How To Align UX and SEO To Achieve Desired Results?
Generally, when people talk about search engine optimization, they refer to keywords, link-building, and content creation. However, SEO is far beyond these ranking factors. Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo use numerous other underrated parameters to identify, crawl and index a web page.
Today, we’ll discuss in detail about one such parameter, i.e., User Experience/ UX and SEO. How is UX related to SEO? What are the critical design elements of UX design? How does it impact the company’s SEO goals?
So, without beating around the bush, let’s get started.
What Is UX?
UX, or User Experience, is a fairly common term in SEO and web design. Yet, not many people are well-versed in its apt meaning.
Typically, UX is referred to as how the target audience interacts with the website, application, or other digital product, thereby significantly impacting the user’s reaction toward the brand. The user often evaluates their experience based on the following parameters:
- Ease of Use
- General impression
Origin of UX: In the 1990s, Don Norman, a co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, first used the word “user experience.” According to him, “User experience” includes all facets of the end user’s interaction with the business, its services, and its goods.
What Is UX Design?
Nowadays, UX is often followed by the term “design.” UX design includes characteristics that make digital and physical products functional and practical. Ensuring your website is user-friendly requires essential steps like prototyping and user testing. In fact, in Peter Morville’s UX honeycomb, the desired qualities are further elaborated as follows:
- Usability: The design should be easy to use, simple and acquainted.
- Findability: Offering quick solutions to possible problems.
- Desirability: The design aesthetics should be attractive and encourage users to interact.
- Credibility: The brand must be trustworthy and transparent.
- Usefulness: The digital product must cater to the target audience’s needs and add value to their everyday lives.
In essence, it would not be wrong to say that user experience is the key to enhancing brand-consumer interactions and one of the most pivotal steps in having a great user experience is creating a UX research plan. One of the best ways to learn how to create a thorough UX research plan is by taking design courses by UXcel. Thereby, with every algorithm update Google (and other search engines) emphasizes the website UX.
An ideal example to look out for in this scenario would be Google’s Rankbrain update.
It is the third most significant ranking factor. Rank Brain provides information to Google on whether users are having a good time using your website by focusing on bounce rate, organic Click Through Rate (CTR), pages per session, and dwell time.
Simply put, if a user can easily navigate between pages, click on your links, spend a significant amount of time on your pages, and visit your site often, it means the site is user-friendly.
On the flip side, Google will know that your site is either poorly optimized or irrelevant to your users if:
- A person leaves your site without taking any further action,
- Immediately returns to the search results after landing on a page,
- It has a high bounce rate.
Additionally, you can read about some of the important SEO KPIs.
How Does Google Perceive UX?
UX and SEO often go hand in hand. If we have to bifurcate the UX as a ranking factor from Google’s perspective, it’ll include the following:
According to Statista’s report, mobile search accounts for nearly half of the global web traffic. Exact figures for the second quarter of 2022 show mobile devices, excluding tablets, produced 58.99 percent of all website traffic worldwide.
The report further states the reason behind the surge in mobile traffic: “Mobile users are more likely to do local searches than those who use laptops or desktop computers. Rather than extensive subject pages, mobile searches are often done with simpler data results in mind, such as sports scores.”
Therefore, you’ll be addressing the user’s needs by optimizing your website for handheld devices (mobile or tablet). This will eventually assist your SEO tactics by boosting mobile conversion rate, better user engagement, and enhanced brand visibility. As a result, the site will rank higher on SERPs.
Defining what quality content is from a reader’s perspective is a pretty daunting task. It is because, to some target readers, a piece of information can turn out to be helpful, while others might already have that knowledge.
However, a writer must establish a balance to ensure every reader gains valuable insights from your site. At the same time, ensure that Google finds the information unique and user-friendly.
To attain this goal, it is critical that you focus on the readability of the content published. Here’s how:
- Keep the end user in mind while writing.
- Format the content well (include pointers, subheadings, pictures, statistics, and more.)
- Use an active voice.
- Check the grammar and spelling.
- Write short yet to-the-point paragraphs.
All these parameters will ensure that readers find your content easy to understand and useful.
Your site’s layout or architecture significantly affects visitors. It is because the majority of them use the navigation menu to discover the desired page (About us, services, or contact). For this reason, you must make your website’s navigation uncomplicated.
- Have a compelling CTA,
- Add a search box
- Provide clearly labeled categories
- Accessible home page.
In addition, make sure that no more than four clicks separate any page from the homepage.
In addition, make sure that no more than four clicks separate any page from the homepage. To make this task more straightforward, you can create use case diagrams to visualize the different ways users will interact with your website.
Did you know that even a 1-second delay in page load time can result in an 11% reduction in page views? Moreover, it negatively affects the conversion rate, retention rate, and of course, UX.
