How SEO & Design Can Help You Optimize User Experience

Posted on Jul 30, 2018 - By Martina Bretous

User experience (UX) is a term used to describe how users interact with a web page and the elements that shape how they feel about the page. Various components like usability and loading speed contribute to the optimal user experience. Recently, popular search engines like Google have included some of these elements in their ranking signals and now give them a higher ranking in search results. As such, UX design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are intrinsically linked.

Nowadays, most users access web pages through their mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This shift has changed the way users interact with websites and, consequently, how search engines rank websites. A user’s reason for visiting your website and his/her level of engagement can greatly vary from a desktop to a cellphone. Keeping this in mind, a website should be adaptable to cater to every type of experience users are looking for. How do you achieve this? Check out some tips below.

Design

When designing a webpage, you must always think about your users and their motivations. Once you know them, you can build a website that meets their needs and provides a positive user experience. To start, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why are they visiting my website?
  • What elements do I want to emphasize?
  • How do I want them to navigate through my website?

By answering these questions, you can start to design your page based around a few key elements you wish to highlight.

Implement Mobile-Responsive Design

One of the most important things about the design of your website is that it’s responsive. This means that the website’s layout and content adapt to the screen it is presented on. In addition to the lower cost and maintenance, implementing a responsive design ensures users will have a seamless experience and improve your SEO. Users value consistency, and with a responsive design, you can provide the same experience on all platforms and prevent glitches that might occur from having two separate platforms.

Create a Flow

A user flow is the expected path a potential consumer will follow as he/she interacts with your page. Before you map out your flow, it’s important to consider where your traffic is coming from – direct, organic search, advertisement or other – and what users will be looking for. This will help you determine user motivations and create your flow around this information. The flow is important to the UX as it will shape the user’s journey through your website. If your flow doesn’t meet users’ needs, they will likely leave your website and not come back. As such, understanding your users should be a top priority.

Have Appealing Visual Elements

Everything from photos and videos to calls to action and headers are visual elements that will affect how users respond to your site. Studies show it takes 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion on a web page’s visual appeal. With such a small fraction of time, ensuring you have effective visual elements is crucial for providing a good user experience from the get-go. Adding contrast, scales and texture are all ways to improve the visual appeal of your web page. Additionally, consider these tips:

  • Consider what you want to emphasize to users, and map out certain visual cues to create a hierarchy. This will make them stand out and grab the user’s attention.
  • Don’t be afraid of using white space to highlight specific areas on your page.
  • Make sure photos and videos remain in high quality throughout all devices.
  • Remain consistent in your design.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the process of implementing strategies to rank higher on search engines and increase the organic traffic to your website. With 93 percent of internet traffic starting from search engines, SEO is a critical part of optimizing your website. Only 25 percent of users are willing to go to the second page of search results. With this in mind, how can you reach your target market if they’re unable to find you? Being on the first page of a popular search engine like Google is essential to increasing traffic on your page. And here are some ways you can get there.

Optimize for Voice Search

With digital assistants like Siri, Alexa and Cortana, the way users search online is changing. Voice search is one of the newest factors to consider in SEO as people use different keywords when they are speaking versus typing. For example, if you’re looking to purchase furniture, you might type, “furniture store nearby.” However, through voice search, you might say, “Where can I find a furniture store nearby?” Voice searches tend to be in first person with full questions, as desktop keywords often sound more disjointed.

If the majority of your users visit your website via mobile, identify the keywords specific to that medium. This is a great way to optimize your website on all platforms so that you can always reach your target market. With that said, you should still have desktop keywords, as to maintain a good standing on both.

Simplify Your Content

Nowadays, users are turned off by bulky text with little formatting. You want to make your content as readable as possible to keep the reader’s attention. There are several ways to achieve this:

  • Use bullet points whenever possible.
  • Avoid long sentences.
  • Include headings and subheadings to help readers and search engines identify sections.
  • Bold important words and phrases.

These simple steps can decrease your website’s bounce rate as users can more easily identify and access the information they are most interested in.

Improve Your Website’s Loading Speed

The speed at which your web page loads is directly linked to the user experience. The need for instant gratification can be seen in most users. Studies show that most mobile users will only wait up to 5 seconds for a page to load before leaving a website. Ways to optimize your page’s speed are through back-end implementations including choosing the right hosting option, combining files to reduce loading time and minimizing HTTP requests.

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project is another way to ensure your page will load quickly and can help you rank higher on the search engine. However, it comes with its limitations for the webpage owner. It’s hard to place ads and monetize as AMP only keeps the most pertinent information from your website to facilitate a quick loading time. In addition, it places big restrictions on programming languages like JavaScript.