UX and SEO – How to Use the Two to Rank in SERPs
User Experience (UX) is crucial when it comes to your website's success and, by extension, your business.
If you're still debating whether UX has any impact on your business's performance, here are a few stats to think about;
- 88 percent of users are less likely to revisit your website if they didn't like the experience. (TopTal)
- 40 percent of people are not willing to wait for more than 3 seconds for your website to load. (Think with Google)
- 39 percent of users will stop engaging with your content if images take too long to load. (Inc)
- Visitors are 5 times more likely to leave your website if you haven't optimized it for mobile.(Google)
- Every $1 invested in user experience yields $100 – that’s an ROI of 9,900 percent.
On top of that, UX is one of the main Google ranking factors.
In essence, this means that your website's user experience has to be on point to stand a better chance of ranking high in SERPs.
In this post, we take a close look at UX, its relation to SEO, and how you can combine the two to make sure that your site appears on top of search engines.
What is UX?
User Experience is how a person feels when interacting with a system.
The system could be a website, software, an app, and so on.
Note - In this context, we'll confine ourselves to UX in regards to your website.
When a person lands on your site, how do they feel? Are they excited? Are they going to read down your copy and convert into buying customers?
Is the content on your website answering the question a visitor is seeking answers for? Or will the person frown and leave in haste never to return?
Why Is UX Important?
A positive user experience is what will keep visitors coming back to your website.
It is what creates repeat customers who then convert into brand loyalists.
UX is important because it takes users through the value journey from awareness to conversion.
What Makes a Great UX?
A user will interact with your product differently. This means that UX will differ from one person to another.
Still, one thing is essential if you want to create a great user experience for everyone – you must provide answers.You have to offer solutions to a user's pain points.
Why is UX Important for SEO?
User experience should be at the core of your SEO campaign.
…because Google and other search engines want to show a user the best solution to their problems.
You might have the best answer, but if your UX isn't up to par, you'll struggle to rank high in SERPs.
Let's say you're looking for the answer to "what is content marketing."
Google wants to show the best, most comprehensive answer as fast as possible.
Therefore, if your site to be number 1 for this query, you have to provide an excellent answer.
How Can I Improve UX for My Website?
We've established that UX and SEO go hand in hand.
The next question becomes
How can you deliver a five-star user experience without affecting the rest of your SEO tactics?
7 Best UX and SEO Practices
#1 Keyword Research
You have to get your keyword correct before you start to create content. You must know what questions your target audience wants answers for.
Here's what you should have in mind about keyword research.
Your Target's Language
People use different languages to look for answers online. By language, we mean "variation of words."
You must understand your user's language to help you nail your keyword research. Ask yourself if there's another term your potential customers may use to look for your product or service.
Remember that most people looking for answers online are not industry insiders and may not know "official" words used to describe what they're looking for.
A user may type a specific question in search engines but is looking for something entirely different from the apparent meaning.
For instance, a user may Google the phrase "best steel toe boots" while he/she is looking for "best steel toe boots for standing all day."
The point here is that you want to ensure that your keyword matches a user's search intent as accurately as possible.
Your quest to find the right keywords starts with using the right keyword research tool
#2 Optimize your Page Speed
Users want answers fast.
Your website's loading speed is essential when it comes to creating a positive user experience.
Remember, over 3 billion people are using mobile devices, allowing them to access content on various platforms.
Whether a user is browsing your website on their smartphone or watching Television on their tablet, they want to access what they're looking for quickly.
When they don't get it, they bounce. A slow website, therefore, is a recipe to trigger impatient users to find faster alternatives.
An extra five seconds of page load time can increase your site bounce rate by 20 percent. Yes, speed is that essential.
Here's how to make sure that your website loads quickly.
Compress your Image
Bulky images take longer to load.
Consider saving your images in "light" formats such as jpg, BMP, and gif. There are a host of online image compression tools that you can use without affecting your photos' quality.
Choose a Hosting Company Carefully
All web hosts aren't the same.
Whenever possible, go for a dedicated server instead of shared hosting.
Dedicated servers come in handy if you own a large website with tons of traffic.
You can also change your hosting plan as your site grows to handle the upsurge of traffic.
Side Note – Google has a free service that can help you determine your page speed. It will even offer suggestions on what to do to increase the speed both on desktop and mobile.
Other ways to increase load speed include;
- Enable browser caching
- Optimize CSS delivery
#3 Use Enticing CTAs
Indeed, users want answers, but you have to entice them to click through to your website.
Therefore, you need to be creative with your call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Users like to follow visual cues and are likely to click on a clearly marked CTA.
Besides, attractive CTAs make it easy for people to navigate your website.
Does the color of your CTA buttons matter?
As surprising as it may sound, yes, it does.
A Maxymiser study recorded an 11 percent increase in the checkout section of their Laura Ashley website when they tested a variation of colors and action messaging.
Different colors trigger different messages. When choosing a color for your CTA buttons, think of one that will evoke trust.
The words you use on your CTAs are crucial too. The words should include a mix of an action word and a verb.
The idea is to make sure that you’re exciting users to take action. Plus, you want to trigger emotions. The words that you use on your CTA buttons should be timely, bold, and action-oriented.
