The importance of User Experience for SEO
The importance of User Experience for SEO
In recent times, the User Experience (UX) topic linked to SEO has been very popular. The most frequently asked questions are: can the User Experience be a factor that determines the ranking on Google? How much does UX affect the ranking of sites on search engines? We try to answer these questions by explaining in the simplest possible way the connection between SEO and UX and how to exploit it to our advantage.
What is the User Experience
The User Experience is a concept closely linked to the usability of the site. In practice, if a site is clear and can make the user understand what it is about, what it can do on the site and how to do it, it is a site with a good usability. For this reason the User Experience can be positive or negative.
When we open the home page of any site, we should be able to:
- understand where we are
- understand what we can find on the site
- understand what we can do on the site
- understand if the site will satisfy our research intent
Meeting these four needs means presenting visitors with a clearly readable site, which will most likely be able to meet the expectations they had at the moment they decided to click on the search snippet.
A site that guarantees a good User Experience is also appreciated by search engines
A site of this kind will certainly be appreciated by users. But the interesting thing is that a site that guarantees a good User Experience is also appreciated by search engines. The two things are closely related.
When the user navigates, it will be easy to understand for him if he has finished on the right site for his personal needs. He can also navigate the site easily, having the opportunity to find the thing he is looking for. He will focus on the details that interest him and will deepen the topics, finding links at hand and a good reading experience.
All this translates into a high permanency on the site, a larger number of pages visited, a low rebound frequency and, in all likelihood, a return to the site in subsequent periods.
These elements, as you know, affect the positioning of websites on Google. So we can safely say that the UX can be understood as a ranking factor, even if indirect, because they are the parameters that determine the browsing experience to be taken into account by the algorithms of Google.
So, to improve the SEO of your site, take care of usability and ensure a positive User Experience, is now essential.
Meanwhile, we are going to see what are the elements that we can put on our sites to improve the SEO through the improvement of the User Experience.
Improve the User Experience to Improve Positioning on Google
Pages loading speed
I put this factor first because it’s the first thing users have to do when they decide to enter a site. If page loading is fast, the user is likely to continue browsing. If not, abandonment is certain in 90% of cases.
Tip: many decide to use AMP to improve site speed. This is not a solution. Both because AMP was born for other purposes (improve the loading speed of the pages of news sites), and because presenting a product or service with a thin page like that of AMP is not exactly the best.
The main information, those that make it clear to the user where he is and if the site will be able to meet its expectations, should always be included at the top of the page. For example, if the site is an e-commerce that sells shoes, you will have to find the latest offers immediately after opening the site.
Immediately capture the user’s attention, immediately giving him the opportunity to answer his question, is a fundamental element not only for SEO, but also for achieving the conversion goal.
Readability of texts
All sites should have clearly readable texts, adequately formatted with various titles, bold, bulleted lists and characters large and regular enough to be easily read by anyone. If you are faced with improbable characters, small characters or texts written in the style of “wall of words”, it is unlikely that the user will find his surfing experience satisfying.
Call to Action easily identifiable and at your fingertips
A site that wants to ensure a good User Experience must be able to immediately understand how to meet the needs of the users. One of the elements that must always be present in a clear and visible way is the so-called “call to action”, which is a system for carrying out an action.
Whether it’s a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a manual in pdf format, call to action must always be easily identifiable and reachable.
The way to contact you always at your fingertips
I see so many sites that have their beautiful contact form hidden in the meanderings of the pages. In reality, especially now, with the consolidation of the use of the mobile web, the user should always find the way to contact you. Whether it’s a telephone or an email, placing this information at the top of the site represents, in my opinion, another piece to guarantee an optimal User Experience.
Clear navigation routes
Also the navigation menus (you have to take enough time to create a winning navigation menu) have their importance in contributing to the improvement of the SEO through the optimization of the user experience. Menus with too many items often confuse users. Menus with too many submenus are even worse. You are not thinking about a desktop site. By now only in certain specific fields is the mobile desktop used.
Most research is now done by smartphone. As you know the menu of sites in mobile version, on the smartphone, is represented by three lines to explode at the touch.
Here … if touching the menu go out endless options that force you to scroll in order to find what you need, in my opinion it would not be a good browsing experience. Especially since these items are ready to close if, unfortunately, you touch another point on the phone display.
In-depth internal links
The in-depth links are those that increase the time spent on websites. If the user finds an in-depth link to a subject he is interested in reading, he will click on it because he needs that information.
It is possible to insert in-depth links in the text (the best way to do it), or using plugins for related searches (the classic sections “you might be interested in …”, organized by category or by tag).
How do you plan to keep a user glued to your site if there are no quality content that involves it? This type of content is useful both as a positioning technique and for the use described above.
Obviously for quality content we do not only mean texts, but also images, videos, attachments, products, infographics and everything that is relevant to our site that serves to meet the needs of visitors.
The importance of UX on mobile sites
We talked about various factors that, through the improvement of the User Experience, improve the SEO and therefore the positioning of the websites on Google and on the other search engines.
These factors are all the more important for mobile or responsive versions of websites.
Now the search has moved to mobile and mobile will become very soon the main index of Google (Mobile First Index). If you want to make good SEO it is therefore essential to provide an optimal User Experience on mobile devices. Personally I find the challenge more difficult than that of optimizing in this sense a desktop site, but it’s what we will have to do in the future.