What comes first…organic Google rankings or your customers? Who do you serve first when it comes to the almighty desire to be the best? If you want my opinion, always start with your customers. In your efforts to be the best and to be visible online, always begin your journey by finding the various things that make your visitor’s online user experience (termed “UX,” if you will) a thing to remember and cherish (ok, cherish might be going a little far, but you know what I mean). Meet your customers in the middle by fulfilling both your business objective and their visit objective (whatever that may be) all at once.
Here’s why: a good user experience (UX) fosters good SEO (Search Engine Optimization — a.k.a one of the elements that garners organic site traffic and higher Google rankings). And, if you think along this logical path, then good UX can only help good SEO. Best yet, a visitor’s quality experience on your website may be all you need to help create more conversions (sales, forms filled out, etc.) — now that’s a win-win!
Let’s Breakdown How UX and SEO Work Best Together:
1. Google knows UX matters.
When it comes to Google rankings, Google understands just how much UX matters. That’s why they don’t only look at your site’s content and keywords, but it’s exactly why they also focus on the details that factor into the user experience. Details like: structure of content, mobile-friendliness, mobile responsiveness, navigation, the quality of content, the credibility of content, bounce rates, and dwell time.
- Dwell time is how much time a visitor actually spends on a page before returning to the SERP’s (search engine results page). Because dwell time cannot be directly measured, it is instead measured by three other engagement metrics: bounce rate, time on site, and conversion rate.
2. Google values engagement metrics.
According to Moz, having positive website engagement metrics is even more critical than having high organic click-through rates (CTR) — or simply, quick visits to your site. In mid-2016, they even shared their data on how Google highly values the relationships between the aforementioned engagement rates — bounce rates, time on site, conversion rates — to form and measure dwell time. And while Google officially tweeted, in 2015, that they “don’t use analytics/bounce rate in search ranking,” Moz found direct correlations between website bounce rates and organic positions in Google. Here’s the theory: If Google is measuring how long a person happily stays on a page (dwell time), it can be assumed that longer dwell times designate the page is user friendly, offers what is promised, is easy to navigate, or is interesting. As these are all of the things that make up a quality UX, a longer dwell time can, therefore, help tell Google that the site is valid, credible, informative, and engaging — a.k.a the many factors that make for good SEO — and should, therefore, have a higher organic Google ranking. For more on how time on your website can impact your organic position in Google — and your conversion rates — check out Moz’s article: “Do Website Engagement Rates Impact Organic Rankings?
So, what does this all mean? It means that in your effort to please Google, make sure that you’re first pleasing your visitors. Don’t just aim for higher click-through rates (CTR) and sheer site visits that may only last a second or two. Instead, make it a priority to increase your engagement rates, conversion rates, and the amount of quality time spent on your site. Do that and you’ll very likely not only see better SEO results but higher conversion rates, both of which can only lead to even better rankings and even more conversions.
We won’t just leave you hanging there with all of that great info. Here’s how you can get started:
9 Easy Ways to Improve Your Site’s UX
- Make sure your site and each of its pages load quickly — like 2 seconds or less.
- Make action items — contact, hours, address, shopping carts, EVERYTHING, really— easy to find.
- Make sure your navigation and site layout is logical, flows well, and is in line with modern website design trends.
- Create relevant content that matters and meets your user’s needs. Anticipate their needs and fulfill it,
- Make sure all links work and lead users to where they’re supposed to lead them.
- Display products or services in a professional, aesthetic manner. Display your best products or services first. For best results, consider only displaying your best work.
- Make sure that your checkout or login process is smooth, reliable, and secure.
- Take a look at your site’s aesthetics — from images, layout, placement, fonts…all the way to your logo. Find out what these visual clues say about your business. Is it in-line with your business? Do these factors say something undesirable? Are they targeting your ideal audience? Are they displaying you and your business in its most desirable light?
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly and mobile responsive.
After you’ve worked on the above tips, work on creative ways to gain higher CTRs (visits to your site) by enticing potential visitors with PPC advertising, Facebook ads, great offers, and remarketing. With these great UX improvements in place, you’re more likely to keep visitors on your site longer, thereby creating more conversions, improving your organic SEO performance, and increasing your organic Google ranking.
UX and SEO just work better together. Not sure where to start? Don’t have the time or knowledge to assess or fix your website’s UX factors? Want a professional opinion and strategic ways to go about meeting these SEO and UX priorities? Give us a call!