A good example of a CTA that combines all of these aspects is this one by Starbucks.
This ad contains nature-focused imagery and colors of the spring. The “Swipe to Try” CTA prompts users to get their hands on Iced Matcha Green Tea Latte, which happens to be a new flavor.
Others things to consider if you want people to click through to your website include;
For starters, a meta description appears after your site’s URL in search results.
An ideal meta description should be between thirty and three hundred characters. You only need to make sure that the essential info appears on the first three hundred characters.
A title tag is a clickable link that appears in search results.
The limit of a title tag is 70 characters, so you must choose your words carefully. Provide all the essential information to make a user want to click on the link and learn more.
Keep Users on your Website
Getting people to click through to your website is one thing, but making them stay on it is entirely different.
Your visitors are in a hurry. The sooner they get what they’re looking for, the better the experience. This implies that you have to figure out how to keep visitors on your site and look around.
You have to show users that they didn’t make a mistake by clicking on your title tag or Meta description. You want to keep engaging them until they click on your CTAs.
Here’s how to do it;
Be Creative with your Logo
Your logo should be memorable and attractive. After all, it is one of the first few things a user will see when they land on your website.
The logo should grab the user’s attention and give them the cue to look around your site.
Visitors will look at the header on top of your page to confirm if the content answers their questions.
Therefore, you should make sure that the title tag is in H1 and, most importantly, a continuation of the message in your title tag.
Put differently; your title tag should reinforce your title tag’s message.
It shouldn’t be hard for a user to move from point A to B throughout your website.
Your pages should be easy to scan with the relevant headings. You should place your CTAs strategically and evenly spaced.
Pro Tip – Be sure to include keywords in your title boost SEO.
Search engines focus on headings over the content. So, when your title is right, you will improve your site’s search ability significantly.
Tilde is an excellent example of well-thought-out headings, whose message is consistent with content.
#4 Optimize Your Content
One of the best ways to combine UX and SEO is to optimize your content.
Valuable content allows you to answer your visitor’s questions. The quality of your content will determine if a user will click the CTA and convert into a customer.
To get the best results, make sure that your content focuses on a specific need, and offers the best possible solution.
Each page should have a clearly defined goal. Be sure to use your target keywords in a way that increases your site’s visibility.
Apart from optimizing your content, make sure that you’re using a lot of white space. According to CrazyEgg, white space around your titles and text increases user attention by up to 20 percent.
White space gives your website a fresh feel. It makes the site look modern. It is essential to mention that if your content takes up a significant amount of space, so make sure that your website is easy to scroll.
Pro Tip – If you’re going to use a lot of white space, make sure that you place the most valuable information at the top of your content.
You don’t want people to keep scrolling down a page for too long before finding what they’re looking for.
#5 Use Bullet Points to Highlight Important Information
People want to skim through your content and get to the part that solves their problems quickly.
They want to know the key features of your product or service without wasting a lot of time.
You’re not going to give people what they want by using a continuous block of text. You should break it down in small, easy to understand bits.
Bullet points are super useful in making your content easy to consume. They’re also ideal if you want to draw attention to specific sections of your content.
According to Copyblogger, bullet points come in handy when you want to keep things brief. Think of it as a strategy to help you to cut to the chase and go directly to your point.
Look at how Harrison Baron is using bullet points to highlight the details of his LinkedIn Masterclass course.
Take note of the white space surrounding the bullets to help the users focus on the points.
#6 Use Images Cleverly
Users are getting and choosy about websites they want to browse. They will glance at your page and decide to move on to the next site in a second.
Therefore, the last thing you want to upload on your site is a generic image all over the place.
Make no mistake about it – there's nothing wrong with using royalty-free stock images. But if you want to stand out, you have to do things differently, especially if you're after brand recognition.
Spectrum, a moving company based in New York City, found that its conversion increased when it replaced a stock image with that of employees.
The conversion was even higher when they added photos of moving trucks.
Takeaway? Even though stock images can help pass the message, you're better off using original photos, especially if you want to establish a connection between users and your brand.
The point is that a stock image will struggle to pass your brand's message the way you want it.
You should also place your images strategically within the content. That way, you will give users a visual break from the text.
Here's an example from HubSpot showcasing real images versus stock photography.
#7 Keep Testing
It will help if you keep making small tweaks from time to time to determine what changes offer the best user experience.
Your target audience's needs may vary from time to time, so you have to be flexible with things such as your website's design.
Improving UX is a learning process. You will make mistakes from time to time. Some tactics won't work. Others will take longer to deliver results.
The most important thing is to keep learning and improving what's already working to give even better results.
When looking for ways to improve UX, ask yourself what you want to achieve with your website or pages.
What do you want users to do once they land on your site? Do you want them to buy your products or services? Or, do you want them to read through your informational articles?
The purpose of a specific page or website should be your primary consideration when making tweaks to improve user experience.
Your content and the website design are essential as well. The long and short of it is that you will create a better UX if you determine your site's goal from the get-go.
The best part?
When your UX is on point, you will improve your rankings – and that's good for business.
Over to you!
Tuesday, June 30, 2020