How Improved User Experience Contributes Towards A Stronger SEO Profile
Daniel Foley March 2017 in Marketing 0
How Improved User Experience Increases A Websites SEO Profile
When SEO was in its infancy, user experience was not at the forefront of most SEOs minds. While it obviously important to ensure a user can access and navigate a website properly, that was about as far as most SEOs cared…
Until Google changed the game.
Google realised that their near monopoly on the world's search queries could be used to change the internet for the better. They decided to start rewarding quality user-friendly websites with better positions in the SERPS.
So what Google wants, Google gets.
Everyone is a winner here, the users get better websites, Google gets better results, and SEOs can give themselves a competitive advantage. It’s one of those ranking factors that is hard to disagree with, and it’s certainly made the internet a much more user-friendly place.
Today we are going to look at some of the more common methods that Google uses to Judge user experience that you should pay close attention to
One of the easiest ways for Google to determine if your website is providing the content a user is searching for is by tracking their movements. Despite what some SEO conspiracy theorists may claim, they do not track your Google analytics, and they do not track users chrome browsers. They don’t need to.
They track their own SERPS.
If a user clicks onto a website from the SERPS and then hits the back button and returns to the SERPS again quickly – it’s not a good sign of quality. What (or why) they jumped back to the SERPS doesn’t really concern google too much. It could be grammatically incorrect content, or it could just be that the content is irrelevant – whatever it is, users don’t like it if they jump back to Google.
As such, the site gets demoted for that keyword.
How To Use
Ensure your website clearly displays the information the user is searching for in an easy to read, immediately noticeable format. Ensure the content you provide is related to the search terms you are ranking for (if it’s not, adjust it).
This is the most obvious way that SEOs can increase their position in the SERPS, and improve their visitor's experience at the same time. Google has been talking about speed and mobile friendliness for years now, and they show no sign of relenting.
With many other ranking factors, Google is usually a little bit shy. They don’t like to give out too much information to SEOs because they don’t want us to be gaming their algorithm. They want to determine where a site should rank without outside interference.
But they won't stop talking about Page Speed.
Google have even made a page speed tool that any webmaster can use to check the speed of their own website. Google themselves are telling you how they see the performance of your website compared to what they ideally would like to see. They even tell you exactly what you need to fix and improve the issues they may find.
All of the fixes that they recommend will make your website faster, easier to load, and more mobile friendly than it once was. It’s usually not difficult to implement their page speed recommendations, especially if you use a content management system like WordPress.
How To Use
Run your website through the Google page speed tool to see what they think about the mobile and desktop version of your site. Don’t worry about getting a perfect 100 score, it’s hard work that isn’t needed. A score of 80+ is usually more than adequate, but obviously the higher your score the better.
HTTPS is one of the most recent ranking factors that is becoming hotly debated among the various online SEO communities.
Google themselves have said that they use HTTPS as a ranking factor as it provides a better user experience. Information sent between an HTTPS website and a user is encrypted, and as such, it cannot easily be obtained by opportunistic hackers. A website caring about its user's security and privacy is a signal of quality, and as such Google gives them a little extra bump in the SERPS.
This all sounds good, right? Everyone wins here?
Well, if you are a brand new website then yes, you should use HTTPs from day one.
For existing websites that have an existing backlink profile, it might not be such a good idea. This is because all of your links will be pointed towards the HTTP version of your website. These links can easily be 301 redirected to the HTTPS version of your site with a few lines of code in your .htaccess file. But a 301 redirect is not a perfect mechanism, and a little link juice is lost in the process.
Now for one or two backlinks this is probably not going to be a big issue. But when every link on your website starts to lose a bit of link juice – it can start to add up.
How To Use
If you have any kind of user input on your website (logins, passwords, transactions) then you should use HTTPS as soon as possible purely from a security point of view. Sensitive data is being sent to your website unencrypted.
But if you have a much more static site, you will have to weigh up the pros and cons of migrating to HTTPS for yourself on a case by case basis.
It's also worth mentioning briefly something that may seem a little bit obvious but can often go overlooked – the importance of good quality content. Mainly, grammatically correct content.
One of the easiest ways for Google to determine how much time and effort has been put into a site is by analysing its content. Ensure that all your websites articles are grammatically perfect and are free from any kind of spelling mistakes. Use references where possible, and cite respectable, reputable sources.
How To Use
Proofread all of the content of your website. Use one of the many free browser extensions to check for any grammatical errors. They often find many smaller issues that word processors can often miss.
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