UX: an important SEO ranking factor
30 second summary:
- The history of SEO and UX began almost 20 years ago when both entered the market in the 1990s
- After years of data analysis, I found that UX is a critical ranking factor for SEO
- If you've exhausted all of your SEO techniques, but still don't see any significant movement on your website or in your rankings, you are likely losing user experience (UX).
- Atul Jindal, Senior Web Engineer at Adobe Research, summarizes years of experience and observation in this SEO guide to help you gain SEO and search experience
I've worked with many SEO and CRO campaigns as well as Fortune 50 companies over the years. This gives me access to valuable data that helped me understand what works and what doesn't. Over the years, analyzing data, I've found that UX is a critical ranking factor for SEO.
The history of SEO and UX began almost 20 years ago when both entered the market in the 1990s. While SEO was widely used as a marketing technique, UX (User Experience) focused on providing users with an enhanced, engaging experience on the website.
When you've exhausted all of yours SEO techniques However, you still don't see any significant movement on your website or in your rankings. Then you will likely lose user experience.
However, it is quite difficult to find UX related issues on your website. If you only look at your website from an SEO perspective! You need to look at your website through the eyes of your user (customer).
In this guide, I'm going to explain UX and show you how to implement it in your SEO campaigns to get results.
What is UX?
User Experience (UX) is a user's experience with your website / application. A user-friendly website provides a pleasant user experience, but an unplanned website provides a poor or poor user experience.
UX focuses on site architecture, visitor travel, desktop and mobile layouts, and user flows. In short, the user experience depends on how easy or difficult it is to navigate the user interface elements created by the website designers.
The user interface focuses on the graphical layout of each application. It includes various factors such as fonts and design styles, text entry fields, transitions, images and animation surface. In short, everything visual falls under the umbrella of the user interface.
It's important to note that UI and UX are two different functions. While the user interface revolves around the design layout, UX is the user's experience of the website while navigating the web pages.
Since we understand the two better, let's further understand how we can successfully implement UX into an SEO campaign.
Why is UX important in SEO?
In the past few years, Google has changed its ranking criteria. There was a time when Google looked for the keyword reparations in your content or the number of backlinks on your website.
But now the scenario has been completely changed. Google is becoming more user-oriented every day. They use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), and other kinds of cutting-edge technologies to understand, evaluate, and deliver the best results.
Google introduced that EAT concept In addition to key figures such as search intent, page speed, mobile phone friendliness and dwell time are ranking factors that have to be evaluated on Google. All of these factors are part of a complete user experience.
A rich user experience is one factor that makes the difference between the first and second positions. Providing a rich user experience is always helpful to visitors and encourages them to stay longer and get more involved with your website. This will send positive quality signals to Google that will show your website the best result. As a result, Google will reward you with top spots.
How do I implement UX in an SEO campaign?
As mentioned above, SEO and UX share one common end goal – audience engagement. SEO answers a person's request, while UX takes care of their navigation requests once they reach the webpage.
Nowadays it has become imperative to include both when designing an SEO campaign or a digital marketing strategy. Google is constantly evolving its user experience and merging effective SEO strategies to deliver a more meaningful experience to the audience.
A great example of UX and SEO design is IKEA. We all know what IKEA stands for, but their website creates a story every step of the way. It guides the user to the right landing pages and keeps them busy. The color palette, its tags and categories ensure that a user stays on the site longer and gets engaged.
Source: IKEA designed on Canva
Empathy plays an important role in optimizing your web pages with the right combination of keywords. Those days are no more with us than the exact keyword matches were enough to rank well. Today it's about standing there and thinking from a bigger perspective.
Google has done a great job over the past five years in moving away from easy-to-spam ranking signals like links and keyword stuffing.
In other words, when you understand your target audience's buying intent and analyze their search queries, you will get refined and sustainable results.
Let's understand the top three factors that affect SEO + UX ranking.
Understand your audience
This is probably one of the hardest parts of running a successful campaign – understanding the audience.
Most companies spend a lot of time researching their audiences before concluding who their real target is going to be. Because of this, we have spent a lot of time highlighting its importance.
