How User Experience Can Enhance Search Engine Rankings
Entrepreneurs are people-pleasers and before we even consider venturing into a new business, the first question we should ask ourselves is how a certain idea can help and be of benefit to a target audience on our websites. It isn’t something that is impulsively done; weighing the pros and cons alone already takes up an ample amount of time.
Simply put, designing is tedious work and the results of it, whether good or bad, will always have a mutual effect on both entrepreneurs and customers. If our clients are happy and satisfied, then so will we.
However, this blog is dedicated to the delicate balance needed for user experience and better search results.
The Importance of User Experience
For years, Google has been constantly improving and updating its algorithm to ensure better search results for web users. Even if Google bots are the primary evaluators of a website’s quality, user experience (UX) still plays a vital role in the overall success of a page.
I know I’m not the only one who would agree that page appearance is important. It’s normally the first factor that can spark a web user’s interest.
A website doesn’t necessarily need to have heavily scripted user interface for it to deliver good user experience. Most of the time, a simple layout is enough to reel people in. Other factors that determine web visitors “on-site” visit duration are site speed, navigation, informative content and mobile optimization. Let’s discuss this further.
People nowadays have a highly short-attention span, especially when it comes to web browsing. It’s undeniable that most of us turn to the internet for information and when we do, we expect immediate answers. This is why a website’s load speed is an important aspect that greatly influences user experience. If a webpage takes too long to load, then know for a fact that your web visitors will opt to look someplace else for the information they need.
For you to ensure your website’s fast loading time, there are a couple of measures you can do:
- Clean up your website regularly and run weekly or even daily speed tests so that you can be sure that nothing is interfering with your load times.
- Install a good caching plugin.
- Delete old unused drafts and images.
- When uploading any form of graphical content, make sure to compress it so that it will take as little space as possible. If you’re not knowledgeable on how to compress file size while maintaining the image’s good quality, I highly recommend reading through this article that discusses tips on image optimization.
How a website looks shouldn’t only be easy on the eyes — it must also be simple to understand. Aim to achieve the kind of layout wherein page visitors will be able to perform basic tasks without getting confused on your site’s navigation.
The pages on your site should be easily accessible and the categorization of important and frequently sought for information must be intelligently structured in menus and sub-menus. Aside from a page dedicated for showcasing products and services, a website must also provide an About Us section as well as a Contact Us page so that web users will have a way to get a hold of you if ever the need arises.
Note that Google’s algorithm is programmed to track the user activity going on in every website. This helps it determine how easy people are able to use a page. The simpler it is to navigate through your website, the better.
Just recently, I discussed the significance of content and how it influences search rankings; it’s a topic that has been blogged about countless of times.
If you ask an SEO professional what they think is the most important factor in developing a website, a lot of them will be giving you answers that falls within the lines of providing quality content – which is actually a good advice. When a website gets positive feedback, the reason behind it is likely because it offered the type of content that web users find to be interesting and helpful. No one can argue that good content can bring about positive results to a website. This makes it the key player in the success of a page.
Each of us turns to the web for answers. And when we do, we expect to get relevant information. What we look for is content and so if a website fails to deliver, we look someplace else. On the other hand, if content is presented right, it can be the reason a website is able to attract more visitors. It’s not just about creating a well-coded page; a website should be able to provide an experience that will drive web users to where they need to be, pique their interest and translate their needs. Through this, they may be converted into customers.
It’s undeniable that majority of the things we do nowadays can be done using our smartphones. From looking for specific locations, booking flights and paying bills — almost everything can be accomplished through our mobile devices.
Everyone is always up and about that most of people’s search queries are done using their handheld devices. Compared to desktops, it takes a longer time for a website to load when it is accessed on a smartphone. This is one of the reasons why web developers make it a point to optimize web pages for mobile phones.
If a website is not optimized for mobile devices and has slow loading speed, a complicated layout and navigation, and poor content quality, then no matter how well you do link building and keyword research your website will still end up ranking down rather than up.
Google takes user experience seriously. Like what I have mentioned earlier, these search engines has a way to figure out if web visitors are engaging positively on your website or not.
There are two important indicators Google pays close attention to when it comes to user experience:
Time on page
When a web user performs a certain query, Google’s goal is to provide websites with content that may be able to address the user’s needs.
When creating a webpage, the landing page should be able to answer the needs of the web visitors. Encourage their next action to remain within your website. If a content fails to satisfy their queries, then they will leave.
The length in which people stay in a page is crucial. This alone can give search engines an idea if your website is useful or not. Getting a dwell time of at least a minute is already good. This indicates that web visitors have actually engaged in your content. Less than a couple of seconds can be viewed as a poor result, which brings us to the second indicator Google uses to determine user experience — bounce rate.
When people visit a website, the initial action is to skim through headings and menus. When a site loads slowly or the layout isn’t really that promising at first glance, people will leave your site. This is when bounce rate occurs. When a search engine detects that a website has a high bounce rate, then it can have big effects on its search rankings.
It’s important that as entrepreneurs, you should know what’s happening in the backend of your website. Study how things work and why it needs to be done a certain way.
It’s completely understandable if you would rather focus on offline marketing, that’s what we SEO professionals are here for. However, take time to understand the basics so you’ll know the value you should be expecting to get.