If you have a website, you probably know you need an SEO strategy if you are going to make the site easy to find in search engines. Whether the goal is to find local customers, startup branding, ecommerce sales or anything else, being discoverable for the right search terms is going to make a big difference.
In the early days of SEO, marketers were almost exclusively concerned with using the right keywords to boost a page’s search ranking. While keywords are still important, search engines are much smarter than they used to be. They now analyze user data like engagement, pages visited and bounce rate to determine the value of a website or page.
With metrics that focus on the actions of visitors being a factor, that means there are now SEO opportunities in UX design. With a better UX, you can reduce bounce rates, increase engagement and get visitors to check out more of your site. When search engines like Google see that type of activity, it will be a signal that your site offers value and it will help improve your search rankings.
In this post, you will learn about some of the ways UX design can be used to enhance your SEO efforts.
Better Page Layouts
Your page layouts can offer one of the first opportunities to create a better user experience that will boost SEO. While getting a lot of keywords on a page can be good for SEO, the layout and usability of a page can be even more important.
One thing to avoid is large blocks of text. They can be great for offering keyword opportunities, but they do not offer a good experience to users. Break text down into smaller blocks that are easier to digest. Break the blocks up with different headings and use things like images and videos in between sections.
When customers find your site for the first time, there is a good chance that they will be finding it on a mobile device. That means you need a responsive design that will adapt to the device of the user. If your site does not adapt for mobile, it will not provide a good experience and this will impact metrics like bounce rate.
Furthermore, Google prioritizes mobile-friendly pages in search results for mobile users. That means your site might not even show up for mobile search if your site is not mobile-friendly. If you want to see how well your site does for mobile, check out the mobile-friendly test from Google. It can tell you if your site performs well on mobile and provide advice for improving performance.
Older ideas about SEO used to actually make for more complex website navigation. A lot of SEO marketers would believe that they should create more pages to target more keywords. Some would even go as far as creating two separate pages for a pair of keywords that were almost identical.
Instead of creating more pages and making navigation more complex, you should aim for a more simplified version of your site. The easier a site is to navigate, the more enjoyable it will be for visitors. You can also find other ways to get your keywords in than just creating more landing pages. One obvious way to do this is to create a blog. You can also use more keywords on the same page if you lay the content out the right way.
Make it Fast
Consumers do not have patience for pages that take a long time to load. If a website takes a long time to load, they might bounce before they even see the full page. Slow loading can also make some visitors reluctant to visit more pages on the website. If page speed is impacting the user experience, it is probably dragging your search ranking down as well.
Google also considers page speed when it ranks pages. That means that between how it impacts visitors and the way Google considers it, you need to focus on page speed to improve the user experience and boost your SEO. While there are a ton of tools that can help you optimize for page speed, Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a good place to start. You can run the test on any URL and it will provide a page-speed score and some insights that could help your site perform better.
People don’t often think of UX when it comes to SEO, but it is a core part of improving and maintaining search rankings in the modern search landscape. Things like keyword research and backlink efforts are still core to SEO, but a lot of your effort will be wasted if you are doing the work for a site that does not provide a good user experience.