The Internet is changing every day since it became available to everyone on the planet.
The evolution of people’s attention spans and their interests decreased making marketers work harder than ever before.
In these terms, getting people to buy from you, especially in the growing competitive landscape, can be difficult at times.
Now, in order to get people to find your website, you will need a good SEO strategy and user experience. And of course, don’t forget to take a long-term approach.
You probably now wonder how SEO and User Experience are related. And what they have in common.
Let’s dive deeper into both of them and find the bond that unites them.
What is User Experience and What is SEO?
If you are in the digital marketing world already, we suppose you know these terms and what they are all about.
If you’re just entering the digital marketing world and want to learn more about them, we will briefly describe them both.
User experience design focuses on understanding users and their behavior after which the goal is crafting websites, landing pages, and products to help users accomplish their goals in the easiest way possible in a shorter amount of time.
It also extends far beyond the “good-looking” website, as the “good-looking” website doesn’t necessarily mean a good user experience. With good UX design, websites, products, and landing pages not only look attractive but are also highly effective in bringing up more conversions. It also removes barriers between starting and ending points of the user journey.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Complex and comprehensive part of digital marketing, focusing not only on the discoverability of the website in search engine result pages but on the good user experience, too.
SEO’s main purpose is to optimize the website in such a way that it will be easily understood both by users and search engines.
Three main parts of SEO are:
- Technical SEO – Focused on the technical aspects of the website such as crawlability, speed, and other things affecting the website performance in terms of accessibility to users and search engines;
- On-page SEO – Focused on optimizing the content for specific terms and getting the website in front of the right audience;
Off-page SEO – Focused on building relationships with other websites through gaining links to your website aka link building.
How Are SEO and UX Related?
Believe it or not, UX plays an important role in SEO now more than ever in the history of search engines.
Firstly, let’s take a look at Google’s mission statement:
“Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Following this, you can assume that Google is focused on giving users the right information with the goal of providing relevant answers to their questions. We can expect that Google will be more demanding in terms of quality content, user experience, and of course word-of-mouth when evaluating pages to display in their search results.
Will UX Increasingly Affect SEO?
The answer to this question couldn’t be precisely given.
However, we can expect this to happen in the future. As it already started with Core Web Vitals and the so-called “Medic” update back in 2018.
How Does UX Affect SEO?
Let’s say that user behavior on your website is the thing that counts when evaluating SEO.
What can a bad user experience cause?
Angry and unsatisfied users. This later leads to a bigger bounce rate that can be interpreted by Google as something’s wrong with that website and instead of that page, it will rank higher pages that make users more engaged and gives them the answers they’re looking for.
What Can Affect the UX?
Well, we can sum it up in one word – anything.
User experience is also a comprehensive topic and requires a good understanding of users’ needs (as we mentioned before). But, the first step should be to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and try to understand them.
When you do this, explore your website and try to find the obstacles you are facing through your website exploration journey.
Is the content easily accessible? Could you find what you were looking for? Are colors and icons correctly used?
Why does all this matter? Let’s start with one simple example: traffic lights. The red color in the traffic light is used as a “Stop” sign, green is used to tell “You can go”. Use the same principle on your website, too. You don’t want to create the Accept button in red, you would rather create it in green, as it will encourage users to proceed further.
The same goes for icon use. When you see an X symbol somewhere on the website you will most likely think that’s the clickable button to close something. Now, if you put that symbol on the “Accept” button what will come to your mind first? You will probably get confused.
From these two examples, you can notice how small details can have such a big impact on user experience, so yes, you have to open all four eyes when working on UX. It’s good to involve more than one person to surf through your website and check each available part (if you have a QA tester in your team, even better).
Which SEO Factor is Affected by Bad UX?
If not correctly optimized, probably the first thing you will notice on the website is its speed.
What if your website takes too long to load? Well, unless you have something that really couldn’t be found on the internet and people desperately need that, you can get away with that.
But, we believe the chances are small for that to happen.
Instead of waiting, people will just get back and explore further and find what they are looking for on your competitor’s website. That’s a missed opportunity.
In the modern world where competition is rising each day, losing even one customer is a luxury you probably cannot afford.
Creating the main menu on the websites seems easy.
Just create main items, fill them with sub-items, and the job is done.
Well, not exactly.
Plenty of different factors play important roles in creating an effective and useful menu (and navigation) on the website that won’t make visitors frustrated or decrease the bounce rate.
