User experience (now in modern UX) refers to how the user feels when browsing the web: what they interpret as important, what actions they understand they can do, and what kinds of decisions they end up making. There are many things that affect that experience, and elements of web design or page programming coexist, but also more intangible things such as brand trust.
The paths of SEO and user experience have at times been divergent or parallel, but the trend is for them to go one. In the end, Google wants that when you search for something on its network, and it offers you a series of results, the one you choose satisfies the demand you had. So in 99% of cases onwards, when we go to make a decision to benefit SEO, let’s think about what the user wants, and usually it will also be what Google values the most. Despite all the imperfections that Google still has, and although sometimes you will see that your websites interact in the SERPs with pages that try to alter the algorithm and deceive Google, sooner or later we will pass them by. In short: if a user’s experience on the web is adequate, they will find the information they are looking for, navigate through its sections, and so on. And the search engine will understand that she has landed on a website with quality content and closely related to her search. That’s more SEO points. On the contrary, a bad user experience will give you a low conversion rate in the short term, and in the medium term a decrease in SERPs.
How to improve the user experience on a website
There are a series of basic actions that you must take into account, as they have a direct impact on the user experience on your website. These are:
Loading speed is the main reason for abandoning a website, especially on mobile devices. You can know the loading speed of your website through Google’s Speed Test, placing your URL. Be careful, the speed is different for each URL on your website: main page, service, blog post, and so on. Any page that is relevant at the level of positioning, must load as quickly as possible.
This is something fundamental, since the user will always prefer well-designed, written and presented content, and Google will reward it. Poor quality content will also give negative signals to Google: pogo sticking, bouncing, or very low conversions. If you consult any Black Hat SEO website you will see that it can also be positioned from automatic websites, with meaningless texts from translation strings and others, but this is not the type of SEO that we do or recommend, because of its danger in the medium term, and because if Google and the rest of the search engines are fine-tuning in the sense of better detecting the quality and naturalness of the content, this type of practice should be more penalized.
Google values that you have the web adapted for mobile devices. And not only that, but in many cases Google will only track the mobile version of your website. There are several ways to make a responsive website: have several versions of the website (one for mobile and one for PC), or the most recommended option, the responsive fluid. With this system, the elements are adapted and redistributed for each type of screen and device. The logic that Google follows in this section is similar to the previous ones: a version of your website that is well adapted to mobile phones will offer a better user experience, and that will be rewarded by the user, and therefore, by the search engine. You can check if your website is correctly adapted to mobiles according to Google standards through this link, or in the Search Console section dedicated to mobile usability.
Web design oriented to usability
It is important that in addition to proposing an aesthetically beautiful website, above all it is easily usable, so that a user without a high level of technology or knowledge of the matter, can intuitively navigate through our site. Today a web design that does not take UX into account is doomed to fail.
Advantages of having a good user experience
Reduce the bounce rate: if we make it easy for the user to find what we offer, and this is related to what they have searched for, they will stay on our website and navigate through it. Consequently, our bounce rate will be reduced.
CTR improvement. The Click Thoughty Rate is the percentage of clicks that a result receives, in relation to the times it has been viewed. If a user clicks on my page and ends up finding what he wants there, he will no longer return to the results page. Points for Google.
Increase in conversions – This is usually a consequence of all of the above. If it turns out that the user finds the information they are looking for on our website, and we also make it easy for them to interact with the calls to action that we propose, that will lead to an increase in the conversion rate, whatever our objective: to carry out a purchase, submit a form, visit a specific page, and so on.
Improvement of SEO positioning: the virtuous circle that is generated ends up causing Google to know that our website is valuable for users, and as a consequence it will have better positioning in the medium term. If, in addition to structuring the information clearly, we also do it for Google spiders, this will make it easier for Google to label my information well and my content is more indexed and positioned in better positions.
Conclusions about UX and SEO
The thesis that this article defends is that, if you put the usability of the user at the center of what the design and architecture of the web should be, this will facilitate the understanding of our contents by the user, and an intuitive navigation for find what you are looking for. If we add this to quality content, our website will be rewarded by the user and also by Google, since its algorithms and spiders are also on the trend of prioritizing the user experience.