Here’s How UX Can Impact Your SEO Strategy

Start improving your user experience and start ranking higher in search results.

SEO is an ever-changing area of digital marketing. In the past, ranking on the first page of Google had little to no strategy involved. If you were creating content with the right keywords, you were likely to land yourself a spot in the top results 

Now, simply adding keywords throughout your articles won’t cut it. You need to have a user-centric way of thinking and start building content around their wants and needs. Doing this will not only impact your SEO ranking but also provide a better user experience

In this article, we’ll take a look at how UX can impact SEO and provide you with details on how to start moving toward a user-centric mindset. 

Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover: 

  • What user experience is
  • How UX and SEO work together
  • UX and SEO best practices to know
  • 3 ways to improve your UX for higher SEO rankings

How UX Can Impact Your SEO Efforts

When SEO came around, it was all about keywords and backlinks, but as search engines continue to change their algorithms, so do SEO best practices. 

In an effort to continue to provide users with the most relevant content to their needs, Google continues to move towards more user-friendly results. This means that you can no longer simply keyword stuff a poorly written, non-educational article and expect it to rank on the first page of Google’s search results. 

You now need to take the time to understand your users and create content that is catered to them. This means you need to shift to a user-centric way of mind. From the content you develop to your website’s usability, it all needs to put the user’s need first.

By putting the user’s needs first, you’re now moving towards improving your site’s user experience -- also known as UX. 

What is User Experience? 

Before getting too far into the weeds, let’s make sure everyone is on the same page about exactly what UX is. 

UX is short for user experience. User experience is the idea of creating a user-centric web experience. This means optimizing your site based on who your users are and how they interact with your content.

Why is UX important? Research shows that, on average, every $1 invested in UX brings $100 in return. That’s an ROI of 9,900%. 

UX has significant potential for companies looking to improve ROI. By simply choosing to put your users first and build content that they want and need -- you’ll quickly increase your bottom line. Image courtesy of Intechnic.

Several different factors can affect the user experience, but in the end, you’ll want to create an experience that is:

  • Useful: the content you create should be original and benefit your customers
  • Usable: your website must be easy to use
  • Desirable: you’ll want to make your content desirable through emotion and appreciation
  • Findable: users should be able to find and navigate to the products or content easily they’re looking for
  • Accessible: everything must be accessible to people with disabilities
  • Credible: building credibility will allow users to trust and believe what you’re telling them

All of these factors play into why UX and SEO work together perfectly. Now that you have a basic understanding of UX let’s start digging into how it can impact your SEO strategy. 

How UX and SEO Work Together

When you think about SEO and UX’s primary goal, it’s easy to understand how they work together. We are talking about providing relevant answers and content to users based on the questions they are asking. 

So how exactly do these two things work together to meet this goal? SEO helps users find the content they are looking for, and UX provides them with the answers to their questions.

Knowing that search engines are continuously working to provide customers with the most relevant content to their queries, it’s easy to understand how UX can impact your SEO rankings. 

Think about this example. 

If a user is searching for a new computer and types something like “what is the best computer for gaming” into Google, they expect that the results will come back with articles about the best gaming computers. 

But what if the search results came back with “The best TVs for your living room”? The user is likely confused and frustrated that they cannot quickly and easily find the answer to their question. 

This is a poor experience and not one that Google wants you to have when using their search engine. That’s why UX factors are built into the algorithm to ensure that the content that comes back is relevant to the user’s wants and needs. 

Now, let’s take a quick look at a few common UX and SEO practices you’ll want to know. 

UX and SEO Practices to Know

We all know that there are plenty of different best practices out there to develop the perfect SEO strategy. In this section, we’ll look at a few methods that cross over from UX to SEO and discuss how they can impact your rankings. 

These are a few great places to get started improving your UX and SEO, but once you get started, there are plenty of different ways you can continue to improve. 

  • Image tags and headlines. Not only do they tell search engines what the page is about, they allow the user to understand what content lives within each section quickly. Having a clear page hierarchy will improve page readability and positively impact SEO. 
  • In-depth content that answers all questions. Creating in-depth content will ensure that you are fully answering the question the user asked. Generally, creating content with more than 600 words will perform best. If your content does not provide users with the answers to their questions and quickly leave your site, it will negatively impact your SEO. 
  • Mobile friendly. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly yet -- it’s time to get on that! When you consider that 52% of global internet traffic comes from mobile devices, your site needs to be responsive, or you’ll have a negative SEO ranking. 
  • Page speed. If your website does not load quickly, you will lose visitors (which hurts your SEO ranking). In fact, just a 2-second delay in load time results in abandonment of up to 87%. 

