Want your web pages to perform well on any search engine? You need to provide an excellent experience for your users. A positive user experience can increase conversions and grow your customer base—it can also have remarkable impacts on SEO.
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy that employs tools and techniques to boost your website’s ranking on search engines. In essence, search engine optimization is about getting your website to be the top result on Google (and other search engines) when users make search queries that are relevant to your website.
User experience (UX) has a significant impact on any SEO strategy—by improving UX, you directly improve SEO.
How User Experience Affects SEO
The better your website is, the more likely users are to stay on it, navigate around your site, and make purchases. That teaches Google that your website is relevant to the keywords that led users to your website—and that improves your rank.
Indeed, Google uses a number of signals from both desktop and mobile users to observe user behavior and assess the relevance of your site. Everything from user intent to the amount of time the user spends on your page is calculated.
Let’s look at each of these factors in greater detail:
Dwelling time (or simply dwell time) is a metric that evaluates how long a user stays on your page before returning to the search engine results page (SERP). A longer dwell time usually means that the user found what they needed on your page. A short dwell time might mean that the information on your page is irrelevant and doesn’t match the user’s intent—or that your page provides a poor user experience.
When pages load slowly, pop-ups obscure information, your site is hard to navigate, or anything looks outdated, users are far more likely to leave your site and find a different result. That leads to shorter dwell times. All of this leads to low user satisfaction. Good UX design can solve a lot of these problems.
Bounce rate is similar to dwell time—but they’re not the same. Anytime a user clicks the back button from your page to return to the SERP, it’s considered a bounce—whether they dwelled for 3 seconds or 20 minutes.
You usually want a relatively low bounce rate, depending on what your website is constructed to do. Hopefully, you have call-to-actions (CTAs) that encourage people to buy, book, or otherwise interact more meaningfully (and profitably) with your website.
A high bounce rate could indicate that your CTAs aren’t properly placed, or aren’t noticeable enough. It could also mean your website is hard to navigate, is loading too slowly, or has intrusive pop-ups or layout shifts. These are all UX problems that you can improve.
Google measures user engagement by checking how long a user stays on your page with that page in focus. In other words, it doesn’t check for pages sitting idle in the background.
High engagement is usually the result of an excellent user experience. Interactive pages, in particular, tend to get excellent user engagement scores, as do pages with easy-to-read, relevant content. Any of the problems with loading times and obstructive pop-ups we’ve mentioned are likely to hurt your engagement score.
How This Affects Rankings
All of these scores tell Google and other search engines how relevant your site is and whether or not it offers a positive experience for users.
When user engagement metrics are being included in Google Analytics, you know that they matter to Google.
That’s what modern-day search engines care about—providing the best possible experience for their users. Answering their questions, offering them unique experiences, and showing users search results that they’ll find useful and enjoyable.
Without great UX, your site won’t offer the kind of results that search engines are looking for—and that can mean your page will be deranked. On the flip side, high engagement and dwell time with low bounce rates mean that your page is extremely relevant to the keywords that brought the user to your page, and you can expect a better rank.
Now you know how UX affects SEO. Great UX isn’t easy to come by—but we can help. We offer both UX design and search engine optimization in San Antonio. That means we’ll make your site easier to use, cleaner, more modern, and all around better for your users—all while improving your rank in search engines.
That’s a two-for-one punch—and you can have it all. Call RAPTAP today.