UX and SEO: Improve Ranking with Better User Experience

Last Updated: 1 Aug, 2021

User Experience (UX) involves all elements and aspects of a product designed to meet your users’ needs and enhance the overall customer journey. With Google & Facebook reportedly dominating 70% of internet traffic globally, a website’s user experience usually starts even before the audience land on a single page. 

By crawling and indexing billions of pages every day, Google includes your website content as part of its user experience. In recent years, Google’s user experience is evolving by actively implementing UX elements into the ranking factors. Take user experiences into account of your SEO strategy effectively help you drive more traffic to a website and bring visitors a seamless experience starting from the search engine results page to get them converted eventually. 

photo 1477013743164 ffc3a5e556da UX and SEO: Improve Ranking with Better User Experience
Source: UnSplash

The UX & SEO Practices that Boost your Ranking

As the world’s leading search engine, besides taking control of your first touchpoint with customers, the tech giant also defines the meaning of a good user experience to some extent. The implementation of Web Vitals and Passage Ranking are examples of Google’s efforts to reward the pages with great content and UX. Here are some essential elements that SEO marketers, UX designers, and developers should pay attention to: 

Optimize UX & Content According to Search Intent 

Being human-centred is one of the top principles apply to both UX Design and SEO. Using website configuration and content components such as structured data, images, and internal links help search engine users swiftly and effortlessly find the information they need. 

For instance, if a user searches “how to buy a house in the United Kingdom”, a step-by-step guide with how-to schema markup might meet his needs. Once the schema markup is appropriately applied, Google will find your page eligible to display the rich result on SERP. 

howto example1 UX and SEO: Improve Ranking with Better User Experience
The how-to rich result makes your website stand out from the SERPs. Image: Google

In addition, adding internal links help the audience dig into a topic more deeply, while optimizing content for image search help satisfy the intent of some of your target audience. These enhancements in user experience favour both your ranking and click-through rate. 

Create High Quality & Engaging Content

Search engine users always have a desire to look for high quality, authentic and original content. Google’s algorithm uses numerous data points to identify whether your piece of writing catches the attention and engage with your audience. 

Writing with your expertise and niche is the easiest way to deliver valuable content. Moreover, you have to make sure the content is easy to read and contains content components to improve the readability, such as headlines tags, bullet points and number lists appropriately inserted. 

“Delicately crafted microcopy help convert and retain users,” Marcus Yick, a UX course instructor and the founder of a UX agency in Hong Kong, explained, “from a holistic view of product design, great microcopy is the essential element of an intuitive experience by providing the users with clear instructions and answers they need.”

As Google tracks and analyzes users’ activities on a website, your UX microcopies will eventually impact various ranking factors such as click-through rates, engagement and bounces rates, and duration of visits.

photo 1486312338219 ce68d2c6f44d UX and SEO: Improve Ranking with Better User Experience
Source: Unsplash

Encourage the audience to engage with your website is not less critical than the writing quality. Apply user-friendly and engaging elements, such as a hotel prices comparison table, an investment calculator, a quiz, or an interactive infographic, drive your website visitors to take actions that increase engagement rate and decrease bounce rate. In the same vein, adopting clear and respectful language for GDPR cookie consent can alleviate user anxieties, promoting trust and thus fostering a positive user experience.

Once your website provides a great user experience that always attracts interactions, you have a better chance to generate leads and sales, bringing you closer to your digital marketing goal. 

Maintain a Good Loading Speed

Website loading speed is a fundamental metric in UX and SEO that determine the performance of any website or digital platform. Research data shows that how user experience would badly be affected by long loading time: 

  • 1/4 users would abandon a website that more than just 4 seconds to load
  • 46% of users would not give a second chance to a poorly performed website
  • 1-second delay reduces customer satisfaction by 16%
  • 64% of dissatisfied shoppers would shop somewhere else next time

The bounces caused by slow web speed is devastating, according to data published by Google :

page load time impact UX and SEO: Improve Ranking with Better User Experience
Source: Google

PageSpeed Insight can analyze the overall performance and receive recommendations to improve the website’s load time. The LCP (largest contentful paint), one of Google’s Core Web Vitals metrics, measures the time needed for the largest content to become visible on a web page. FID (first input delay) measures how long it takes when from a user to start the first interaction before the browser actually reacts. Both LCP and FID performance is accessible on Google Search Console insights and hints on improving the load speed.

After determining the problems, you can start to take appropriate actions such as reducing the sizes of images and files, switching to a better hosting plan or reducing the unused CSS and JavaScript.

Ensure Great Mobile Navigation Experience

More than half of the world’s website traffic comes from mobile devices. In cities like Hong Kong, where the smartphone penetration rate is higher than 90%, the browsing experience on a smartphone could even be more determinant. 

A mobile-friendly, responsive website with a smooth and intuitive navigation experience always positively affects your SEO. Core Web Vitals’ other metric, CLS(Cumulative Layout Shift), tracks the undesired layout shifts causing awful user experience. 

CLS google UX and SEO: Improve Ranking with Better User Experience
Source: Google

The CLS scores for the mobile and desktop versions of a website are reported separately in Search Console, and you will receive a warning whenever an issue is detected. 

Prepare the Best Content for SERPs

Search Engine Results Pages(SERPs) are the pages that Google provide answers to search queries. Google usually chooses the meta titles and descriptions you have filled in to display as one of the results. Along with Writing accurate and attractive descriptions of your content to impress users, adding emoji in your titles and description is an easy trick to help your website stands out from the numerous search results and increase the click-through rates of your website. 

Apart from meta titles and descriptions, you can apply FAQ schema markups into your content to display a list of questions and answers under your description texts. 

On some occasions, Google extracts content from a web page and displays it on Featured Snippets to answer a query. Featured Snippets ranks above #1 result, and that’s why it is described as “position 0”. 

featured snippet UX and SEO: Improve Ranking with Better User Experience
Source: Google

 “Position 0” is the best rankings in organic searches, but only about 11% of the searches come with this result, and Google totally decides the selection of content. Therefore, focusing on meta titles and descriptions and applying schema markups is still the more practical way to control the user experience on the SERPs level. 

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