create fast-performing websites across all devices and platforms.
- Improve client retention. Make users want to stay longer on your website before they bounce off. Monitor the length of the average session for your website, and experiment with your website’s tools to improve it. Add infographics and visual aids, make call-to-action buttons are clearly labelled, and a homepage link on every page. You want a landing page that is neatly organized and does not overwhelm the user.
- Improve page speed. Along with website speed, mobile site speed has now become an SEO ranking factor for UX. The Google PageSpeed Insights tool can help you learn more about how to optimize your website’s speed. For example, solutions may involve minimizing HTTP requests, compressing image sizes, using lazy load for images, enabling a CDN, and reducing redirects.
How does Google see UX?
While the complete details of how Google judges your website’s UX is not public information, SEO experts have a fair idea. Google uses several different metrics to make an educated guess about your UX. These criteria include site speed, mobile-friendliness, internal linking, external linking, and how well structured your content is. It also measures user signals such as how often people visit your site, how long do they stay before clicking off, and whether or not they return to your website.
Unsurprisingly, the factors listed above are crucial for both excellent UX and advanced SEO. Overall, a positive website experience is the best way to guarantee a high search engine ranking.