What is User Experience and How Does it Affect SEO?
1st November 2021
In today’s competitive digital landscape, providing the best possible user experience on your website should be a top priority, rather than an optional extra.
Gone are the days when simply using the right keywords on your website was enough to deliver a high SEO ranking. If your SEO strategy doesn’t focus on user experience, you may be missing out on the opportunity to drive more traffic to your website and grow your business.
Adding user experience into your SEO strategy may feel daunting at first, but it is critical in order to build a great online brand and boost SEO ranking.
You may have heard the phrase ‘user experience’ or ‘UX’ before, but you might not be sure what exactly it is, or why it is so important. In this article, we’ll explain what user experience is, and why it should be a key part of your SEO strategy.
What is user experience?
User experience defines the overall experience of using a product. In our day-to-day lives we are constantly making decisions about a product or service based on our user experience. For example, an easy to use website will provide a good user experience, but a website that is difficult to use will result in a bad user experience.
No matter how good your products or services are, user experience will play a vital role in your success in gaining and retaining customers. The results of bad user experience can be extremely detrimental to the success of a business; over 88% of shoppers said that they wouldn’t return to a website after having a bad user experience.
What is user experience design?
Simply put, user experience design means putting the user at the front and centre of the design process. When it comes to website building, a user experience led process puts the needs of the user front and centre. It also involves taking your users feelings and emotions into account when using your website, and making sure that your website is engaging, useful and easy to use.
What is SEO?
When people go online to find a product or service, they are likely to be using a search engine. Since 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and 75% of users never click past the first page of results, a good SEO strategy is crucial to ensure a steady flow of traffic to your website.
SEO (search engine optimisation) is the practise of optimising your website to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your page. In order to rank highly in searches, search engine algorithms must identify your website as being ‘useful’ based on a range of criteria, and a successful SEO strategy involves optimising your website to better meet these requirements.
Today, user experience has become a key deciding factor that search engines use for SEO ranking. In 2021, Google announced that they would be starting to take user experience into account as an official ranking factor. There is no doubt that user experience will continue to play an even more important role in SEO ranking going forward, and therefore should be a key priority when it comes to website development.
How does user experience affect SEO ranking?
Like any business, Google prioritises the experience of its users, helping them to find the best information as quickly as possible. To do this, Google uses algorithms that rank websites in order of relevance for each online search. These algorithms use over 200 ranking factors when making a decision. These ranking factors increasingly take user experience of a website into account.
If you don’t want to fall foul of the search engine algorithms, make sure that user experience design is front and centre of your website development.
Common user experience pitfalls
1. Dwell time
One metric that Google measures is the amount of time spent on a page, known as ‘dwell time’. If users spend a long time on your website, Google takes this as a positive indication. On the other hand, if users are only visiting your website briefly before clicking off, Google would define a website as less useful.
You can improve how long users spend on your website by creating content that is interesting and engaging and making your website easy to navigate. By creating engaging content, users will spend more time on your website, improving our metrics and therefore your SEO ranking.
2. Site speed
Google has made it clear that site speed is a ranking factor. Simply put, you will be damaging your SEO ranking if your website takes a long time to load. Site speed can also have an indirect effect on your page ranking by decreasing dwell time, and negatively affect user experience leading to fewer conversions.
3. Mobile optimisation
Over 50% of all traffic is now driven by mobile search, so it’s no wonder that search engines are placing a lot of importance on mobile-friendly design. In 2015, Google added ‘mobile friendliness’ to its list of ranking factors. What this means in practice is that your website may not perform as well against competitors whose sites are better optimised for mobile users.
You can use free tools such as Google’s Mobile-Friendly test to see how your website measures up for mobile users.
How we can help
At Social Chameleon, we predict that as Google’s algorithms continue to become more sophisticated and attuned to the needs of its users, user experience will only become more important to SEO ranking. By considering user experience at every stage of website building, you can create a website that your customers will enjoy using and will want to return to, and in turn this will help you to reach more customers through that all important SEO ranking.
We are a full-service digital marketing agency, who have worked with hundreds of businesses across many industries to help them improve their SEO ranking – by putting user experience at the forefront.
Whatever your business goals, our experts can provide you with an SEO strategy to help you to stand out from the crowd. Find out how our expert team can help you today by getting in touch.