5 Ways to Improve User Experience and Search Engine Rankings

Ways to Improve User Experience

I’ve written about User Experience in some of my previous articles. There’s a reason why user experience is so important, both from a conversion standpoint and from an SEO standpoint. In this article, I’m going to cover 5 ways to improve user experience and boost your search engine rankings.

I like to use the metaphor that, if you go to a restaurant, not only are you looking for great food (the product or service), but you also want a great experience (the website). The interior, the food service, the lighting, the atmosphere all contribute to your overall experience of that restaurant and whether or not you would return there.

What Is User Experience?

User Experience can be seen in terms of the behaviours that visitors display when interacting with your website. Do they click off somewhere else after only a couple of pages, or do they become absorbed and curious to learn more? The best user experience is, in essence, one that is hassle free, where the user can navigate the website effortlessly so that your content can be fully communicated.

You can monitor user experience using a tool like Google Analytics to discover how many visitors you’re getting, what your most popular pages are and what is your bounce rate.

Other tools, like CrazyEgg, can be great for understanding where people are clicking by using their heat maps, like the one below.

User Experience Heat Map

Why Is User Experience Important?

According to SEMRush’s Ranking Factors 2.0, the most important factors used by search engines when ranking websites are 1) user experience in the form of direct website visits, 2) time on site, 3) pages per session and 4) the bounce rate.

SEO Ranking Factors

Therefore, it’s safe to say that you need to keep visitors on your website in order to rank high in the search engines.

Not only that, but creating an experience that people enjoy, or delivering information that people need, can help you to sell more products or services and create an affinity with your brand.

That being said, keeping visitors on your website isn’t always the easiest practice, especially for local businesses with small brochure websites.

So, what are the 5 ways to improve user experience and keep your visitors glued to your site?

Page Speed

Page speed is arguably one of the most crucial ways to improve user experience.

It’s is not only essential for keeping visitors on your site, it’s also one of Google’s many ranking factors.

Think about it, how many times have you visited a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load and, as a result, exited that page?

Section.io has demonstrated that a slower loading website will experience a bounce rate of over 30%.

Page Speed Optimisation

We live in an age where people’s attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter. Page speed is an essential element in improving user experience and retaining your visitor’s interest.

Write & Optimise Blog Articles

Because people consume content like nothing else.

50% to 80% of searches have informational intent, meaning that articles and videos are essential for keeping people on your website. Additionally, ensuring you have good internal linking will go a long way to expanding the time that people stay on your site.

Here’s are 3 quick tips to optimise your blog pages and their content:

1.     Include Images

Images are a blog’s best friend. They can help to demonstrate your point, are visually appealing and increase social media shares.

2.     Add Infographics

People love infographics, and so do search engines. People love to share infographics, which means they’re great for gaining exposure to your article and building backlinks.

3.     Use Spacing

It is essential to get text and line spacing right. Similar to including images and infographics, spacing out your paragraphs and lines can be more appealing to the eye.

Also, when you’re linking out to other websites, ensure you are setting those hyperlinks to open in a new tab. To do this, simply click on the 3 dots and select open in new tab.

Open In New Tab Tutorial

Use Video

Behind Google, Youtube is the second largest online search engine.

People are consuming video more than any other online form. It’s why so many influencers are making so much money through their videos and online content.

People would much rather watch a video than read an article. But, videos are also great for repurposing content. When you make a video you can take that same information and content and adapt it to write a blog article, make social media posts, create a podcast episode… So the video content can be easily spread across different forms.

Not only is video exceptional at keeping people on your website for longer, but it can also increase conversion rates.

Video Marketing Conversion Rates

Exit Based Popups

Popups are a nuisance for many website visitors and not something that I would often advise using. However, there are various types of popups that you’ll see on different websites and not all of them are equally annoying.

Some popups can appear when you first visit the website. Others can appear after a certain period of time (say 10 seconds). But the best type of popup is the exit popup.

Exit popups are based on user behaviour. When a user visits your site, the popup will be nowhere to be seen. But when a user moves their mouse or cursor outside of the page, say on another tab or near the exit button, your popup will appear.

One of the best ways of encouraging visitors to stay on your site is by using a “suggest related posts” popup:

Related Posts Popup

Alternatively, an email subscription popup has the advantage that it entices people to return to your website, which is a big ranking factor with the search engines.

For ecommerce websites, an exit based discount popup is a great way to encourage people either to buy something now, or to revisit the website later.

The good people over at OptinMonster have put together a great article all about exit popups.

Optimise Your Checkout Process

Many e-commerce websites have terribly slow and mundane checkout processes. The aim should be to keep it simple. The more straightforward your checkout process is, the more likely customers are to buy and, equally important, to return.

Things like additional shipping fees, forced account creation and other complexities can increase shopping cart abandonment.

Look at these statistics, compiled by Big Commerce, identifying the most common reasons for cart abandonment:

User Experience Statistics

Fortunately, cart abandonment isn’t a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.

That being said, a high cart abandonment rate is a clear sign that something isn’t right.

So, what can you do about it?

Buy Now!

The first thing I would do is to eliminate the need to add to the cart when it is not necessary.

Although you may have lots of products to sell, many customers are looking to buy just the one item. Adding a ‘buy now’ button, as well as the ‘add to cart’ button, can speed up the checkout process, especially for people with big thumbs who are buying on their mobiles.

Most online purchases are impulse buys, meaning visitors were simply browsing when they made an impulse decision to ‘add to cart’ and then checkout. Reducing the time it takes to checkout by including a ‘buy now’ button can increase the number of users who complete the checkout process.

Keep it Clean

When it comes to product pages, white space is key.

Here, Bulk Powders does a great job of keeping it’s product pages very clean. Any additional information is provided below the product and the ‘add to cart’ section of the page.

The ‘add to basket’ button stands out and shows clearly what I need to do in order to buy this product.

Product Page Optimisation

Product pages should be simple. Don’t try to be too fancy with your call to actions or with your copywriting. People just usually want to know how to order the product or locate any information or reviews about it.

Conclusion

The more Google evolves, the more user experience will be a factor in determining which websites they choose to rank, and in which order of priority.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you optimise for user experience by incorporating at least some of the suggestions in this article.

Let us know what steps you’ve taken to optimise your website for user experience in the comments section below.

Alternatively, get in touch with us to discuss how we can help improve your website. There’s always someone available at DigiPlix.

Digital Marketing Berkshire

Daniel Davies

Daniel Davies is Co-Founder and Head of SEO and Social Media at DigiPlix. He is a Kingston University graduate and also a former professional ice hockey player. Daniel developed an interest in business during his GCSE's, however it wasn't until he found Digital Marketing that he decided to begin his entrepreneurial career.

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