As internet use and particularly mobile internet use has risen over the years, more and more businesses have started focusing their marketing efforts in online marketing, after all that is where their customers are now.
With this rise in online marketing more and more people are aware of SEO and the importance it plays in businesses online activity. However, whilst people are more aware of it, the understanding of SEO still seems to be relatively low. How many times have you heard people describe SEO as ‘just using keywords’. And keywords are of course an important part of any SEO strategy, however, there is so much more to it than that.
The rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence has meant that Googles algorithms are more and more complex and use more and more data points. So ‘just using keywords’ isn’t going to cut it in today’s world of SEO.
There are so many ranking factors these days that it would take far too long to cover them all but one of the key aspects of any website is User Experience (UX). User Experience is how easy (or difficult) it is for users to navigate your site, are there a bunch of pop-ups, is your site full of ads, can users easily achieve the objective that they arrived on your site for. A crucial part of UX is page speed and load times which we cover in more detail in our Core Web Vitals blog.
To understand UX let’s look at it in a real-world scenario, think of a shop that is laid out terribly, nothing is in a logical order, the staff are rude and slow, they only accept £1 and 50p coins etc etc. If you go to that shop, you are very unlikely to buy anything. Much more likely to happen is you will leave and go to find a shop that allows you to easily find what you need, the staff are helpful and purchasing is quick and simple.
It is the same with websites, a poorly laid out website with poor functionality that is hard to purchase from is not going to inspire people to use it. And whereas with a shop somebody has to walk and find another shop to use, online, all people need to do is go back to the search results and click on another site, all within a second.
Why does this all matter? People are savvier online than ever before, it isn’t just a case of rank first and get all the clicks anymore, people will shop around. But in terms of SEO, UX matters because of the multitude of metrics Google is tracking. Can you keep people on your site for longer than your competitors, do they find the answer to their query on your site, are people buying from you? All these positive metrics send positive signals to Googles algorithms and help your site perform better organically.
What does this mean in practice, is the layout easy to understand, is the text clear and the content informative, are there clear ways to call/purchase or email, does the site load quickly, there are so many things that can be done to improve your visitor’s user experience. Getting that right will boost your SEO performance and drive more visitors to your website.