Never ever underestimate the importance of user experience on your website.
You probably already know this, but let’s corroborate this with hard cold facts:
- Almost 70% of consumers say that page loading speed impacts their decision to purchase from an online retailer;
- 79% of users who don’t find what they’re looking for on your website will go to your competitors;
- It takes only about 50 milliseconds for visitors to form their opinion about a website and decide whether they will stick around or leave;
- 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if its layout or content is unattractive.
While it might seem that all these stats refer to the development and design industry, the thing is that search engine optimization has a lot to do with it.
UX plays an increasingly important role when it comes to how Google ranks websites, and that’s why you should think about aligning this aspect with your SEO efforts if you want to attract, engage, and keep your prospects coming back to your website.
Why Is the Synergy of SEO and UX So Important?
Google’s algorithm consists of more than 200 ranking factors, and the search engine constantly changes and develops it in an attempt to offer searchers the best possible user experience.
By implementing Artificial Intelligence, NLP, machine learning, and other advanced technologies, the search engine giant tries to ensure that its users get only the best and most relevant results quickly and without having to click back and forth.
In other words, there’s no use in trying to hack the algorithm in order to improve your rankings because you’ll get caught and penalized.
Bearing in mind how much Google insists on user experience, it’s easy to conclude that instead of trying to work on your SEO apart from UX, you should align these two elements. That way, your website will be properly optimized, which will result in better rankings, exceptional user experience, and in turn, an increase in traffic, engagement, and conversions.
Here are some tips to help you create a balanced amalgam of SEO and UX.
1. Speed Things Up
You’re probably already aware of how complicated it is to attract the right prospects to your website.
If you don’t want those hard-earned visitors to roll their eyes while they’re waiting for your page to load and bounce off, then you’ve got to speed things up.
The benchmark you should strive for is 3 seconds or less, as otherwise, 40% of visitors will abandon your website.
Google will take notice of these red flags, and lower your ratings, because, speed is a ranking signal for both desktop and mobile searches.
In other words, loading speed is an important element of the overall user experience and it’s up to technical SEO to improve it.
Some of the tactics you can use include:
- Compressing your images, as large images take more time to load. With the right tools, the size of your images will reduce without affecting their quality.
- Streamlining your code to prevent bloat since this kind of clutter can significantly slow down your website. Keep things simple under the hood.
- Opting for a fast web hosting provider is a must, so don’t pinch pennies when it comes to this.
- Using a content delivery network (CDN) will allow you to deliver content to your visitors quickly regardless of their geographical location.
2. Optimize for Voice
With the emergence of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, an increasing number of people started using the benefits of voice search.
In today’s hectic and fast-paced world, the possibility to multitask safely while you drive or do anything else that prevents you from typing and using your screen is a priority.
Back in 2016, Gartner predicted that 30% of all searches would be performed without a screen by 2020.
Speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP), a subset of AI, are behind this impressive functionality.
Thanks to its convenience, voice search tremendously improves user experience. And, as we’ve mentioned, it’s what Google holds in high regard.
All this means that you need to redefine the way you optimize content for search engines.
The way we speak greatly differs from the way we type.
In other words, to improve your rankings, try using more conversational phrases.
For example, people are very concise and use incomplete sentences when performing written searches, so they type something along the lines of “weather London.” However, when performing a voice search, the odds are they will use full sentences and say, “What will the weather be like in London tomorrow?”
To make your content and keywords more conversational, it’s a good idea to include how, when, where, what, and similar question words, and keep a conversational tone to match what your target audience is dictating to their voice assistants or smartphones when searching the internet.
3. Produce High-Quality, Reader-Friendly Content
First of all, you need to start a blog and create high-quality content.
This is something that goes without saying, but we first have to establish what it means to create superb content.
There has been a shift from creating content around the keywords you want to rank for to creating content for users and their needs and pain points. That’s an example of how UX impacts SEO and the content creation process.
First of all, before you plan any page of your website and the content on it, ask yourself some of the following questions:
- What a potential visitor wants to find on this page, and what are their expectations?
- What do they want to accomplish?
- What problems do they want to solve?
The answers to these questions will point you in the right direction and help you plan the content of every single page.
However, apart from the substance, you also have to think about the form.
In other words, user experience also requires you to structure your content properly and ensure its readability.
To achieve this, avoid walls of text and endless paragraphs because they prevent your readers from scanning, consuming, and understanding the meaning of your content.
Instead of that, use the following content-optimization tricks:
- segment your writing into a lot of short portions,
- use headings, subheadings (H2, H3, and H4), and bullet points,
- add visuals to chunk your text and make it more reader-friendly,
- organize your content into lists,
- compose shorter sentences.
All this will make sure your content isn’t intimidating and tedious and allow your readers to easily and quickly find the answers and solutions they’re looking for.
4. Improve Navigation
Intuitive navigation is at the core of both SEO and UX.
Google’s crawlers will dig deep into the structure of your website to analyze its elements, perform indexing, and, in general, try to figure out how relevant and credible it is.
But again, just like you should organize your content and make ut easily accessible to crawlers, you should do the same for your readers. You want them to find the information they’re looking for without wandering around and wasting their time.
Some of the tips for improving your navigation include:
- Using descriptive labels. Generic labeling is bad for SEO because “Products,” “Services,” or “Solutions” don’t tell either your audience or Google much about what you do and specialize in. Descriptive labels allow you to use keywords and help your readers find what they’re looking for.
- Linking your logo to your homepage. This is an excellent way to help your visitors always find their way back to the start of their search simply by clicking on the logo.
- Adding internal links to your content has the purpose of streamlining navigation and referring your readers to similar and related topics. This tactic also makes it easier for crawlers to analyze and index your pages and signals to Google that your website is easy to navigate.
All this will significantly improve your user experience and give a boost to your SEO.
5. Optimize Your Title Tags
These HTML elements help both searchers and Google identify what a particular page is about and determine whether the result is relevant for their particular query.
Creating captivating title tags and meta descriptions that resonate with your target audience is essential.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Title tags shouldn’t be longer than 70 characters if you want these clickable links in the search results to be displayed in their entirety.
- Expand your title tags with the help of meta descriptions. These should summarize what the page is about in up to 150 characters to summarize what the page is about. Both title tags and meta descriptions should contain a relevant keyword.
- Add alt tags to image tags to offer the alternative text describing what’s in the image. This way, people with disabilities (and the search engine) will be able to better understand the visual elements of your website, which significantly contributes to the success of your UX and SEO.
By aligning SEO and UX, you’ll make sure your website is optimized for both search engines and visitors. This will result in improved rankings, more traffic, better engagement, and a surge in conversions.