Read further to find out how to improve your SEO by fine-tuning your website’s user experience!
A few words about UX
What is UX precisely?
The Nielsen Norman Group identifies User Experience as “…all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.“
User experience asks many questions, however, the most important ones are currently: Are your users lost on your website? Does it function as well as you think? Do customers have problems with accessing any information? Is your website designed intuitively? Are your menus and information architecture hard to navigate?
All this and more can be researched by a professional or an online tool.
There are many of them on the market and a great example is UXtweak – a free tool that can answer all of your UX questions and help make your digital products as user-friendly as possible.
Briefly about SEO
SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is used by everyone to various degrees of extent. The most basic SEO tactic is setting keywords that represent the content shown on your website/blog.
This helps Google or other search engines when looking up reliable sources of information for the input you have entered in the search bar.
Of course, with 1.7 billion pages, Google has to rank which of these pages are reliable, and then it will eventually find what you are looking for; be it a restaurant near you, the answer to the “Do hedgehogs sneeze?“ question, or information on how many websites there are (look at us casually breaking the third wall).
So, if you want to rank higher, you’ll need to make adjustments based on algorithms. These can be very tricky to navigate since the general public does not even know what they are based upon. Google is open about some aspects, however, it will never reveal its secrets. With that in mind, let’s try to look at some statistics that Google uses that we know of at least, and how they can help you rank higher than your competitors.
How to combine UX and SEO to make your website better
Now, let’s take a look at how you can make some changes to the layout, optimization, loading speed and content, so that your business and website can overtake the competition in the race for relatability on Google.
Adjust the number of pages and subpages in your navigation. This can help Google analyze your website better and therefore it will be rated as highly readable and easy to handle. This will not only help with Search engine optimization, but your customers will also be able to use your website more confidently. Learn more about Website information architecture and how to properly structure and categorize content on your website.
Tools such as Card Sorting or Tree Testing can be of great service here. With the help of your customers, you can manage subsections, ask users to categorize content the way they feel is right and so much more. If you don’t know how such a thing works, you can use our Card Sorting Demo or Tree Testing Demo. They explain everything in detail to help you understand how these two tools work.
Optimization for hand-held devices
Since 2015, Google has been pushing for sites to become more mobile-friendly. Why? It appears that more than half of all searches are made from mobile devices. This may seem improbable at first, but if you think about it, we use our phones all the time. Our computers are now in our pockets, so search engines had to make some crucial changes to their algorithms.
In 2019, Google implemented the “mobile first“ indexing strategy. What that means for you is that your website is no longer ranked in its desktop state, but instead considers the mobile version as the main one. This means that if you don’t have optimization for mobile devices, you can be seriously disadvantaged.
You don’t want your pages to look like that, do you?
Rank higher with your mobile site with these few tips:
- Have the same content on both website models
Google will make sure that both your desktop and mobile version have the same content. If not, this could mean your rank may decrease.
- Make sure Google can take a look at both site types
Google may have a problem rendering and accessing some of the content on both sites. Find what’s causing the rendering issue and take care of this before it’s too late.
- Use the same meta tags and content categorization on both site designs
Search engines will look at the meta tags and H1-H6 categorization on both, so make sure they match or it could cause some trouble with your ranking along the way.
- Match the data
The website’s data should also be similar, if not alike.
Make no mistake, Google will render both sites, its data, content, and meta tags and will make sure they match. If there are some discrepancies, search engines will notice and you can be ranked lower.
So, being mobile-friendly can put you in an advantageous position compared to your not-so-mobile-friendly competitors.
- Improve your mobile UX
Make sure that your mobile website is easy to navigate. This will help you avoid high bounce rates and thus rank higher. For that, we recommend running a free mobile usability test with UXtweak’s Mobile Testing Tool.
Loading speed, your enemy
We all hate to see a white blank page for more than 5 seconds, right? Well, as it seems, Google hates it even more. It has been this way since the dawn of time and the company has been tackling long loading speeds for many years. Try to adjust your website so that there isn’t an outrageous amount of data for the servers to crawl through.
Good content management
If you have any written content on your page, use headings and subheadings to help users and crawlers analyze your content more effectively.
Crawlers are an automated service that search engines use to scan content on websites. With this data, Google and other search engines rank websites on those factors that we have already mentioned and will mention later in the article.
Use H1 (Heading 1) to portray the main message of your post/page. H2-H6 is used to further categorize your content. Use H1 exclusively and no more than once on a single topic. H2-H6 can be used liberally, but you will see that in most instances, only one H1 and two or three H2 will be necessary.
Manage the time users spend on your website
Google also looks at how much time is spent on your website and the intention it is spent on.
But don’t think that if you plaster useless and meaningless text on your site it won’t affect your overall ranking. In fact, it might cause your users to get lost, therefore, spending more time on your webpage is simply not worth it.
On the other hand, if the time spent is used effectively and Google sees you have well-categorized content, this might rank you higher. Please use with caution.
The new age of SEO relies heavily on UX
Now we shall look at the new age of SEO.
That being Google’s Core Web Vitals. These new changes were introduced in mid-July 2021 and focus on 3 signs of a healthy website: Content loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability.
The whole point is enhancing the user experience. Let’s take a close look and see what adjustments you can make, so the website feels better in both users’ and Google’s eyes.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
This metric defines the time needed to load a website’s content. Specifically, the biggest one (be it a picture, video, MP3 file, or other). For a good rating, this should happen 2.5 seconds after clicking on the link to the website or less.
First Input Delay (FID)
Timing your website becomes interactive. In other words, how long will it take until the website starts responding to users’ input. For example, clicking on a button or closing a text blip. This should be no longer than 100 ms.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS counts all unexpected changes in the website’s layout. If a button, text, picture, video, or anything else for that matter is shifted to compensate for a smaller or bigger screen, Google will count it towards the final score. Ideally, the number should be 0. It also counts the time spent on these shifts. This should be no more than 0.1 seconds.
The time it takes to load all your website’s content.
First Contentful Paint (FCP)
The time it takes to load the initial text, logo, pictures, etc.
Total Blocking Time (TBT)
If the time between FCP and TTI takes longer than 50 ms, this metric is also counted.
Time to Interactive (TTI)
The time it takes for the website to not only load content, but become interactive, like clicking on an item in the menu.
Time to First Byte (TTFB)
Counting the time spent getting the first byte of information to the HTTP request of the user. This should take no longer than 600ms.
If you want to make sure your Core Web Vitals are in order and optimize them furthermore, have a glance at the 5 Steps You Can (& Should) Take to Improve Your Core Web Vitals Now blog.
Are you ready to improve your UX and overtake your competitors in SEO?
You have seen all the evidence needed to start thinking about optimizing your UX. It not only helps the users feel more welcome and more confident on your website, but Google also takes notice and could grant you an advantage over your competitors.
What are you waiting for? Go for that first spot on Google, tiger!
Create a free UXtweak account and improve the UX of your product today! Improve your chances for better ranking and happier customers.