Do you know what the best products in the world today all have in common? They give users a feeling of happiness, trust, and satisfaction.
Your audience expects positive interactions when working with you. And search engines know that! That is why user experience is becoming such a major factor in determining Search Engine Organic rankings. Google recently announced that in 2021 they will be rolling out a Page Experience algorithm update.
In today’s post, you will learn everything you need to know about user experience and how to use it to win with SEO.
Let’s dive in.
What is User Experience?
User experience (UX) is the feeling people get from interacting with a website, mobile app, operating system, product or service. Every interaction will generate a different response, whether it is positive or negative.
Why is User Experience Important for SEO?
In the early 2000s, there were many deficiencies with Google’s algorithms, that allowed for errors and bad user experiences. Due to the many advancements, Google has made to the algorithm, today we find increased improvements in user experiences.
Google engineers have been working on improving search functionality for decades. To a large degree, they have succeeded in developing systems that ensure user satisfaction.
As a business owner looking to grow their business, a webmaster needs to view things from Google’s perspective. It is imperative to understand Google’s vision and align the business’ growth strategies to match it.
UX today combines the top two metrics Google considers when ranking web pages. If your website and content are not providing the best user experience, you will struggle to generate new leads.
Targeting the right audience by creating relevant content should be a priority, regardless of whether Google asks you for it. Before ranking a web page, search engines try to understand the page and what it is about.
What does a search engine want to know?
- Is the information on the page relevant to the query it is trying to rank for?
- Will it provide search users with the information they need?
You cannot expect to get a page to the top of Google, or any search engine, if it is not targeting the right keywords and matching user intent.
You can find information anywhere in the world if you want to spend the time to look for it!
For most of us, time is the greatest asset.
Most people do not want to spend hours or days trying to find a product, service, or a solution to a problem.
Consumers turn to online search because they know that Google, for instance, will give the best results so they do not have to waste time looking for information. In fact, almost all the algorithm updates in recent years were launched to improve the quality of the SERPs.
How Does Google Measure User Experience?
Once Google sorts the pages by relevance and quality, it is time to decide which of the sites really deserve high rankings.
The way that is done is simple, new ranking factors will come into play to help serve the best rankings possible for the user.
Google engineers call these scoring signals, they are used to determine the UX quality of a page based on different metrics.
Query Independent Metrics
These metrics have nothing to do with the search terms/query entered by the user.
Query Independent Metrics are focused on the page and how it serves the user.
For example, each page on the web has a PageRank, which helps Google determine page authority. Other metrics include mobile-friendliness, page load speed, user interface, etc.
Query Dependent Metrics
Query-dependent metrics are directly related to the search query. They are more focused on the intent behind the search and what information is going to serve the user best.
Query-dependent signals include:
- Keywords (relevance to the search query)
- Proximity (to serve different results to local users)
- Synonyms (to show high-quality results that rank for synonyms of the query)
- Recency (to always keep the SERPs updated)
How to Improve Your Website’s User Experience
Now that you understand what UX is and the importance in helping you to better serve your audience, you may be wondering:
What changes can I make on my website to deliver a better user experience?
Keep in mind, Canadians are no different than other audiences around the world. They want to feel great working with you to solve a particular problem or fulfill a certain need.
Therefore, you need to provide the best user experience so that Google loves your website too.
1- Mobile Friendliness
In 2018, Google started moving sites to mobile-first indexing, which means that whenever a crawling spider visits your website, it is going to view it through a mobile layout first.
Mobile-friendliness is the first thing Google looks for in a website. No matter how amazing your content is, it will never rank if it is not ready to serve mobile users.
This should not be surprising news at all!
Globally, the number of mobile users is growing every day. Therefore, it is very important for all websites to be mobile-friendly in order to provide a good user experience.
You can check to see if your website is mobile friendly with the Mobile-Friendly Test tool by Google.
All you have to do is enter your site URL and wait to see the results.
If your web pages are mobile-friendly, then you can proceed to the next step.
If not, you must improve the mobile experience of your website. We recommend using a modern theme or hire a web developer to help you update your website.
2- Quality Content
Want Google to love your content? Produce well-researched, high-quality content that provides real value to your visitors.
There was a time where low-quality content could easily compete and get to the top of the search results. With all the improvements search engines have made, that is no longer the case.
Today, it is impossible to rank a web page high in the search results if the page does not have something unique and helpful to offer the user.
You must understand what search intent is and why it is crucial. This simple step is going to help you pick the right topics to cover in your content.
Use the knowledge from your keyword research to find the best search queries and phrases to create content and organize the content into smaller sections and subheadings.
User experience is a lasting feeling for your potential customers. You want them to trust your business and be happy that they have found your product or service.
Try to provide as much value as possible without asking for much. Once a potential customer senses the value in what you give them, they will be ready to work with you.
3- Page Speed
According to Google, 53% of online visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, which can be a big loss for the site owner.
Do you know what happens to a slow site ranking on the first page?
It does not serve users well. So, it has the potential to lose rankings.
You do not want that to happen to your website, do you? Let us work on improving PageSpeed.
To test your site speed:
Go to PageSpeed Insights and enter your website URL.
The tool will test your site and generate a report for how fast it is and how it can be improved. Once you get your results, you can implement some of the changes yourself or hire a web developer to minimize the risk errors.
Here are a few simple tips to get your website faster:
- Review your current hosting plan and hosting provider
- Use a faster CMS and theme
- Compress and optimize all your images
- Enable browser caching
- Implement a content distribution network
- Delete unnecessary plugins or addons in your CMS
4- User Interface
The user interface has a massive effect on how users interact with your website.
User interface influences many metrics that Google considers when ranking your site. For example, dwell time, pages per session, and bounce rate can all affect your rankings.
To improve these metrics, you must work on your user interface. A good starting point is improvements to your navigation and internal linking.
Users love to move between web pages quickly. We cannot tell you how many times we have seen companies produce excellent content that users are unable to access due to a poor site navigation.
The next thing to pay attention to is web design.
There are thousands of themes you can use to design a website, but the challenge is achieving the perfect look.
Instead of focusing on the look, your goal is to create a functional layout that best markets your brand and engages your audience.
Here are a few tips to help you achieve that:
- Leave a lot of white space around your content
- Create a clear contrast between your objects
- Keep your items and layout balanced
- Establish a clear hierarchy between elements
- Use branded colors and high-quality images
5- Site Security
Today, online consumers have gained trust in Google enough when it comes to site security. Consumers are no longer concerned with checking who you are, if you are at the top of the search results, it means you are an authentic business.
It is an excellent experience for the end-user. It is now Google’s responsibility to make sure your website is safe and trustworthy, which explains why site security affects SEO.
What can you do to secure your website?
- Use a trusted, secure hosting provider to keep everything on your website safe.
- Install an SSL certificate on your website, even if you are not handling sensitive information.
By implementing the above two items does not entirely eliminate the possibility of your website getting hacked.
Other recommendations to keep your website safe are:
- User strong passwords
- Update your CMS constantly
- Use anti-malware software to scan your website
- Encrypt user passwords and transactions
- Backup your database and site files regularly
- Use plugins and themes from trusted sources
User experience and SEO go hand-in-hand in getting your business to the top of the organic search results. Although it may take some time, this user-centric approach is what allows you to serve your customers best.
So, start implementing the steps above to accelerate sales and get stronger results.
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