As a growing business, you know that your website is one of the most important assets you have for connecting with your audience and driving conversions. Maybe you’ve also done a little research, looking for tips on how to boost its performance. What you’ve read has probably centered around the various aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience (UX).
Both of these components are vitally important for building visibility and trust online – both of which directly affect the overall success of your business. What’s important to understand here is that while SEO and UX might technically be separate entities, it’s next to impossible to reap the benefits of search engine marketing without dedicated strategies for optimizing UX.
In fact, you could easily argue that UX is the single most important factor to consider in your SEO strategy, especially in 2019.
Here is what you need to know about UX and why it matters so much search engine optimization today.
The Nuts and Bolt of User Experience
On the surface, UX is exactly what it says it is – a measure of the value of the experience an internet user has when they visit and engage with your website. This is a simple definition to a concept that has many deeper layers.
If we look at UX from the perspective of search engines, it becomes crystal clear why they place so much weight on it. The success of search engines, like Google, depends heavily on their reputation. They each want to be the only one internet users turn to and trust to provide them with the most relevant, trustworthy results. Currently, Google tops the charts with more than 3.5 billion searches happening on their search engines every day – a number that has skyrocketed over the past decade.
To achieve this type of success, Google has developed an algorithm that contains hundreds of different ranking factors, and they leverage the power of this algorithm to place the best results in front of their users. This is what forms the basis of SEO.
The majority of search engine users don’t navigate that far from page one of search results, so the businesses that show up there need to have websites that meet the demands of the modern online consumer – which not only includes relevancy but also factors that play into the overall UX, like speed, simplified navigation, mobile responsiveness and more.
In other words, meeting the demands of search engine users has become more complex than ever before and businesses that want to succeed in getting a favorable nod from Google need to be focused in on UX factors that are a key part of ranking algorithms.
Elements of UX That Matter Most to SEO
We could go on at length and delve into some pretty technical concepts of the many, many elements of UX that affect SEO. But rather than go all in right away, let’s begin by talking about three of the most important elements of UX for SEO.
We know that the percentage of internet users that are initiating searches from their mobile devices is an ever growing number. Investing in web design that appeals to the mobile consumer was a necessity last year and it’s absolutely non-negotiable in 2019.
Still, it’s important to not take the approach that the mobile consumer is the only consumer. A good portion of traffic is still reaching you through other devices, and conversions are still more likely to occur from a desktop computer or tablet than they are from a mobile device.
This means that web design needs to be flexible enough to provide a seamless brand experience every time someone visits your website, regardless of the device they’re using. This consistency is important to UX and responsive web design provides this. Google hasn’t said specifically that responsive design websites will get rewarded over others with a separate mobile optimized site, but they have said that responsive design is the preferred, suggested path to take with web development.
It seems that the need for speed pops up every time SEO is mentioned. This is because site speed is a crucial element of UX and it affects several ranking factors that matter to your SEM performance. For starters, today’s consumer has little patience when it comes to waiting for a site to load. If they’ve clicked on your website through search engine results, it’s insanely easy for them to back out and click on another if your load speed passes the magic threshold of 3 seconds.
Furthermore, a lagging site increases bounce and can make it difficult for visitors to consume content or navigate to the pages that are important for moving them along the customer journey. Bounce rates matter to SEO, so doing everything you can to boost speed is key for performance.
Long gone are the days when web content was nothing more than a delivery vehicle for SEO keywords. Your audience wants nothing to do with content that provides little in terms of value or relevancy. Search engines have also become very sophisticated in the art of picking up on spammy content and businesses that indulge in such strategies will take a hit in the SEO department.
On the other hand, focusing on quality content elevates UX in multiple ways. Obviously, quality content is more meaningful to the person consuming it and this means that they’ll be more likely to linger on your site, make return visits and share your content on other platforms. This is a win-win situation from every angle, including the boost you’ll get in SEO.
The ways that UX is important to SEO listed here are only the icing on the cake. If you’d like to learn more about why UX is important to search engine optimization, including local SEO, then we invite you to contact Knowmad today. We’re an award winning team of digital marketers that provides the SEO services that will help your business succeed. Let’s make 2019 your year for success.
Diona is a managing partner at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.