What is User Experience?
User experience is exactly what is says. It is how a user interacts with your site and their behaviors in doing so. If the user is a repeat visitor to your site, spends a significant amount of time on it and navigates the site with ease, this alerts search engines that your site provides great UX (user experience) and should be boosted in the rankings. UX and SEO fit together perfectly because they share a symbiotic relationship – providing sought help. SEO will lead a person to the content that they seek and UX will answer their questions once a user is on the site.
How To Get UX Right In Relation To SEO
Since they are nothing without the other, tactics for both definitely influence its partner. Headings, Quality Content, Mobile Responsiveness and Page Speed are a few of the main factors that can bolster each other when done correctly. Both SEO and UX need to focus on their part in order to complete the whole.
SEO – Your site should be optimized to work across every device. Start by using a mobile responsive design when you create your website. If you already have a site, you may want to consider rebuilding it on a responsive site instead of having two versions to manually maintain. If your URL starts with an “m”, you definitely need to change your site to a responsive version because “m” URLs are not indexed.
UX – Your mobile experience comes down to speed and navigation. Is it easy to find information on your mobile site? Are words just too tiny to see? If your above-the-fold real estate is taken up by logos, social media buttons, ads or other useless information, you are losing the precious seconds it takes to keep the user’s attention on your page. Make sure your menu, products and services are the most prominent things seen on your mobile site. Keep design sleek and simple and put the focus on answering the questions they are seeking.
SEO – Headings are crucial for showing search engines what content sections are providing and how they should be processed. Only use one H1 heading on each page because that shows spiders that this is the most important element on a page. Consider using keywords at the beginning of a heading to give a little juice to your ranking. Headers such as H2 through H6 should follow an H1 but only used when it makes sense. Consider the number after the h a signal for how important the content is. Many times you will only use an h1 and a couple of h2s.
UX – Headings also help a user visually navigate the content. An H1 sticks out as the most important and draws the eye first. After that, the headings make it easier for the user to understand and digest your content.
Image tags are just as important to both and should provide details whether an image loads or not so be sure to fill those out.
Navigation and Structure
SEO – Site Structure is simply how your website is set up. It is how your sub-pages are linked together within menus and other places on the site and how quickly spiders can find these pages. Site structure is a road map for search engines to follow. A site needs to be easy to navigate because a spider may not land on your home page. It needs to know what your site is about and how to traverse it easily.
By providing relevant content and having a solid site structure, this allows for the possibility of Google being able to show your site links on the rankings page. This is excellent because you will take up more space on the results page.
UX – It all comes down to navigation. Users should never have to think about their next step because you seem to provide a path for them to follow naturally. You should avoid popups, long option lists or dead ends where a user can’t seem to get back to the homepage or onto another section of your site. Make sure your menus do NOT take up too much space on the page. A user will tire quickly of a menu that blocks out their entire mobile screen. Clear, simple and easy to use menus and navigation of your site is key to user experience.
The master key to the whole rankings chest is content. You need to be providing high-quality, relevant information for users. You are essentially answering the questions they seek answers for via search engines. Quality content not only drives rankings in SEO but is the crucial element of UX.
SEO – Make sure each page content is over 600 words and explores a user’s query in-depth to fully provide all the answers. You should also be working on internal link structure within your content but remember that relevancy is of the utmost importance. Another significant part of the quality aspect is site speed. You need to make sure your images are optimized correctly, you know your browser and/or host limitations and you have clean code. There are several other elements of page speed that you should be implementing as well.
UX – It all comes back to the content. If you write or create media that addresses the user’s question in detail and provides up to date, relevant information, this is the heartbeat for a great user experience. When a user can get everything they need from your site, you become the authority and search engines take note of this. Make page layout a part of your focus as well. What use is great content if it is too hard to read or one massive block of text that puts the reader to sleep. Break up how you present your content: lists, short paragraphs, media, headings, etc. Page speed also plays a factor in UX because if your site is not quick and takes too long to load, a user will leave and is not likely to return. This can hurt you in search rankings.
SEO and UX Are Two Peas In A Pod
While the list above is by no means a complete list of the different SEO and UX tactics that can improve each other, it is a solid foundation of the most important elements that should be addressed immediately. Keep fine tuning your site and keep the symbiotic relationship of UX and SEO in the forefront of your mind. Search engines are paying attention to how your site is nurturing this relationship and how valuable it is to a user.
Over time, you will discover more ways to maximize the potential of this union and increase your search rankings.
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