Now that you have a basic understanding of how UX and SEO can work together let’s take a deeper dive into a few ways to improve your UX to increase your SEO rankings. 

3 Ways to Improve Your UX for Higher SEO Rankings

So how exactly do you put all of this to work, and what matters when it comes to SEO rankings? In this section, we’ll take a deeper dive into a few different ways you can improve your UX to see higher SEO rankings. 

  1. Create Amazing Content Your Users Need

This one might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s one of the most critical steps when it comes to UX and SEO. If you’re not creating content based on your users’ needs, you’re missing a huge opportunity. 

Creating custom and relevant content will improve the on-site user experience and the overall improvement of your company’s opinion. By considering the user’s needs, you can easily create the relevant content they're looking for and start building relationships. Image courtesy of Speaking Socially.

If you’re having a hard time determining what your users are searching for, do a little keyword research. This will help you make informed decisions about what content you should be creating with the knowledge that it will directly impact your SEO scores.

But it’s not just about creating content based on common keywords. Your content needs to be enticing and keep users on your site. If they can’t quickly scan the page and find what they are looking for, they’ll leave your site within seconds -- a no-no when it comes to SEO. 

So, you’ve done your keyword research. Now what? 

The next thing you’ll want to do is start thinking about the content from the user’s perspective. To do this, consider things like: 

  • What are their pain points?
  • How can your products or service help solve this?
  • What content is already available about this topic?
  • How can you make your content stand out from this existing content?
  • What stage of the sales funnel or buyer’s journey are these users in? 
  • What types of content do they need based on their position in the funnel or journey? 

The more you think about the content from the user’s perspective, the better experience you will create for them. Once you’ve identified what content to make, you can provide the right content at the right time, which will improve both UX and SEO. 

  1. Create SEO and UX Friendly Layouts Across Your Site

Once you’ve identified the content your users want, the next step is making sure you’re creating layouts across your site that is both SEO and UX friendly. If you have amazing content that isn’t digestible and keeps your users’ interest -- you won’t see the highest SEO impact. 

Here are a few tips for making your content both SEO and UX friendly:

  • Create digestible content: make sentences and paragraphs short, include bullets to break-up the page, add headers to help organize your page and build a content hierarchy, include images to help depict the content at hand
  • Use headers and keywords appropriately: only include one header 1 tag that tells the user exactly what the article is about, then use header 2 and 3 tags to build out supplementary content, make sure to include keywords that help identify what each section is about
  • Include images and videos: keep the interest of your users by incorporating visual elements; pictures and videos can complement your content and help explain a concept; these can also be optimized for SEO to help improve the ranking
  • Include a clear call to actions: there’s a goal you’re trying to accomplish with each page on your website; make sure to include a call to actions to increase conversion rates and give users what they were looking for
  • Link to related content: keep users on your site and move them further down the funnel by sharing related content that may be of interest to them; internal linking will also help improve your SEO efforts

All of these different factors impact your SEO ranking, but you can’t forget about your keywords. You’ll always want to include keywords in your highly ranked factors, such as the page title, alt tags, and more. 

Many different factors come into play when creating an SEO friendly layout. But by including your main keywords in these high impact locations, you’ll tell users what the content is about and increasing SEO ranking. Image courtesy of Hook Agency

While some of these page factors hold higher weight than others, in the end, they all work together to create a positive on-site experience for the user, resulting in better SEO scores.

  1. Simplify Your Site Navigation

Last but not least is the idea of simplifying your site navigation to make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. 

Many companies find themselves with websites with a very complex hierarchy, and navigation isn’t as straightforward as possible. If this sounds like you, this is a great place to do some cleaning up to improve your site’s UX and SEO. 

One way to get started with cleaning up your site navigation is to use search data to help you identify what your users are looking for. Knowing this information can help you make data-driven decisions about what content needs to be visual and included within your site navigation and what can be internally linked throughout your site.

Remember to keep the need of your user in mind throughout the process of simplifying your site navigation.

Improve Your UX and SEO to Start Ranking Higher 

Now that you have a better idea of how UX and SEO work together, you can start making a plan to improve your site experience and start ranking on Google. While it might take a little time to get yourself shifted into a user-centric mindset, it’s a great way to continue to provide users with a great experience -- and catch the attention of Google. 

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