user experience and search engine optimisation

Written by Laura Farkas

Updated June 4, 2024

User Experience and SEO – What’s the Connection

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Not many people know this, but user experience is a part of your website’s overall SEO score, and it should never be neglected. You have to understand the fundamentals of SEO as much as you understand the behaviour of your market and your users’ experience. In fact user experience and SEO go hand in hand. 

It’s often too hard to see the wood from the trees, so take a step back and step into your customer’s shoes. In this post we will talk about aligning your website usability with your SEO goals the smart way. 

 

User Experience and SEO Explained 

In essence, user experience impacts your SEO and your SEO will have an impact on your user experience. When building a new website or rebuilding it, it’s always important to design the content, layout, and navigation with your target audience in mind as well as search engines. There are some technical elements of search engine optimisation such as speed and navigation that will make a huge difference in your rankings. 

What is SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimisation and it is a term that is used more often than understood. Unfortunately, there are tons of aspects of website SEO and user experience many professionals don’t even know about. And that hurts their clients’ rankings. Basically, search engine optimisation is the process to optimise your site for maximum visibility in search engines. 

What Is User Experience

User experience can be treated as a part of SEO, but it is a different angle to making your website perform well. User experience includes making sure that the site has a logical structure, it is easy to navigate, it’s easy to see the most important piece of content, and it’s also easy on the eye. Don’t forget about mobile optimisation and speed optimisation, either. So, this area of SEO is just as complex as others. And just as important. 

How SEO and UX Can Go Together 

UX and SEO

User experience and SEO can work together very well, and can enhance each other’s impact. A site that is hard to navigate will not get a good enough engagement rate to be trusted by search engines. However, a site that is not visible to Google crawlers can be as good as it gets; it will not get the initial visit from the target audience. 

If you can focus on both SEO and UX at the same time when creating a website strategy, your job will be much easier than trying to fix what wasn’t done right the first time. Believe us; we have been there, done that. It always takes longer to redo an SEO and UX plan than to design and implement it from scratch. 

 

How User Experience Impacts SEO 

User experience impacts engagement rates and bounce rates. The higher the engagement rate on your website is, the more Google will trust you, the higher your domain authority will be and the better you will rank for your target keywords. It’s not a secret and hasn’t been for a long time: google wants you to write for your human readers first, then search engines. 

Page Speed

Page speed is a very important factor in both user experience and SEO. Slow websites and pages can lead to high bounce rates and lower search engine rankings. Most people will not stick around to wait until your images and videos load; they will click on the next search result. Optimising your website for fast speed can improve both user journeys and SEO performance.

Navigation

A clear and intuitive website navigation system improves your visitor’s experience by helping them quickly find the information and areas of websites they are looking for.. Search engines also love well-structured navigation, good structure, internal linking, and a design that is not cluttered with irrelevant content.

 

Engagement Rate

user engagement example

If you have ever checked your Google Analytics account, you might have seen the engagement rate. On our blog, we are lucky to have an engagement rate of above 85 percent, but this is far from typical. 

One of the things you can do is break up the longer content into shorter sections and add a quick navigation or navigation features to your site, so people don’t have to scan through the full page before they find what you want them to see. 

On another hand, valuable useful content always increases engagement. You want to keep people on the site, and that only works if you give them enough reasons to stay or click on other pages. 

Useful Content 

To get a low bounce rate (number of people turning around from your site after a few seconds) and get a high engagement rate, you need to provide value. It’s as simple as that. Just using AI for SEO will not cut it. There are plenty of search engines telling you exactly what people are interested in and what they are asking in communities. Answerthepublic and Alsoasked are just some examples. Make sure that you get to know your ideal audience and understand their most important problems and questions. If you can address them in your content, you can answer the most important question they have when visiting your site: “What’s in it for me and why should I care?

Site Structure 

Believe me when I say: we have fixed some really bad navigation in the past. We’ve had menus that were 6-level deep and some that dropped down well below the first screen. Simplifying your menu is only one of ways of improving UX for SEO. Creating cornerstone posts and pages, building an internal linking strategy, and writing engaging headlines that tell readers what to expect are also important. 