For this reason, Google started the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) program. This serves streamlined, incredibly fast versions of web pages directly from search results; thereby, the sites load seamlessly.
Some other methods you can use to improve your website’s speed:
- Choosing a reliable hosting plan
- Use high-quality yet compressed images
- Reap the benefit of browser caching
- Restrict auto-play multimedia formats
- Invest in the content delivery network
Note: As long as the site’s content is relevant, you can rank on SERPs even if not mobile optimized. However, it will surely have a few cons. Therefore, it would be for the best to follow the trend and consider the factors given above.
5 Design Element To Include In Your Website For Effective UX SEO
1. Format Your Text
In this era, people do not often have time to read complete pages or blog posts, even if the writing matches all the parameters. Instead, they skim it and concentrate on the interesting elements. That’s why you should focus on text formatting.
The purpose of text formatting is to make it easier for readers to find what they’re looking for in a sea of information. When done correctly, formatting aids in establishing the text’s hierarchy and makes it nearly effortless for readers to understand the primary and secondary content.
Even so, It’s not as simple as it seems. For instance, when creating a website from scratch, an excellent sense of proportion is necessary, especially when choosing font and spacing sizes.
On the other hand, if you try a CMS (Content Management System Platform), all formatting styles will be predefined. So you just need to choose a ready-made template for your site.
Furthermore, you should be careful of how you visually highlight various text areas in terms of SEO. Using HTML tags or CSS styles, you can format text on websites.
Note: CSS styles can be used in any situation. However, HTML elements are semantic markups and have special significance for search engines.
2. Images And Illustrations
As you might already know, pages without images or any visual aesthetic, for that matter, look monotonous. Therefore not UX and SEO-friendly.
You can use free vector images to demonstrate the points you make in blog articles, highlight the items in your online catalog, or improve the aesthetics and persuasiveness of your sales pages. Obviously, depending on your objectives, you could wish to incorporate illustrations, screenshots, infographics, diagrams, and more.
Images, however, add weight to pages and slow down a site’s loading time. Therefore, adding photographs purely for aesthetic reasons would not be recommended. Every image you include should benefit the SEO user experience. For this purpose, you can:
- PNG, JPEG, or GIF file formats.
- Customize image names
- Use <img srcset=”” src=”” alt=””> syntax
- Include alt=”” and title=”” attributes to <img> tags
- Compress the images before uploading.
Tip: If you use someone else’s picture, make sure to give them credit to avoid copyright infringement.
3. Social Proofs
Last but not least, you can utilize social proof to aid UX and SEO. You may, for instance, display your present customer base’s size and well-known spotlight patrons or include testimonials from them.
Additionally, you can display any badges, trust seals, certifications, and ratings you have obtained from reputable review sites and advisory firms.
As a matter of fact, testimonials and customer reviews are the social proof components that appear the most persuasive to potential customers. A carousel with quotes from your clients outlining how your business aided them is the quickest technique to add them to your website. One of the most effective ways to make sure that the testimonials and reviews on your website are customer-focused and efficient is by incorporating valuable information that you have collected through a UX research plan.
By including your clients’ images and links to their social media pages, you can make your testimonials seem more appealing and convincing.
You can also take it a step further and document brief videos on customer success stories or testimonials. Blend these video testimonials with quote excerpts and complement them with links to relevant case studies to make your customer page genuinely stunning.
4. Language Switcher
You must localize your website and add a language switcher if it caters to multiple nations or a multilingual nation. In fact, you’ll need this capability even if your website recognizes languages automatically based on the user’s locale or browser settings.
This basic yet crucial page component could appear in your website’s header or footer. Or both solutions are acceptable, as long as you ensure it’s incredibly simple to find. (Language switchers are frequently found as a menu item in the primary navigation on mobile devices.)
If you wish to outshine your competitors, you can include specific language buttons, links, or a toggle. It will come in handy if your website has two language versions. A drop-down menu will help you conserve space on your website if it contains three or more variants. Nevertheless, ensure that languages are labeled correctly; for instance, use Deutsch instead of German and 日本語 for Japanese.
Word of Caution: Avoid using flag icons. It is because it causes confusion among users. For instance, the millions of people who speak Portuguese and live in more than 10 countries might feel offended if the Portuguese flag were used to represent the language. It will not be a great option if the website or content is customized for the target audience.
5. Header And Footer
The creative business and consulting logo or website name, as well as the key functions that should be easily accessible from any page, including the search bar and site navigation, are typically included in website headers.
Additionally, sticky headers are common on websites, keeping the primary links or contact details visible even as users scroll down the page.
