February 1, 2017

What is UX? A Look Into the Effects of User Experience on SEO

SEO guidelines change on a daily basis. In fact, Google makes 500 to 600 changes to its algorithms yearly. Every few months, they release a bigger update that warrants considerable attention. And every once in awhile, they release one that changes the SEO game dramatically.

Though there are many pieces to the SEO puzzle, increasingly, Google has prioritized good user experience (UX) as an area that websites need to address if they are going to be found in searches.

A logical, quality user experience plays a huge part in improving your SEO rankings. A bad user experience is just as damaging for SEO purposes as bad content. Actually, bad content and bad UX pretty much go hand in hand.

Why? Because believe it or not, Google actually has the ability to analyze how easy and logical it is for a sample visitor to navigate your site. It is able to discern the simplicity of navigation and even the effectiveness of your call to action (CTA).

Have you ever been to one of those websites with so many jumbled pages that you seem to get lost in a thick forest of information you don’t care about? Me too. All the time. Thankfully many of these hard-to-navigate sites are being penalized in search rankings. Google likes to reward companies with good websites. Thank goodness.

Let’s explore some of the things that improve UX:

1. Logical, sequential navigation

A website should be able to push a user in a specific direction based on its structure. For example, a website that logically guides the user to learn more about the company, learn how the company can help them specifically, and then contact the company is effective. A website that bounces a visitor back and forth through pieces of content that are unnecessary and inconsequential delivers a bad UX.

2. An effective CTA

The call to action is one of the most (if not the most) important parts of your website. It’s the element that converts a website visitor into an email in your inbox or your phone ringing. We keep referring to your website as your 24 hour salesperson, so wouldn’t it be foolish for that salesperson to be awful at selling? You tell me. A good UX makes it as easy as humanly possible for a website visitor to contact you.

3. Quality Content

Ok, so we’ve discussed this one before, but it’s so important that I feel compelled to keep bringing it up. The copy on your website is part of the site’s UX. Nobody wants to read paragraphs upon paragraphs of wordy text that describes your company and goes into detail on every product and service. Quality content is able to convey detail without boring or bogging down the reader. It is concise, eloquent, and compelling. Think of UX in these terms: Are visitors to my website enjoying navigating through it and reading the content? If not, why is that content there in the first place?

Google wants you to create your web content for people, not for search engines, and it can tell if you choose to do the latter.

Make it easy

Make it as easy as possible for people to navigate your content. Make sure you test it out. Does the navigation make sense? Is the call to action compelling? Does the website boast good content? If it’s a triple-yes, you are in pretty good shape.