It seems that using user experience as a ranking factor when it comes to SEO often causes confusion and discussions due to the difficulty of accurate UX measurement. It’s indeed rather impossible to guess what some users will find intuitive and user-friendly when they stumble upon your website.
You do have user behaviour to go by, but the number of clicks, actions are taken, and pages visited all can be viewed as a surface indicator, since you can’t really tell how the users perceive the UX of your site through numbers only.
On the other hand, you can’t do much in the online market without putting your best effort into your site’s UX. After all, some of the most crucial SEO ranking factors have everything to do with different aspects of user experience.
Even though it might be difficult to generalise your website design for a perfect browsing experience for everyone, your goal should still be the best possible browsing experience you (and your team) can imagine. Without this crucial factor, you’ll be losing valuable leads and potential customers who would simply leave your site.
The following User experience elements are paramount for an improved SERP ranking, and it would do your business good to make the most out of them.
You can’t expect people to stick around your business website if you don’t give them a reason to. In that respect, you must provide them with value through meaningful content. Essentially, people will mostly click on your website to obtain the most important information about your business or your products/services.
If you fail to put that information somewhere easily visible or intuitively clickable, users will simply pass you by and go to another business that has all the necessary information featured in their design.
Not to mention that the abundance of well-researched content in the form of blogs is bound to attract the users and make them stay on your website for a while longer. The longer users spend on your website, the better chances you have to boost your ranking.
As mentioned, you can’t proceed much further without the adequate content on your website. But in order to make the most out of the content, you should boost it with an attractive design.
After all, no one will enjoy browsing your site or reading your content if you only have blocks of texts with no rhyme or reason stacked against overly bright (or bland) colours. In that respect, how you use your colour palette, text distribution, typography, design elements such as borders and bullet points, images, and so on will all become a part of an immersing UX.
Don’t forget that design is part of your branding, and you should definitely put some effort into creating a recognisable and aesthetically pleasing website presentation.
Keep in mind that we live in a digital age and busy society that wants a quick and satisfactory browsing experience. This is why a lot of people will go online via their portable devices such as smartphones and tablets instead of the regular desktop computers.
The fact of the matter is, a website won’t just look the same on smaller and vertical screens of portable devices as it does on desktops. Therefore, you must employ mobile optimisation as a part of your website design and user experience if you want users to enjoy your website, and browsers to even consider you for a higher position in the SERPs.
Your website loading speed is also a big part of UX and an actual ranking factor. After all, people have broadband Internet access, and they’re used to having a page load almost immediately.
Actually, if your page takes longer than just 2 seconds to load, chances are your potential customers will simply give up and move on to the next search result. This is an essential ranking factor in SEO, together with the browsing experience you’re providing to your target audience.
These days, people understand that you need to pay for running your website and get income through ads and promotions. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll appreciate a bunch of ads and promotions cluttering your website or even obscuring the information they’re trying to access. This can be very annoying, and it’s considered one of the main design flaws.
Necessarily, overcrowding your website with ads will only make the users click away as soon as they possibly can, which will lower your site’s User experience considerably, and consequently lead to a lower SEO rank as well.
Making the whole experience of users’ browsing time better is crucial for boosting your SEO and rank. And the best way to do so is through UX again, with engaging chatbots and videos. After all, everyone is looking for an engaging experience online nowadays.
Thanks to interactive chatbots and fun, easy-to-understand videos, you’ll be able to deliver your brand’s message and the essential information to the visitors quickly and efficiently, in a fun and exciting fashion. This will automatically make you more memorable in the users’ minds and will help you rise in the ranks in the SERPs consistently.
It’s easy to disregard the importance of UX as a ranking factor in SEO when it doesn’t provide you with 100% reliable reports and clear-cut data. However, this is why UX is the most underrated ranking factor in SEO.
Without putting all your efforts into boosting the user experience of your website, you’ll be missing out on a crucial opportunity to attract visitors and ultimately convert them. Without a constant flow of traffic and action on your website, you can’t expect any significant movement upwards in the SERPs either.
By Michael Deane
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle, or catch up with him on Twitter.