SEO and UX work hand in hand, so stop treating them as two separate entities…

So I’m going to get straight to the point – UX and SEO work together to improve rankings.

One of the things I’ve talked about many, many times is delivering a great experience for users, and one of the areas to focus on is user experience aka UX.

A website that works is a must…

There will be some of you asking why does it impact on SEO and rankings – well its actually very simple. If your website isn’t easy to navigate, misleading, broken in any way or is slow to load, this will frustrate a user and in turn deliver a bad UX.

For example, if Google…

  • Can’t crawl all pages on a site (isn’t easy to navigate)
  • Finds links and anchor text don’t match the corresponding page (misleading)
  • Comes across numerous 404 pages and redirect loops (broken in any way)
  • Struggles to load a page in a timely manner (load times)

…Google will see this as a website delivering a bad UX – why would Google want to send users to a site that isn’t functioning correctly? Ultimately this is a reflection on Google search results and Google is looking to deliver its own perfect user experience from search results.

And don’t just take my work for it, check out these posts below:

SERP Interaction…

Its also worth pointing out that Google will be monitoring how users interact with their search results, for example: If a high number of users click on the first result and spend 20 seconds on the site, then come back to Google search results and click the second result and spend 2 minutes on that site – Google will deem that the quality of the second result is better and promote this website.

Again this is why good UX is a must, all webpages must engage users. Here is a great article around the above: http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/is-click-through-rate-a-ranking-signal

Mobile UX, and soon to be desktop UX…

Google have said that mobile UX is a ranking signal and whilst they have openly said that desktop isn’t…

…I’d strongly suggest that there are elements of UX that do impact on desktop – I have gone through many sites and fixed errors mentioned above (404, unlinked pages, etc), which in trun improves UX and as a result impacted on search results.

Here is the article with Google’s official line – Google: User Experience As A Ranking Signal Is Currently Only For Mobile Results, Not Desktop Results

Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools are a good way to find website errors…

I’d strongly advise that you plug your website into Google Search Console and Bing Wemaster Tools – both can show broken pages and website issues that need addressing

Using Google Analytics to look at page stats…

Check out your top landing pages from organic search, look at the time on these pages, bounce rate and exit rates – if the time on page is low and the bounce/exit rates are high – this would suggest that there is an issue with your webpage and something you should address.

Analyics has a page load section, but this tool from Google is very powerful - https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/

SEO tools worth exploring to find further website errors…

There are numerous SEO tools that can be used to evaluate website load times, broken pages and the like, documented in these 5 posts are my top tools:

A/B testing tools – test all of those UX changes…

Before you start editing all of your web pages and changing your navigation – you need to be absolutely certain you are testing the right areas. Following all of the above guidelines should give you a good steer around which pages or parts of your website are impacting on UX.

You may want to do some simple analysis before you run split tests, CrazyEgg, HotJar or ClickTale offer insights into how users are clicking around your site.

If you are still unsure, there are services online to gather actually feedback from users who have tested your website – both UserTesting.com and Webcredible are good places to start.

Once you’re sure around what to test, Google Analytics Experiments, Optimizely and VMO all offer great solutions to run A/B split tests.

and finally…

SEO and UX work hand in hand, its crucial that these are joined up along with running test and learn experiments.

This post was written by , Dave is a digital marketer specialising in SEO and PPC, and can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

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