Optimizing User Experience (UX) for SEO Success: Navigational Clarity, Clear Communication, and Accessibility

“Search engine optimisation,” or SEO, is the process of driving relevant traffic to your website from search engines such as Google. Making sure users have a seamless and pleasurable experience on your website is known as “user experience,” or UX.

UX and SEO are two distinct fields, however they are not wholly unrelated to one another. Understanding the relationship between search engine optimisation and user experience is essential because it’s becoming a more important factor.

What is UX and why does it matter?

The acronym for user experience is UX. It characterises the calibre of an individual’s encounter with a good or service. Good user experiences are intentionally created by UX professionals to help you accomplish your goals and tasks quickly and with as little difficulty or misunderstanding as possible.

Consider the task of booking cinema tickets. You can use its name to look up your neighbourhood theatre on Google, find and visit the theatre’s website, and then utilise the search feature to find out what movies are playing there. Once you’ve selected a movie you enjoy, you continue with the checkout procedure to purchase your tickets. As soon as your purchase is complete, your tickets are sent to you via email.

If the process is easy to follow and has a clear path from point A to point B, you’ll have a good user experience. It will not be easy to use if it is full of errors, incomplete information, slow load times, or unduly challenging impediments.

What elements and factors does UX consider?

There are lots of different factors that make up a user experience. When designing digital products (like websites and apps), UX designers will consider how to structure the product for optimal usability.

In doing so, they will ask questions such as:

  • What steps will the user move through in order to accomplish their desired tasks and in what order? For example, what steps would the user follow to book cinema tickets?
  • What functionality does the product need to have? For example, a search function for finding films and times, a checkout function for entering card details and purchasing tickets and so on.
  • What information and content should the user have access to? How should this content be organized and prioritized?
  • How should the website as a whole be structured? How do each of the different pages and subpages link together?
  • How should each individual page or screen be structured? What different elements and components should be included on each page and where? For example, will there be a page header and an image at the top? What buttons can the user click?
  • Ultimately, UX designers create solutions to specific user problems. Their goal is to design products that make the user’s journey towards the solution as smooth and accessible as possible.

You can learn more about the five main elements of UX design here or take a look at the process UX designers follow to create awesome products.

Why is UX important?

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of UX. The difference between good and bad UX ultimately means the difference between a successful product and a failing one.

We’ve written in detail about the value of UX in this post but to pull out some of the most compelling statistics: businesses who improve the UX design of their website can achieve conversion rates as high as 400%, while 66% of customers are willing to pay more for a great user experience.

At the end of the day, good user experiences make for happy customers who continue to favour a particular brand over its competitors. Those happy, loyal customers bring in revenue and keep the brand going. A product or service is only as good as the user experience it provides, so UX must be a top (if not the top) priority.

What is SEO and why does it matter?

The term “search engine optimisation” is SEO. The goal of this technological and marketing discipline is to raise a website’s search engine ranking and increase organic (free) traffic.

Consider what occurs when you perform a Google search. Google provides a list of websites that it believes are relevant to your enquiry when you type a term into the search bar. In addition, the results with the highest scores are ranked highest on the list according to their quality and relevancy.

At the very top, you might see a few results with ‘Ad’ next to them. Those websites have paid to have that position. The results that appear underneath those, however, have ranked organically—not by directly paying, but rather, as a result of their search engine optimization efforts.

What elements and factors does SEO consider?

  • Search engine optimisation is a continual process that takes several factors into account. The key to “good” SEO is to cover all of the bases and keep up with search engine algorithm updates; there is no one-size-fits-all checklist.
  • The renowned SEO tool Ahrefs enumerates the following five crucial elements of a successful SEO strategy:
  • Finding the queries and keywords that your target audience uses to search for means that your website and content should be focused on answering those questions and using those keywords.
  • material development is the process of writing written material (like blog posts) that your target audience finds useful. For example, if you run a plant business, you might write articles about different plant species’ needs.
  • We call this process “on-page SEO.” It involves making sure every piece of material you publish is understandable, organised, and simple to navigate for both search engines and human visitors.
  • connect building is the process of getting other websites to connect to pages on your own website. This lets Google know that your website and content are reliable, respectable, and worthwhile, earning them a higher search engine ranking.
  • technological SEO: These are the behind-the-scenes technological elements that facilitate search engines’ ability to “crawl” your website. Technical SEO examines elements such as the speed at which your website loads and the organisation of its contents.
  • In the end, Google wants to give users the most reliable and helpful results for their searches. In order to make sure that the proper people see your website and that it appears anywhere near the top of the search results, search engine optimisation (SEO) involves following a few best practices.

Why is search engine optimisation crucial?

