SEO and UX go hand in hand. The better the user experience that your website and content provide, the more enjoyable your website will be to use and the better your SEO ranking will be. What’s more, Google, and other leading search engines, actively index and rank your website and its pages based your UX features and techniques, once again affecting your SEO ranking.
So, the link between the two is clear, but how can you go about making sure that both of these factors are the best they can be? What features can you change or enhance to ensure that you’re providing the best experience, and coming out at the top of the SERPs?
Today, we’re going to explore seven key tips and changes that you’ll need to make, ensuring that you maximize your website’s opportunities and give your customers what they want.
#1 – Writing Content for Your Reader
As a website designer, writer or business owner, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of trying to optimize your content for the search engines, not for your readers. For example, if you’re writing your content and then stuffing it with keywords and key phrases, as well as considering H1 and H2 title tags, it won’t be long before your content becomes rather unreadable to an actual person.
Of course, unreadable content will only increase your bounce rates and put people off using your website. On the other hand, Google is very clever at detecting this kind of content, and your bounce rates, and will make you down when it comes to your SEO ranking.
In short, when you’re writing your content, read it through several times to make sure that it’s written for the reader, not for an indexing robot.
#2 – Making Your Website & Content Easy to Navigate
When it comes to UX, it’s not all about the actual content that you’ve written, but rather how easy it is for your reader to read it. This means you need to make sure that you’ve got a nice, tidy website that’s easy for your reader to navigate.
You’ll need to organize your website so are using balanced margins and don’t be afraid of white space on your website’s pages. Look at the way that this article is set out. There are even subheadings dividing up each section, and the paragraphs are divided into short and easy to digest segments, making it easier for you to read.
When it comes to the actual layout of your website, be sure to file and store your blog posts, articles and website pages in logical and well-thought-out categories and sub-sections, so the content is easy to navigate and locate. You can also implement easy-to-use menus and even breadcrumbs to improve your customer experience.
#3 – Speed is Essential
Again, relating to both your SEO ranking and your overall user experience, the speed in which your website loads is vital to succeeding in both. In terms of SEO, Google will index and rank your website based on the speed in which it loads.
This is an obvious indexing feature since users are not going to want to sit and wait around on their devices for your website to load. In fact, 73% of users complained that websites they have visited in the last year were too slow and the vast majority of internet users will give up and leave a website if it takes longer than 6-10 seconds to load.
#4 – Creating a Defined Customer Journey
Start on the homepage of your website and map out the journey that a customer would take from your homepage to confirming and purchasing a product or service. Ideally, you’re going to want as few steps as possible, because every step your customers take is another step where they can change their minds.
Additionally, you need to make sure that this journey is clear for both you and your user. If your customers are visiting a certain step and getting confused, they’ll simply leave your website in vote for an easier competitor. Make sure your buttons and calls to action are clear and functional – explains Rebecca Barton, a SEO Manager at Resumention and a Huffington Post contributor.
This will also affect your SEO because Google will index your bounce rate and will rank you down for a poorly implemented customer journey. After all, Google only wants to promote the best quality websites that provide the best experience.
#5 – Mobile Optimization
This is perhaps the most important consideration that you need to remember when it comes to optimizing your website. For the first time in history, internet data passing through mobile devices has surpassed desktop devices, meaning most people are using their phones to access your website.
With this in mind, you need to make sure that you’re giving these mobile users the best experience possible. Otherwise, they’ll leave. If you’ve ever been on an un-optimized website where all the content is hard to read, and you have to zoom in and out to see everything, you’ll know what kind of problem this creates.
Furthermore, Google actively looks for mobile-optimized websites to rank at the top of the SERPS for this exact reason. So, if you haven’t optimized your website for mobile and tablet devices, you’ll be seriously missing out on it comes to people finding your website.
#6 – Think About Every Single Page
You might feel like you need to draw focus to the main areas of your website, namely your homepage, you’re About Us page, your contact page and perhaps even some high-performing blogs on your website.
However, it’s essential that you understand the importance that every single page of your website has on itself and the rest of its connected pages. When it comes to updating your website, its pages and designing and uploading any pages in the future, you need to make sure that each one is optimized for SEO and UX-friendly.
You’ll also need to make sure that you’re checking every single page for mistakes in your written content which will affect both your user experiences and SEO ranking. Thankfully, there are many online tools that can help you to perfect your content;
Grammarix – an online tool to help you check and improve your content’s grammar.
Easy Word Count – a free online tool you can use to track the word count of your content to ensure it’s optimal.
Boomessays – a copywriting and editing tool you can use for optimized and high-quality written content.
#7 – Avoid Flash at All Costs
While the majority of websites have now moved away from using Adobe Flash, it’s safe to say that not all of them have and if you’re still using it on your website, you’re only causing harm to yourself. While Flash used to be an extremely popular way to host content and media on your website, this is no longer the case.
Firstly, Flash will dramatically affect your page’s loading time (see above) which causes an obvious problem. Secondly, if Flash isn’t installed onto your user’s computers, they’ll need to download it before they can see your content, which most users won’t bother doing, and they’ll simply take themselves elsewhere.
Thirdly, Flash isn’t compatible with the vast majority of mobile devices and therefore won’t load. In fact, on many of the leading brands and phone models, Flash is completely impossible to run, so you’ll be immediately pushing these users away from your business.
To give you a rough idea on how badly using Flash will affect your business, Apple refuses to let Flash operate on their systems, yet they hold around 18% of the mobile browser market, meaning you’re already pushing away this percentage of potential customers.
It’s Over to You
As you can see, there are many things you can do when it comes to optimizing your website for both your customers and the search engine giants that you rely on. Bear in mind that you can’t focus on one or the other, you need to find a nice balance in the middle.