To the layman UX and SEO (if they even understand what they mean) sound like two entirely unrelated things. The one is about some plumber jabbing away at their phone, while the other is about satisfying the algorithms of a company in Silicon Valley.
But we know better. At its core theyâre down to the same thing. Thatâs because the layman doesnât realize that what Google cares about is ultimately what will satisfy that plumber. And though initially the algorithms they used to get us there werenât very good at that (and were easily gamed) as time goes on theyâre definitely getting better at making sure SEO matches that plumberâs needs.
As a result, it is now entirely possible to combine the two to make a better experience where people not only find your site but also can easily do what they came for when they get there. But to do so you need to know what to look out for. That starts with paying attention to what Google now cares about.
Google nowadays cares a great deal about mobile friendliness. In fact, if your site is not mobile friendly, it will take a huge hit. Thatâs down to the fact that most users now no longer surf on their desktop or even their laptops. Instead, the majority of users uses their smartphones.
Obviously, when thatâs the case, itâs important for Google that the pages are mobile friendly so that even the people reading from the back of the bus can easily surf your site. Of course, that is just as important for you, as when your site is mobile friendly youâll experience a lot less bouncing.
Itâs not quite clear to me how Google knows what websites have high-quality content. How do you write an algorithm for that? Whatever the case, theyâre getting pretty good at figuring out what pages are full of useful information and what wouldnât excite a three-year-old.
A few things to watch out for:
- Less is more. Put up less content but spend more time making sure that content is stellar.
- White space is good space. Short paragraphs with short sentences are a lot easier for people to read. While youâre at it, also use a lot of headings, sub-headings, bullet points and similar reading aids.
- Grammar and spelling. Letâs face it. Grammar and spelling are paramount. Of course they are. Because itâs darned difficult to set yourself up as an expert if you donât know the different between âtheirâ and âtheyâre.â
I guess they say âpatience is a virtueâ because people donât have that much. Thatâs definitely true with loading times. If something doesnât load very quickly, then people will look elsewhere. Thatâs why, according to Kissmetrics, a page that loads in four seconds will cost you 25 percent of your visitors.
There are a lot of ways to speed up your load time. Throw out what youâre not using, have things above the fold load before the ones lower down and make sure youâve got an app that caches your content.
Little changes like that can dramatically drop your bounce rate.
Youâll also want to make sure that people can navigate your site easily and quickly, as that will make your site a lot easier to work with. To help you with that, consider adding the following things.
- A home page button thatâs always in the same place. When people are done with whatever theyâre doing on the page they entered, the most likely page theyâll go to is your home page. So, make sure itâs easy to access.
- Well-formed and clear categories. These have to make sense â not just to you but also to your users. For that reason, you have to user test these!
- A search bar. If people canât find what theyâre looking for in your menu bar then they will most likely use the search bar. So this is a great back up. Even better, you can look through the searches people do and use that to then update and improve your menu.
Not all of us can see the pictures on websites. For that reason, theyâve got alt text. These tell both people who are visually impaired as well as search bots what an image is about. In that way, the user experience for everybody is improved.
Well written alt-text allows people to search keywords on images as well as making sure that whoever visits your website will know what everything is about â from the text to the images youâve used.
Create the best experience for everybody
Really, thatâs the key. You want to make sure that whoever uses your site, be it that plumber on his smartphone, your grandmother or somebody who canât see a thing, they can get what they want from it. The better you are at doing that, the more likely Google will like your site as well. Thatâs both because they will find it easier to figure out what your site is about as well as theyâll know that they can send people there without having to worry about their experience.
And thatâs what itâs all about. Giving the people what theyâre looking for as easily and effectively as possible. Do that well and youâll get to eat your cake and have it to. Thatâs the magic of combining UX and SEO effectively.