The importance of UX in SEO

May 27, 2015 - 3  min reading time - by Emma Labrador
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User experience has become part and parcel of your SEO. Google stated that it will definitely be one of the main SEO ranking factors for 2015 and the years to come. As the leading search engine has been updating its ranking factors recently, classic SEO is not enough anymore. You could ask what is the link between UX and SEO? Well, what is the main purpose of having a website? Attracting visitors and converting them into customers. To do so, you need something else than just a well coded website. It is about creating a whole atmosphere and experience that will drive people to where you want by piquing their interests, translate their needs and concerns and thus convert them.

UX is simply about how your visitors will perceive your website. If it is good, they will come back. If not, do not need to tell you…

Ian Lurie from the Portent blog had a great thought about UX and SEO. He:

learned in the end that SEO & UX must work together in order for a site to be successful:

  • the myths about SEO & UX are false – it’s not impossible to coexist, and neither hinders the other
  • poor UX will lead to poor SEO. Plain and simple, and the reverse is also true
  • SEO should live within and be a part of the user experience.

What is the purpose of UX?

UX is all about converting visitors into consumers thanks to a great experience on a website or with a product. Its role is to:

  • improve effectiveness of off and on site findability
  • convert traffic
  • test and tailor experiences to target personas
  • help visitors find what they are looking for
  • turn visitors into returning visitors

But how to match UX and SEO?

As on-page SEO (meta, keywords, images, etc) is something you should be already aware now, you should focus on your user experience to optimize your website. SEO and UX can be a winning couple if well organized:

1# Focus on designs that fit SEO principles

  • create content for both visitors and search engines
  • maximise H1 and H2 titles
  • optimize menu names and functionalities, link equity
  • create a clear navigation path
  • provide focused product names and descriptions

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2# Call-to-action

Buttons or links with call-to-action should be designed not just for UX but should link to content and page elements optimized for SEO.

3# Personas and User Paths

Create personas for each online activity your visitors are going to have on your website. In fact, you can forget the old schema about demographics, personality or gender except if it is an essential part of your website.
In the same way, user paths should respond to your personas in order to optimize your visitors’ need.
This strategy is really interesting for creating different experiences for each users visiting your websites with different queries and thus different keywords. The more personalized your website will be, the more engaged your visitors will be.

4# Focus on quality

While Google has been rewarded links and keywords for its quality score, UX is now also taking into account when talking about quality websites. It refers to:

  • Page speed
  • Easy navigation
  • Internal link structure
  • No duplicate content
  • Relevant and descriptive content
  • Page layout

What impact does UX will have on your SEO?

UX can help your website to be more:

  • Accessible: a website more accessible is more crawlable
  • Useful: UX manages expectations while SEO is working on intent of search
  • Usable: UX provides an usable website that will encourage returning visits
  • Findable: UX drives on-site traffic in complement to SEO on-page traffic
  • Credible: UX gives credibility which helps gaining authority
  • Desirable: while seo measures results, UX comes in complement by measuring actions
  • Valuable: UX needs to fulfill the visitor’s queries to earn SEO ranking

To sum up, UX is an essential part of your SEO tasks. You should also work for your visitors and not only for the search engines guidelines. The more attracting and optimized for users you website will be, the more traffic and returning visits you will gain. That is definitely not a loss of time!

Emma Labrador See all their articles
Emma was the Head of Communication & Marketing at Oncrawl for over seven years. She contributed articles about SEO and search engine updates.
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