In recent times search engines like Google have been tweaking their ranking factors and the way they position websites in the SERPs.
Although there is still a requirement to have quality backlinks and keywords within your page content, they are placing more importance on your user’s experience.
- What are UX SEO Best Practices?
- 1. Page Speed / Load Times
- 2. User Focussed Design
- 3. Responsive Design to Improve Bounce Rate
- 4. Dwell Time
- 5. H1 and H2 Content Headings
- 6. Content… Content… Content!
- 7. Clear and Considered Navigation
- 8. Site Structure and Landing Pages
- 9. Accessibility
- 10. Shareable on Social Media
- Want more tips on how to rank better?
What are UX SEO Best Practices?
SEO expert Neil Patel puts it simply “Google wants to rank sites you want to see”. So websites that load fast, are easy to use and offer content the users want will flourish with Google’s algorithm.
It’s vital to consider UX when developing a SEO strategy, so here is our list of the top 10 UX components for you to consider when optimising for search engines.
1. Page Speed / Load Times
If your page takes over 3 seconds to load, more than 50% of your users will leave before they even reach your site. But your load time is also an important factor when looking at how ux affects SEO and your ranking on search engines.
Google PageSpeed Insights is an easy to use, free tool to quickly test the speed of a web page and will even give you a list of recommendations on how to improve your speed. You should be aiming for a score of 85+ here.
2. User Focussed Design
Put simply, UX means thinking about how a potential customer will engage with your idea, and UI is how it looks and feels. From product discovery, customer research, platform logic, user personas, empathy maps, prototypes, you should leave no stone unturned when planning the user experience UX for your site or platform.
When looking at web design, you should be building pages that serve a user’s search query. For example, If you have lots of people searching for “how much does a UX audit cost?” The landing page you create should include related content on this topic.
3. Responsive Design to Improve Bounce Rate
It goes without saying in this day and age that your site should be optimised for all screens and devices.
If your site loads poorly on mobile devices (poor mobile responsiveness) you will see a high bounce rate and you will be penalised by search engines.
It’s worth noting here that a high bounce rate is not always a bad thing. When looking at it from a UX perspective, it could mean that the user has found what they are looking for without having to navigate away from the initial landing page.
To check how mobile-friendly your site is, enter your URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and you’ll get the result in a matter of seconds.
4. Dwell Time
Dwell time is the time between a user clicking on a link in the SERP (search engine results page) and then returning back to the SERP. The more time a user spends on your website, the better.
From a UX and SEO stand point the goal is to create a good user flow and engaging content that keeps the user on page for as long as possible. This can be achieved through informative FAQ’s, interactive elements and the use of video.
Use Google Analytics to dive into your user engagement metrics and then segment this audience down to organic search through ‘Acquisition = All traffic = Channels = Organic Search’ to see the data from your organic traffic.
5. H1 and H2 Content Headings
Having H1 and H2 headings in your page content is just as important as having a meta title and meta description for your page.
Think of them as areas to add additional keywords such as questions or long tailed search terms. The best length for a H1 is between 20-70 characters and for H2 between 50–160 characters. Do your keyword research and get creative with it!
6. Content… Content… Content!
Quality content is one of the top ranking factors search engines look at when positioning sites on the SERP.
As stated on the Google Search Central Blog, ‘A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.’
So Google will favour pages that offer detailed, informative content that keeps users engaged.
And there’s no restrictions on length either, although you should stick to around 1,000 words and include plenty of CTA’s and resources along the way!
7. Clear and Considered Navigation
Having a hard to navigate site and complex menu is a common example of how UX affects SEO.
The site menu should be accessible on all devices and from any page on your website. It’s worth adding a search bar for sites with a large number of pages and try to avoid more than two levels of navigation. For mobile, it’s best to incorporate a sticky menu so that a user has access to it from anywhere on the page.
8. Site Structure and Landing Pages
It’s best to take a linear approach to the URL structure. Begin with the homepage and work on how the remaining pages fit into the user flow.
It’s also worth noting that users are unpredictable and won’t necessarily follow the flow you anticipate they will, so internal linking should be a key part of your UX SEO audit and strategy.
Accessibility is a hot topic in the technology industry, but many businesses struggle with how to approach it.
As well as being socially responsible and making sure your site is accessible and user friendly for all, being fully accessible will also give you big gains in the search results and help to increase your organic traffic.
Off the shelf tools, such as accessiBe, can help you achieve your accessibility goals, which will likely be more appealing to budget conscious businesses looking for a quick solution.
10. Shareable on Social Media
Search engines like content that’s been shared on social platforms and has been accessed from a variety of sources and mediums.
A good way to get your content shared is by adding social media share buttons to pages and articles. This can be seen on many of top ranking websites through sticky share icons that move with the user as they scroll through the content.
Want more tips on how to rank better on search engines?
So we’ve answered your question – does UX impact SEO? It’s now time to do something about it.
Here at Code23 we follow a user-centric approach with cutting-edge UX/UI methodologies to bring functionality and form together – creating inspiring, usable, thoughtful designs.
Speak to us about our award winning UX work and how our UX workshops can improve your SEO performance.