Google had, time and again, emphasized its priority – user experience (UX). If you fail at providing your users the experience they deserve, you will fail at any other aspects of digital marketing including generating organic traffic. While traffic and ranking are the ultimate goals, know that search engine optimization (SEO) itself impacts UX. UX is thus considered as a core driver that impacts optimization and traffic.
We can broadly categorize these ways into two namely design and content. Here are two major ways UX impacts optimization and traffic.
Web navigation nowadays is no longer about navigation bars, drop-down menus, sitemaps, linked texts, anchor texts, etc. The emphasis is on the effectiveness of human-computer interaction. For instance, speed is taken into consideration. Likewise, anything that disrupts the UX is eliminated such as pop-up advertisements, flash images, unfamiliar file formats, undescriptive anchors, etc.
With this, the overall design must be easy on the users’ eyes otherwise they will leave the site and go to the next available, user-friendly site. Poor navigation, thereby, leads to zero engagements, zero conversions, zero links and zero sales.
Again, web design and optimization is no longer about making your site searchable. It is also about making it available on various browsers on various devices. We are seeing a dramatic decline in the use of desktop computers. People – your users – are using their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets, more specifically) in navigating their way on the web. It is your responsibility to make your users experience your website.
Even Google had pushed website owners to do so in April wherein it threatens to punish websites that are not yet mobile-responsive by not displaying the site in mobile searches. As for mobile-friendly websites, this means higher organic mobile search.
As such, a nice-looking and full-featured website is not enough. What will enhance the users’ dwell time on your site is its mobile-friendliness. This is a fundamental part of technical SEO especially now that Google considers mobile-responsiveness as a ranking signal.
Using keywords is no longer emphasized despite its capability to increase search visibility and backlinks. However, keywords can still be used especially long tail keywords. The premise is that if you are going to use a keyword, make sure that it is organically integrated as possible. Google recommends, “Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually include those words within it.”
Going back to visibility, keywords are used in queries. Nonetheless, if the user landed on your website and found that nothing is pertinent to his or her inquiry, he or she will immediately leave your site. No questions asked. The lack of content relevance might explain the high bounce rate.
As Google puts it, write great contents and by this, the tech giant means writing contents that are truly interesting, informative and valuable to your users. Notice that Google continuously ranks sites with long form, unique and relevant contents and penalizes those sites with thin content.
One indirect measure of content relevance is its number of shares. A share is also a form of conversion, and the more shares your site have, the more credible and popular it becomes on the eyes of your users and Google.
According to Rand Fishkin, UX’s greatest impact is increasing organic sharing and organic distribution. Further, credibility is measured by social media presence. These are your site’s social proofs that may also lead to further exposure.
Make sure that your website and its contents are highly shareable. However, you also need to ensure that sharing will not disrupt the overall UX. Make the social widgets visible. The easier it is for the users to share the website, the higher the chance of earning credibility.
In line with this, update the contents of your site on a regular basis. Your users will have something to look forward to. With frequent updates, you won’t run of risk of boring your users.
If there is one key takeaway from the above discussion it is to never disappoint your users; not in terms of your site’s design and not when it comes to contents. Don’t be surprised if you are not getting the traffic and ranking that you think your website deserves. Put simply, ignore UX on your own optimization and traffic perils.
This article is written by Tristan Jasper. He is a marketer, entrepreneur and a freelance blogger. He's currently working as a digital marketer at one of the top internet marketing agency in the Philippines. Follow him on: Twitter | Google+.