Some of them are:
- Number of links,
- Bad website search.
What would you do if you enter the website and see too much content spread all over the page without any plan or design? Chances are you will get back and search further for the solution you’re looking for.
The same can happen to your website.
The website design has a huge impact on user experience, too, and if you miss this one, people will probably go to your competitors for their product even if you know that your product has better quality than theirs.
Also, the bad design can give away the impression that you don’t take your business seriously.
How to Improve SEO Through UX?
The first step should always be to analyze and understand your target audience before performing any changes to your website.
Things to consider when improving your website UX are:
- Using advanced search engines,
- Optimizing colors and icons,
- Improving website speed,
- Improving website design,
- Optimizing your content.
Now, let’s examine each of these steps.
Use the Advanced Search Extension
It’s great if you have good content on your website. However, if users are not able to find it, what’s its purpose then?
Or even worse, you have thousands of products, and users can’t find the product they want to buy, although you have it in stock. Frustrating for both sides.
Both cases can occur for multiple reasons like misspelled words, irrelevant results, etc.
We can agree that a few wrong letters are not worth losing another sale.
So, what’s the solution?
Using advanced search on your website. Advanced search options allow you to give relevant results in front of your visitors/customers in a matter of seconds and with very few or without any clicks.
For example, you can check Athena Search with advanced functionalities and the integrated machine-learning system that will give you relevant results in a few clicks and within a few milliseconds. Also, it’s suitable for both eCommerce and blog websites as well as with all eCommerce platforms out there, so make sure to check it out.
Check the Colors and Icons
Just remember the traffic light example from above.
Of course, each brand or website has its own color palette, but still, some things should be used wisely.
For example, you may have a few different colors in your color palette that exclude red and green colors. However, would you rather use black color for an accept button or a green one?
Logically, you will go with the green one as it looks more encouraging to users to perform certain actions.
But, this is just an example. While auditing your website design, you should go deeper and check each part. Even the tiniest detail may have an impact on the user experience.
Improve Website Speed
A lot of factors affect website speed, so start with a few scans to detect the most important issues affecting website performance.
If necessary, talk with your developers about code optimization, compress images, and use CDN if you don’t have one.
For example, you can use Cloudflare as it offers a free plan. If necessary, you can upgrade it later.
Audit Your Website Design
Your website look and feel are also important.
If elements are too close or hard to read (especially on mobile devices) the visitors will have a hard time understanding your website. As a result, you’ll get a huge bounce rate.
So, here are a few things to pay attention to:
- Fonts and typography – Don’t use too many different fonts or even typefaces. Choose one font and select 2-3 typefaces for each page. Also, try to keep it consistent and use the same font all over your website;
- Spacing and alignment – Is there enough spacing between different elements? If not, try to fix this problem. Each segment should be easily recognizable, too many tight elements create a bad user experience. Also, don’t put the text in the center unless there is only one sentence (eventually two);
- Accordance with your target group – The most neglected part of each website design in accordance with your target group. Not every target group wants the same website, colors, typography, etc. This is also important for websites available in multiple languages.
Optimize Your Content
Now, you may ask what content optimization has to do with the user experience. Well, it has got a lot.
First, people’s attention span today is about 8 seconds. And this number may continue to decrease over time.
Second, as there are a lot of available pieces of information online, people usually don’t have enough time to read each article from the first to the last word. Imagine reading a comprehensive guide of 9000 words, with an average reading pace. You would need about 1 hour to finish it.
Instead of that, people scan the content most of the time in an attempt to find the solution (or the answer) in the shortest time possible.
And yes, you can’t make people read the whole article you wrote, but at least you can get interested people to read as much as possible.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Don’t write paragraphs that are too long as the content will look too complicated. Keep the text short and concise or split long paragraphs into shorter ones, but make sure not to lose the context;
- Bold the most important parts. These parts will immediately catch the attention of your visitors as there may be the answer they are looking for;
- Use headings properly. The largest heading is always reserved for the title and as you narrow it further, each subheading should be differentiated from its parent topic.
What to Expect in the Future?
Google is changing each day and there is no doubt that user experience will have more and more impact on the SEO and website visibility.
Currently, all you can do is continuously optimize your website and improve user experience to keep your users engaged and more interested in your website content.
The more people enjoy your content or as long as it solves the problem of the customers, Google will recognize this and reward it with better search rankings.