Every website owner knows how important SEO is in how well their website ranks for organic search. If properly implemented, SEO has the potential to place your website in front of millions of users who are looking for the exact product or service you offer. A recent study showed that as more SEO techniques are discovered, the effectiveness of SEO will increase. But what does this have to do with user experience?
Does UX Help or Hurt Your Website Page Ranking?
Search engine giant Google, which accounts for more than 70% of global search traffic, developed its algorithm so that it could provide only the best results to search users, and this algorithm focuses more on the type of websites or pages that can satisfy users and provide the best results. In this case, the best result does not necessarily mean the websites that provide the best answer, but rather the websites or pages that provide the best user experience. For instance, if a user does a search query for “What is SEO?” Google display results for websites that provide relevant answers to this question are based on a number of criteria. If your website provides the most accurate answer but is slow or unsafe, there is a very small chance that it will show up in search results. Even if it does, it will probably show up hidden somewhere towards the end of the result pages. This is what is known as poor page ranking.
How Does a Search Engine Determine User Experience?
Search engines like Google use different methods to determine if your website meets the expectation of your users. They consider different factors such as website load speed, mobile responsiveness, website layout and ease of use. If people spend only a very short time on your website, it is probably because they did not enjoy their experience, or could not find what they were looking for quickly enough. Of course, there are a few exceptions where other factors can increase your website bounce rate.
When people spend more time on your website, search engines see this as a signal that your website is providing good user experience. It is, therefore, no coincidence that Google has stressed on various different occasions that the right user experience will significantly boost your SEO efforts and consequently your website page ranking.
“There are many factors that contribute to good user experience. With the right web design, the right web content, and the right web host, you are already on the right track”. Here are just a few ways UX helps in SEO:
1. Improved Conversion
One of the effects of great user experience is that it boosts conversion rate on websites. When users can easily find what they want on your website quickly, and with minimum stress, you will find that your conversion rate is much improved. Visitors will be more willing to carry out whatever actions you expect of them as defined by your well placed call-to-action buttons. For instance, if a visitor comes to your website looking for a gold color iPhone 8 silicon case and they can find this product on your website quickly, and encounter no problem all through checkout and payment, then you have provided the user with a good user experience. There is a high chance that this same user will come back to your website when they need another product that you sell.
2. Improved Page Ranking
As pointed out earlier, Google considers user experience to be a major factor that determines page ranking. If Google, using its user signals, determines that your website is providing optimum user experience, it will reward you by increasing your page rank. The higher you rank in SERP for organic search, the more visible your website will be, which will then give you a better chance of making sales or getting new subscribers. The content your website provides has a way of boosting SEO too. For instance, if your web page reads www.freeparking.co.nz/domain-names/nz/, users will want to actually find domain names within New Zealand on the site. Anything short of this will lead to increased bounce rate and low rankings.
3. Increase in Traffic
Not too long ago, someone made a joke saying that, “the best way to kill a website is by ensuring it doesn’t appear on the first page of Google search engine results”. It might be a joke, but it’s true. Studies have shown that people rarely scroll beyond the first 5 results on a search engine results page, neither do they go beyond the first 5 pages. What this means is that if your website happens to be located on the 6th page of the search results, there is a slim chance that anybody will see it. On the flip side, if your website is located on the first page of the search results, you will enjoy tremendous exposure and increase in traffic.
It goes without saying that an increase in page rank will bring about a complementary increase in page views and/or visits.
4. Repeat Purchase
Studies have shown that repeat purchases are more important for business success than one-time purchases. Repeat customers account for 3 times more sales, and tend to spend more than first-time customers; this is because they are familiar with your system and have developed some form of customer loyalty. When your website provides good user experience, you will have more visitors returning. Poor user experience does not only result in page abandonment, but there is a very slim chance that the disappointed users will ever return to your website. Your SEO strategy should, therefore, be channeled towards ensuring that your users visit your website over and over again. Repeat customers also provide informal advertisements for businesses. A satisfied visitor or customer will be more enthusiastic about referring or introducing your business to friends and family members; this will in turn drive even more traffic to your site, as it has been discovered that more than 90% of website visitors are influenced by the reviews and opinions of their peers. This has been known to significantly affect their buying decision.
There is no doubt that user experience is important for the success of your SEO. As a website owner, you need to ensure that your website meets the expectations of your visitors. Even if you don’t do this for the search engine page ranking, do it just so that people who visit your website will leave satisfied. When you do this, whether you expect it or not, you will experience a boost in your page ranking.