Search engine optimization focuses on making sure that different aspects of your website are optimized to fit the standards of search engines. This helps in making sure that your web pages rank higher in search engine result pages. Ultimately, this attracts organic traffic to your website, therefore, helping you establish a good online presence.
But if SEO is so focused on making your website look good for search engines, how does user experience play a role in this? This is where user experience SEO comes into play.
What is User Experience?
User experience (UX) is concerned with all aspects of interaction and overall experience of users with a product, system, service, or company. It takes into consideration the user’s opinion regarding utility, ease of use, and efficiency of what they’re using.
Every touchpoint between the user and the company is reviewed in user experience.
How are UX and SEO Connected?
Back in the day, Google only cared about how many keywords are present on your webpage. The more you have keywords on your webpage, the better chances you have of ranking high on search engine result pages.
But as technology grows, Google now takes into account significantly more factors than just how many keywords are present on your web page. One of these factors is how well your web page addresses users’ needs.
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself when it comes to user experience SEO:
- How relevant is your content to the query of the user?
- How easily does the user find the information they need?
- Is your content helpful and engaging?
- How easily does the user navigate their way around your website?
- Is your website secure?
- Is your website mobile-friendly?
SEO and UX work hand in hand because they want to bring the best possible experience to users.
The Role of Natural Language Processing in User Experience SEO
As we’ve discussed, Google isn’t just concerned about keywords now. It currently takes into consideration how relevant and helpful your content is in helping users answer their queries.
This is where natural language processing comes in. Google uses this branch of artificial intelligence to make sense of the text as humans would. This makes it easier to understand not just the keywords present but also the context and the quality of the content.
The more Google understands the content of a web page, the better it can suggest web pages that will help users.
This is also aligned with user experience. It prioritizes making it easy for users to find the information they need in the fastest and most convenient way possible.
At the end of the day, content is still king. If your content is helpful, relevant, accurate, and reliable, then you’re hitting both SEO and user experience with one stone.
A lot of websites that compete with you are probably answering the problems you aim to solve. So what differentiates your content from your competitors?
Here are a few tips you can follow to create better content than your competitors:
- Break up your discussions into smaller discussions. Some people find it easier to understand complex concepts if you break them up into smaller concepts that they can piece together to understand the complex one better.
- Instead of enumerating things in a long sentence, use bullet points. It’s easier on the eyes.
- Try to illustrate your discussions. Some people find it easier to understand if they can see what you’re discussing.
- Summarize statistics with infographics. If people can visualize the numbers you’re talking about, they can find it easier to understand them.
Tips for Optimizing Your Website with User Experience SEO
1. Organize Your Content with Headings
Headings make it easier for both users and search engines to understand the structure of your content. You can even create a table of contents with internal links at the start of your blog posts that will direct users to specific parts of your content. This makes it easier for them to skip to the information they need.
Headings should tell both search engines and the readers what the paragraphs or sections below them are about. It helps you tell a story or a succession of information.
For search engines, headings make it easier to crawl and understand your web pages. It gives them hints as to what your content is about.
For users, it’s easier for them to find the information they need. Navigating their way around the information they need and don’t need is made easier through headings that segregate content.
2. Make it Easy to Navigate Your Website
Since we’re already on the topic of making it easy for users to navigate your content, let’s also talk about navigating your website.
Not all website visitors will go through your homepage when they find your website. You won’t be able to guide all of them with instructions on your home page if their first touch point is a specific web page. That’s why it’s important to have a website structure that is easy to understand and navigate.
Navigation buttons should be easy to spot. They must also be present at all times on your user’s screens so that anytime they want to find a different web page, they can easily do so.
3. Improve Your Site Loading Speed
Site speed reflects how fast a website responds to the request of users. The speed of your website has been an important ranking factor for Google since 2010. It was announced that it will become a ranking factor because when websites respond slowly, visitors spend less time on them.
This also goes for mobile loading speed. According to statistics, Google accounted for 93.2% of the mobile search market in the United States in January 2022. This is why Google gives importance to how fast your website loads on mobile screens.
According to statistics, if your website loads for 1 to 3 seconds, the probability of users bouncing goes up to 32%. If it takes 5 seconds, it increases to a drastic 90%. If it takes 6 seconds to load, the probability of bouncing goes up to a whopping 106%.
Bouncing or bounce rate is a term that describes a user who opens your web page but immediately leaves without doing anything else. This is something to look out for because a high bounce rate will lead to lower rankings.
Here are a few tips you can follow to make your web pages load faster:
- Use a fast host for your website.
- Reduce the number of HTTP requests.
- Streamline your HTML.
- Compress your files using Gzip.
- Use a Content Delivery Network.
- Optimize your images.
- Reduce or clean up your media.
- Avoid URL redirects.
To check if your web pages are loading fast enough, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Just enter your URL and it will show you the issues that your webpage might be having with mobile responsiveness. Aside from assessing your mobile loading speed, PageSpeed Insights will also give you suggestions on how to further optimize your page.
4. Mobile Optimization
As mentioned earlier, mobile users are growing exponentially. This is why Google has also prioritized mobile-friendliness as an important factor in ranking.
In 2015, Google announced that they would be rolling out their mobile-friendly update. This is prioritization of web pages that are mobile-friendly in search results, bringing the best experience to users who access their mobile phones to browse the internet.
This is why optimizing your web pages for mobile phones is important. Aside from Google ranking web pages higher, you also make it easier for your visitors to view your website no matter what device they’re using, which is what user experience SEO is all about.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is SEO more important than user experience?
Both of them are equally important if you want to increase your website’s overall ranking.
2. Does Google value content over keywords?
Keywords are one of the factors that are considered by Google in ranking your content. But the quality of your content now also plays a significant role in your ranking. Google aims to serve its users to the best of its abilities so it prioritizes content that makes it easy to answer the queries of users.
3. How does Google understand your content?
Google uses artificial intelligence and machine learning through natural language processing to understand the overall context of your content.
Using User Experience SEO to Your Advantage
SEO focuses on creating content that search engines find helpful and useful for users. Gone are the days when search engines only focus on how many keywords are present in your content. Now, they also focus on other factors like how relevant and helpful your content is in answering users’ queries.
User experience on the other hand is focused on making it easy and convenient for users to do what they want at every touchpoint with the website. This ties up well with the goal of user experience SEO because they both focus on making the overall experience of the users a smooth, fast, and meaningful one.
Being able to harness the power of user experience SEO to your advantage will help you boost your ranking appreciably. You’re not only catering to the needs of search engines but also prioritizing your users.