User experience or UX is a term used to explain how a user feels when navigating through your website. It has become so important that it can make or break your business online. That may seem like a big statement but just think about all the effort and money you spend to get people to visit your website, it would be crazy to then ignore it’s UX and fail to convert those visitors into paying customers. Basically it makes sense to ensure that your website solves the user’s problem when they actually find your site otherwise what’s the point?
SEO has come a long way from the days of adding certain keywords to your content and building links to your website for almost overnight results. Google’s algorithm has progressed and become much more complex since then and although they have not definitively stated that they use user experience data when ranking websites their Panda algorithm does measure page and website quality. So it’s pretty safe to say that user experience has a big role to play in your website’s rankings.
Improved User Engagement
It’s widely accepted that Google do consider bounce rate (the number of people leaving your website without performing an action) when ranking a website, however they are likely to go into even more detail than that. For example it’s believed that Google bots are able to tell when someone visits your website for a short period of time and then leaves, returns to their original search and clicks on another result. This would indicate to them that your search result is not relevant or not effectively answering the user’s query, which will result in your website dropping down the rankings. Improved UX allows you to limit the amount of drop outs and ensure that your website is providing the information that your audience is looking for.
User Friendly Design
It’s clear from an SEO point of view that user engagement is more than likely impacting on your rankings but it’s also vital for making your business a success. Therefore user engagement must be considered and incorporated within your website’s design at the earliest stage of its development. It doesn’t matter how good your website looks if people can’t work out how to make a purchase, enquiry or sign up to your service then it’s failing in it’s purpose.
Modern online consumers are notoriously impatient and fickle, if your website is too slow or overcomplicated most wont think twice about leaving and clicking on one of your competitors. On the flip side if you can create an easy and enjoyable user experience then you can generate repeat custom and loyal followers of your brand. The good news is that designing great user experience usually means keeping things simple. The golden rule to remember is to ensure that it takes as few clicks as possible (preferably one) for the user to get to the information/product/form that they want on your website.
Addressing your UX can have a positive impact on your brand as a whole. For example if your website receives 10 shares on social media and a link from a blogger/industry influencer for every 100 visits then there is room to improve its user experience. If you can make some improvements to the usability of the website and increase the ratio to 10 shares and a link for every 50 visits then you will have doubled the sharing potential of your brand and the amount of links it earns naturally.
Improving your UX requires some introspective analysis of your website and it’s data, luckily that’s what Google Analytics is for. With access to the user behavior on each page of your website you can identify which pages are underperforming and need addressed. With more complex analysis through the use of heat maps, split testing and eye tracking you can delve even deeper into identifying specific issues on a page. You can then use this information them to improve the time spent on the website, clicks through onto other pages and ultimately goal completions.
User experience matters because your customers matter and so making your website work as well for them as it possibly can is a no brainer and when you do that you will reap the rewards for it. It’s not always about increasing the amount of people that land on your website, in most cases the key is to improve how you’re set up for the traffic you already receive.
The key to great user experience is to know your audience, know what their needs are and to address those needs better than your competitors, simple.