Because it allows the relevant individuals to see your website and content, SEO is essential.

When using SEO, potential clients find you—as opposed to other marketing strategies where you have to actively seek them out. Your website is more likely to show up on the first page of search results if it is optimised for search engines. Because they are actively searching on Google, the people that visit your website are already interested in what you have to offer.

If visitors appreciate what they see on your website, they are more likely to visit again, refer others, and maybe even make a purchase. Therefore, SEO is crucial if you want to establish your brand and convert readers and visitors into paying customers.

Now that we understand SEO and its importance, let’s look at how UX and SEO work together.

How Do UX and SEO Cooperate?

The goal that SEO and UX share is the development of user-friendly, accessible websites that provide users what they desire.

Search engine algorithms take into account aspects other than technical ones when determining the legitimacy of a website. In order to gauge the kind of user experience the website offers, they also observe how users engage with it. If the algorithms notice that, after landing on a particular website, users tend to leave within a few seconds, that website will very quickly lose favor. It’ll slip down the rankings to make space for competitors who appear to be providing a better experience.

How often have you done a Google search, clicked on the first or second result, and then realised in a matter of seconds that the content you were being presented wasn’t relevant? Alternatively, perhaps the pop-ups that invade your screen are so persistent that even when the content is relevant, you find them annoying. What about when you use your phone to visit a website and discover that the design is disorganised or that the page won’t load at all?

You’ll be clicking the “back” button in each of these situations faster than you can say “poor user experience.” Additionally, the SEO rating of the website suffers from each of these situations.

If you want to maintain a good ranking in the search results, you need to keep visitors on your website. And, if you want to keep visitors on your website, you need to provide a good user experience.

With that in mind, here are some of the main UX factors that will impact a website’s search engine ranking.

5 UX factors that will impact SEO

1. Page speed

Websites that load slowly are detrimental to both users and search engine optimisation. Being an expert in user experience is not required to comprehend that users find slow-loading webpages to be highly inconvenient and that Google has proven page speed as a ranking factor.

What then can you do to make your website load faster? You can adhere to many best practices. Some are related to design, such as lazy loading, a pattern that loads images below the fold only when the user begins to scroll, delaying the presentation of some elements until they are absolutely required. Some tasks, such image optimisation and the minification of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code, are more complex and might call for a developer’s assistance.

You’ll find more tips on how to improve page load speed in this guide.


2. Responsive design

People expect a smooth experience, no matter what device they’re using to access your website. Responsive design might not be a confirmed ranking factor but it’s explicitly recommended by Google — and, of course, it keeps the UX positive and consistent across all devices.

Given that over 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices, responsive design should be a priority when creating and optimizing your website. If you’re new to the concept, follow these responsive design best practices and examples.

3. Website copy

Google wants to know that users can locate the content they’re looking for on your website when it directs them there. It will examine a number of factors, including how long visitors stay on your website (or how quickly they bounce). Copy is a key component of user experience that affects user retention and, consequently, search engine optimisation for your website.

When it comes to helping a person navigate your website and get the information they need, copy is one of the most effective tools. Website text directs readers towards the information they need without making them seek or think too hard, just like road signs do for vehicles.

The better your website copy is, the easier it will be for users to find what they’re looking for — and the longer they’ll stay on your site. That’s a big win for SEO.

Learn how to write useful website copy in this beginner’s guide to UX writing.

4. Navigation and layout

In a similar spirit, the general navigation and structure of your website should be created to facilitate user navigation as much as feasible.

Your website’s structure has two functions. Firstly, it should offer a logical and unambiguous path for people to navigate across the site. This improves user experience. From an SEO perspective, it acts as a guide for search engines, outlining all of the material on your website and how it connects.

When it comes to website structure and navigation, prioritize the user. Err on the side of simplicity and clarity, creating pathways that are easy for a human user to follow and navigate. The same applies to the layout of individual pages. Order your content logically and clearly with menus, headers and CTAs.

If users can navigate your website with ease, you’re not only ticking the usability checkbox. You’ll also benefit from an SEO boost, too.

5. UI design

Last but not least, make sure your website’s UI design is set to make a good impression.

Of course, Google doesn’t assess a website’s visual appeal — but human users do and they do so very quickly. If your website is a horror to behold, many users won’t stick around to find out what’s beneath the surface. They’ll click out in search of a more aesthetically pleasing website. For Google, this translates to a high bounce rate, which will inevitably affect your ranking.

Designing the user interface (UI) of your website involves more than just making it appear nice. The goal of all UI standards and principles is to facilitate the user journey that the UX designer has outlined and to deliver a consistent brand experience. Indeed, while UX and UI are two different things, they go firmly hand-in-hand, and you can’t have one without the other.

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