Users’ expectations are growing every year due to the continuous development of technology. People know their needs, therefore, they want their computers and other devices to work even more effectively, transparently and intuitively. All of this has an enormous impact on behavior of users who benefit from search engines. Thus, today we’re going to discuss a hot button issue – UX and its impact on SEO!
A short introduction – a few words about user experience
Although the term “user experience” seems relatively new, it’s been used in the context of human-computer interaction since the 1970s. At the moment, it’s an extremely common topic in the IT industry and online marketing. The term has numerous definitions, however, it usually describes the entire human (or user) experience, not only with computers and websites, but also with services, products, or systems.
The idea of user experience is properly explained by Iga Mościchowska and Barbara Rogoś-Turek, who point out three crucial features of products/services/etc:
- positive emotions.
Thanks to following rules and UX principles at the stage of developing a website, you’re able to create a user-friendly platform that encourages visitors to come back, convert and recommend it to friends.
By the way, UX principles don’t apply solely to the Internet and technology. Have you ever pushed the door with a “pull” sign? It doesn’t mean that you did something wrong – most likely the sign was placed in the wrong place, it was written in an inappropriate font or the door handle covered it. Bad UX in real life.
The shared goal: why do UX and SEO aim at achieving the same objective?
For the past few years, we’ve been able to observe that Google truly appreciates websites that answer users’ queries. And this is where SEO and UX start to share common interests – each aims to provide users with relevant content and help them satisfy their needs. In fact, SEO guides people to the content they’re looking for, and UX makes them want to make a conversion, e.g. purchase a given product. Let’s be honest, both of them are designed to improve conversion – it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about more sales, more traffic, more newsletter signups, etc.
At the moment, we can certainly state that SEO needs to coexist with UX as together with the development of search engines, user experience became one of the ranking factors. SEO itself won’t keep visitors on your page. If a website is unintuitive and intransparent in a way that makes it difficult to perform the simplest activities such as logging in or adding products to the cart, users will probably leave it without converting. Google has acknowledged that it prioritizes sites offering truly valuable content.
Usability is often listed as a ranking factor:
There are also rumors about user signals, which have been an important ranking factor for a few years. That is, for example, the time a visitor spends on a page, the click-through rate (CTR), or the bounce rate – all of them are components of positive UX.
Coulomb’s law online – how do UX and SEO affect each other?
For those of you who weren’t model physics students, Coulomb’s law describes the force of electrostatic interaction of electric charges 😉
In fact, both SEO and UX share a lot of common principles whose application boosts both indicators. Now, we’ll give you a few examples showing why UX is important for SEO.
How to benefit from SEO to improve user experience?
Recently, content has become an important SEO ranking factor. Ensuring its high quality has a positive impact on UX – if a user is provided with valuable content, s/he is more willing to stay on the page for longer and have positive experiences.
Title and meta description are other SEO elements that help users. Of course, they’re mainly supposed to direct search engine robots to your website, however, if properly optimized and written in an interesting way, they can also encourage people to visit the site. Thanks to them, visitors immediately know what to expect from a given page.
UX and its impact on SEO – useful examples
Of course, it’s not just UX that affects SEO, it’s also the other way round. What SEO tips can you benefit from to improve your user experience?
First of all: learn about products people search online and methods they use. Thanks to it, you’ll be able to provide them with quality UX. Put yourself in the shoes of users, delete content that isn’t of interest to visitors. Highlight elements most frequently accessed by people. Google Search Console is extremely useful in this case – it’ll allow you to check which subpages are visited the most frequently or what keywords your website is displayed on in the search results. It’s also a good idea to conduct expert usability tests. Modify the site to make it people-oriented.
Keep in mind that UX is extremely important in e-commerce. Baymard Institute (a Copenhagen-based, international research institution) estimates that in 2016, as many as 69.2% of potential customers abandoned their shopping carts. It frequently results from a poorly designed website that isn’t user-friendly.
To ensure proper usability of your store, remember that:
- product catalogs require appropriate sorting and filters;
- product cards should be user-friendly and clearly show all the most important features, e.g. price, suggested color versions, enlarged picture of the article after moving the cursor, etc;
- adding products to the cart ought to be clear and transparent. It should be possible to return to the product list any time; individual buttons (e.g. “proceed” or “continue shopping”) should be legible and clearly distinguishable;
- reviews facilitate the decision-making process, so it’s worth having them on your page;
- a well-functioning product search engine is the key to easier shopping, registration or logging in should be intuitive and unproblematic; it’s worth providing information concerning password or login strength (preferably with the help of pop-ups);
- when it comes to the shopping cart, you should be able to choose a convenient shipping method, see the status and value of your order and the whole shopping process should be organized in a logical way;
- the site ought to include elements that build the credibility of the store – e.g. quality certificates, information about partners or logos of brands whose products you sell, etc.
These are just some of the tips that build positive UX and should be implemented in your online store. They also have a positive impact on SEO – a customer who doesn’t abandon the shopping cart improves the conversion rate (which is also a part of modern SEO).
As you can see, UX affects SEO (and the other way round) significantly and effectively. If you want to attract users for longer and improve expected conversion, combine SEO and quality user experience – it’s a quick recipe for success!