Many people believe that one of the fastest ways to get onto the first page of search results is to use keywords. Keywords are a part of search engine optimization, but there are many other factors. User experience, or UX, is also an important part of SEO, and how the user experiences the website can have a much greater effect than people realize. Also, experts think that the algorithm search engines use to assess a site are taking the user experience into greater account that some of the other factors. A page that has taken the user experience into account is going to be ranked higher than one that doesn’t. There are a few things that will tell the search engine about the user experience.
The first one is the page loading speed. The user experience begins from when the user clicks your link on the SERP, and a study has shown that users are likely to give up if the page takes more than ten seconds to load. Not only that, the ideal loading time is three seconds. Every second longer reduces your sales by 7%. There are page speed insight tools to help you measure how quickly your page loads, and there are things you can do to increase the loading speed. Add an index to your site database, optimize any images for faster loading, try adding a caching plugin, and if your site is an online storefront, try using Shopify to enable your users to make fast and secure purchases.
The second thing to keep in mind is navigation. Users like well-designed menus that make the site easy and simple for them to navigate. There should be around four to six categories, an ‘About Us’ page, and a contact page. A general rule of thumb to follow is that it shouldn’t take a user more than two clicks to find what they’re looking for. Ben Austin, from SEO agency Vancouver said that the user should be able to click once to get the category, and a second click to get the page. Users might find having to click more than twice to find what they need overly complicated. If it’s too complicated, they’re probably going to leave the site. Sites can help to simplify the navigation by adding internal links to relevant words within a post.
Also, always remember that users access websites on a variety of devices, so how a site responds on mobile devices is a key part of the user experience. Search engines have added this to their algorithms as a key factor in assessing the user experience. Sites that are highly usable on a pc, but not as usable on a mobile device aren’t ranked as highly. This also translates into an important statistic. 51% of users have had a problem with sites that have crashed, froze or otherwise failed to work on a mobile device. There are insight tools that can assess the mobile version of a website. If the site isn’t as mobile friendly as it could be, there are changes that can be made. If it’s a WordPress site, then there are pre-made mobile ready sites that will make the site a lot more mobile friendly. Or web developers can use the CSS3 Media Queries, which will mean that they can code the maximum website width for mobile devices.
The algorithm that search engines use to assess a website is constantly changing. Most of the algorithms take over 200 factors into account, but user experience is becoming one of the most important factors. Google, for example, updated their algorithm to prioritize sites that give users mobile-friendly options. Many experts believe that this update means that search engines are looking at the user experience as a key factor in SEO rankings.