Traditionally, headers used to be very large and packed with data. On the first screen, they would occasionally take up as much as one-third of the vertical space. However, mobile design has had a significant impact. Today’s site headers typically have a modest logo and one line of navigation, hardly occupying one-sixth of the screen.
While headers have shrunk, the opposite has happened to footers. Initially narrow, website owners now frequently develop gigantic footers, also known as fat footers. These footers contain links to as many pages as they can, such as social network icons, contact information, and sign-up forms for newsletters.
You can adapt the style, but keep one thing in mind. People adore consistency. The ideal way to design footers is to anticipate what your visitors will want to see and provide it. For instance, if users are accustomed to finding links to privacy policies there, you should include a link to your sitemap in the footer.
Even so, having a loaded footer on a mobile device can be beneficial. UX designers learned that mobile users frequently scroll all the way down to the bottom by looking at mobile heatmaps.
This occurs as a result of how simple it is to scroll to the bottom of a page on a smartphone using the swipe-to-scroll feature. Because of this, footers on mobile devices receive virtually as much attention from consumers as headers on desktop screens, which provides you an excuse to include something helpful there
5 Things That Ruin UX
Regardless of the best efforts to understand and enhance the end-user experience, the following things often create a hindrance.
1. Excessive Site Downtime
Since your website serves as the face of your brand, it is a frequent point of contact that a customer has with you. Therefore, your business’s primary goal should be to keep your website accessible to clients at all times.
However, when a website is down -fully unreachable or incapable of serving its users’ needs- it has severe repercussions. It hurts a business as it results in unhappy customers, a damaged reputation for the brand, a low search engine ranking, and the loss of potential customers.
2. Lack of Image Alt-Text
Making your website user-friendly entails ensuring that ALL users can access it, including visually impaired people. Additionally, this solution provides accessibility that can help you with SEO.
For instance, by including descriptive image alt-text, you may aid search engines in accurately indexing your blog post and enhance the user experience for those who use screen readers. Let’s take an example of fashion apparel “jumpsuits for women.”
Simple alt text: <img src=”jumsuit.png” alt=”jumpsuit”>
Excellent alt text: <img src=”jumsuit.png” alt=”best seller jumpsuit for women”>
Not recommended alt text: <img src=”jumsuit.png” alt=” “>
Not having image alt-text makes the content fall short on different parameters. Hence, affects search engine optimization and user experience.
3. Neglecting User Intent
Not understanding what the user wants; instead, giving information that requires users to navigate through numerous pages just to get a single piece of information is likely to affect their experience. Pagination would be an excellent example of this.
Suppose you wish to read an article on SERP Tracking Tools. Instead of getting one blog that explains different tools, if you have to go through a slideshow to learn about the tool you want, it will affect your overall experience.
Similarly, tabbed content and Infinite scroll page formats do not consider the user’s intent in mind, thereby leading to high bounce rates and low conversions.
Tabbed Content: Customers land on the page that matches their search; however, the data they were looking for is in a different tab or hidden within a tab.
Infinite Scroll Page: There is no way to direct customers to their search as several subtopics are included on a single URL.
4. Poor Navigation
Why take a detour that will only prolong your journey if you can directly get from point A to point B? Does this make sense?
However, the issue is that some website owners and designers disagree.
They cram as many design elements as possible onto their websites in an attempt to make their site stand out. Unfortunately, they neglect to remove every extra design element that isn’t absolutely necessary for the website. The end result? These “creative” websites actually make it harder for visitors to find the information they need rather than making it more accessible.
Thus, the navigation gets unnecessarily complicated.
Of course, it is necessary to have an aesthetically pleasing website. Though, it does not mean that one should include every design element without considering the need for it.
5. Unavailable Call-To-Action
Imagine this; you eventually get on a website that sells the goods or services you’re looking for. You read the information about the products or services and decide whether they precisely meet your wants. However, when you are about to place your order, you can not find the company’s contact information. There isn’t a form to complete, a phone number, an actual location, or anything else.
Stating the obvious, it will create suspicion in your mind and restrict your future actions. Consequently, this causes the UX to collapse.
Likewise, even if the information is given, but the responses are not frequent, or customer support is below par, it is as good as downtime.
Wrapping It All Up
SEO UX is about constant trial and error. That means you’ll get to learn the elements that are great for your site and audience, as well as the ones that are negatively impacting the user experience.
Learning about such errors increases your chances of eliminating them at all costs and enhances the overall user experience.
What Is UX?
UX is referred to as how the target audience interacts with the website, application, or other digital product, thereby significantly impacting the user’s reaction toward the brand.
What Is UX Design?
UX is often followed by the term “design.” UX design includes characteristics that make digital and physical products functional and practical.
Does Ux affect SEO?
Is UX a Google ranking factor?
Yes, UX is a critical ranking factor for SEO.