You don’t want a huge menu, nor a huge chunk of content that scares visitors away. Use images for signposting sections of the content, and to break up the text. 

Think of your navigation as your shop front: what do you want your visitors to see? A shop owner will not put all their products in the window, nor should you. 

 

SEO UX Best Practices 

best practices list sEO

Search engine optimisation and user experience are not only about adding the keywords in the right places. There are plenty of technical elements of SEO you have to take care of. For example, you will get more SEO leads if you talk the language of your audience, but you get more traffic if you use the keywords they are searching for. 

Below you will find a quick list of best SEO UX best practices to implement in your online marketing strategy.

Testing Regularly

The one thing that’s certain about websites is that they break and change on their own. You might have a new update, and suddenly… something stops working. If it is your contact form, you will lose out on lead generation. Plus people who tried to get in touch will not take you seriously any more. 

At LMNts Marketing, we conduct an UX test every 6 months, to ensure that everything is working as it should. This includes appearance, performance, speed, clicking on buttons, submitting forms, conducting a search, etc. Even though it is a lengthy process, it is an important task. 

 

Core Web Vitals

You will also have to monitor errors on your site. These are mostly invisible, and cannot be spotted unless you check the Core Web Vitals or have access to an SEO software that does. You will have to check whether you’ve got 404 (not found) pages, or if you have images that are not displayed. 

Your speed test should also be tested regularly. Whenever you update your theme, it might overload the system without you noticing it. We mainly work on Divi, and it is notoriously difficult to optimise for speed, as it is CSS-heavy. But over the years we’ve found some tricks on how to tame the code, as it makes a huge difference in our rankings. 

Your technical SEO report will also tell you whether you’ve got multiple H1 tags on a page, or if you have missing titles or descriptions. The larger your website (and team) is the more likely you will come across this issue. 

 

Mobile First Optimisation 

Most of your traffic will come from mobile devices, and even if you are in B2B, at least half. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure that the speed of your site on your mobile is as fast as it gets. You can disable styles and images, even videos, or invest in a software that does this automatically. 

Think about your user: mobile visitors generally have a much shorter attention span than those sitting behind a desktop. So, if you have a lot of text, try to disable some sections people in a hurry or on the move will not want to read. 

Most website builders now have built in mobile optimisation, but you should not take this for granted. Always double check the appearance of your pages on multiple screens and devices manually. 

Rich Snippets

If you don’t have structured data enabled on your site, chances are that you are losing out on valuable traffic and leads. Rick snippets make it easy for search engines to crawl your site, and if you help them out they will help you out, too. Rich snippets are extremely important for WooCommerce or other eCommerce websites.

Contrast – Accessibility

If you haven’t logged into your search console for a while, you might not have noticed that accessibility is an important factor in search engine ranking. If your buttons don’t have enough contrast, your fonts are not readable, you have too many shadows, animations, and it is hard to see the contrast, you are in trouble and your SEO will be affected because of your poor user experience. 

 

Yes, the above is not a complete list. There are many more things to take care of, but this list should be your Bible if you would like to improve your search engine rankings. 

 

What an SEO Audit Can Tell You About User Experience

We regularly update our SEO and site audit, so we can spot errors and easy fixes until they build up. So, if you think that the job of a search engine optimisation company is exhausted once they have input some keywords and updated your content, you are very wrong. In fact, the job is only starting with that. Search engine optimisation and user experience improvements is an ongoing process. You neglect it for a few months, Google updates the rules, and your site starts slowly disappearing from search results. 

Resources:

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/12195621?

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9212670?hl=enhl=en#:~:text=The%20engagement%20rate%20is%20the,sessions%20that%20were%20not%20engaged.

https://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/theme-releases/divi-performance

 

 

Would you like to have expert guidance on your current SEO project or want us to create a custom plan that takes care of user experience and SEO? Get in touch to arrange an SEO consultation with one of our experts.


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