We have often heard from marketers, companies, and content creators who emphasize the importance of having the right audience. While sometimes it is more or less sensible to get the pulse of the audience, there are times when you need to ask explicitly:
- Who is my target group?
- What do you want?
- What are you looking for?
- How do you look for information?
- Did my viewfinder jump right away?
- Has action been taken on the link?
These are important questions that the Google algorithm considers in order to understand whether the search results are aligned with the searcher's intent.
For example, Airbnb is working on an integrative design model that focuses on improving readability on all platforms. Your target group is clearly defined – Travel lovers, people looking for vacation rental options, and people looking for vacation hosting solutions. Their focus was on improving the user experience by directing them to the right landing pages. They coupled it with catchy CTAs that got the user to act. Whether you are a host or someone looking for an extraordinary travel experience, its comprehensive vacation solutions pave the way to make booking a vacation faster and easier.
Source: Airbnb. Designed on Canva
Having a full understanding of your target audience can result in clicks and actions on a page by the time you're in the first few Google search results.
UX helps the audience stay on the page, while SEO honors their intention to click on the page Keyword and country of the page. In everything you do, your focus is always on the satisfactory user experience. From addressing their color preferences to the layout and messages, you need to create everything that will suit your customers.
Another critical factor in understanding the audience is the intent of the user. It would be helpful if you dealt with a detailed audience, such as: B. for information, navigation, transactional or commercial purposes. In either case, the queries must be predefined in order to understand the needs of the user.
Understanding the intent of potential visitors who land on your website from searching is another crucial factor in an effective UX and SEO strategy. If your website is not fully optimized with the right keywords, there is a dire chance it will rank on Google or even lead to action.
For example, imagine you're looking for the keywords – "How do I wear a bow tie? "
The most logical conclusion is that your search will lead you to a tutorial or a video, right? When the same set of keywords is used by one E-commerce website If you sell the bow tie, your request will go unanswered. You can conclude from this that the website using this keyword is not worth visiting in the future because it applies.Click baitWords to guide a consumer to their website.
However, if the person lands on the right page with the clearly delineated instructions, they will stick with learning, increasing the learning curve Dwell time and can browse the website for more information. Here your keyword played an important role in leading the consumer straight to the tutorial.
The Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, Keywordtool.io, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, or SECockpit are some handy tools that are often used to find the right keywords.
The best way to choose the right keywords for your SEO strategy is to repeat the keywords you need for ranking. Search relevant topics based on your business to depict and understand how user intent affects their use of keywords.
In short, doing keyword research before setting up SEO campaigns and merging them with UX will help you evolve with changing market trends.
Designing a website without search engine optimization is a waste of time and vice versa. Both aspects work together and must be carefully considered from the start.
The architecture of the website determines how the pages flow on your website. From an SEO perspective, good website architecture means that Google will find and index your page easily. Links should simply help Google navigate smoothly from high to low authority pages. Google Search Console has improved a lot since its inception and has become very informative for SEO technicians to help them understand how a website is indexed and displayed on Google.
Use H1, H2 tags, headings, taglines, catchy CTAs, and informative menu labels to decide whether or not your target audience will interact with your website. Remember that your homepage should be no more than four clicks away.
Mobile responsive design has become very important to both user experience and search engine optimization. over 50 percent of all traffic is now controlled by mobile search and unresponsive websites are detrimental to the user experience.
According to Google Page Experience Document, Mobile-friendly websites have priority access to appear at the top of search results. Improving your readers' readability by incorporating the correct font family and text size is a must to enhance the mobile experience. A responsive website with the ability to load faster is a standard for different screen sizes these days.
You can check a website's mobile responsiveness using Google Mobile friendly testing Tool.
Bad SEO + UX ruins the entire branding motive. It is worthwhile to focus on the fine properties today. It includes domain names, informational content, internal links, meta tags optimization, meta descriptions, image alt tags, headings and page titles to make the whole experience worthwhile.
Implementing SEO with UX design might seem a bit daunting at first. However, it is important to improve the ranking and build a great brand.
Atul Jindal is a Sr. Web Engineer at Adobe Research.