There are several factors that determine the ranking of your website. In this article you’ll find 5 tips from UX researchers that will help you improve your Google ranking.
The algorithms of Google are constantly changing but the goal remains the same: to ensure high quality and relevant content that satisfies the demands of users. Imagine the users, opening your website and leaving back to Google without spending time on it or taking a single look at the content. Google will most likely evaluate your website as irrelevant and not helpful.
Sure, you can rely on SEO methods but how about taking your research one step further. UX research offers some useful tools that can significantly improve your SEO performance.
Can UX Research Improve SEO?
Considering website ranking, SEO experts and UX researchers have a lot in common. They have similar goals. For both fields, it is crucial to understand the behavior of the users and their needs.
SEO moved from backlinks and keywords to high-quality content, usability, and functionality. When the user is satisfied with the answers your website offered, Google will give you a boost.
As simple as that.
Nailing it all requires the cooperation of various experts within the team. Do you know who else is excellent at analyzing users’ behavior? Exactly, UX researchers. A combination of methods and tools used by SEO and UX researchers is the key to a successful website.
In the beginning, we mentioned that there are several factors that Google takes into consideration. In fact, there are over 200 Google’s ranking factors. Backlinko, one of the most influential SEO professionals, published an article about Google Ranking factors and put them into categories. One of the categories in the list is called User Interaction and it contains 11 factors, which shows that UX is significantly important in SEO.
5 Ways to Improve Your SEO with UX Research
Let’s be more concrete. How exactly can UX research boost your SEO? There are 5 ways and tools that you can look at to upgrade your SEO.
1. Good Information Architecture
As Backlinko puts it in their article: ”A well put-together site architecture (for example, a silo structure) helps Google thematically organize your content ”. Therefore, problematic navigation has a huge impact on SEO performance.
Site architecture is one of the crucial ranking factors.
Therefore, Information Architecture plays a big role here. When users are getting lost, are confused with your labels and categorization systems, they will probably just leave the page. So, make sure that your navigation is present on all pages and the titles of categories are consistent and understandable.
But how do you find out whether your users find the navigation menu easy and intuitive? Try the Card Sorting study. It helps you to understand how users categorize the information on the website. Create cards and find out how users expect them to be grouped.
This is a great way to find out whether the visitors consider your website’s IA logical and intuitive. Where would they expect the items to be?
To evaluate the results of the Card Sorting study, or an IA of the existing website, we recommend to conduct a Tree Testing. It will easily point out where users get lost or confused and will help you make sure everything is at the right place.
2. Content is the King
The content of the website has a significant impact on SEO. It’s content is no longer created only for keywords but also for users and answering their questions.
When writing, ask yourself:
- What does a user want from my content?
- What is the problem and how can I help with it?
Your content should include the keywords but also needs to offer the answers that your users are looking for. Let’s take a look at some ranking factors connected to content:
Content Length Ranking Factor
Content that contains more words is assumed to be more elaborate on the topic than shorter articles.
Does your article contain niche or academic vocabulary? What about an easy and basic language? In fact, Google supports intermediate reading level since it is easy to read for a broader audience.
The Structure of the Content
Bullets and numbered lists are easier to consume for readers. Which makes them more user-friendly and favourable to Google. When writing an article, use numbered lists or bullets and structure the text in an easy-to-read way.
Where you put your links is also important for Google. The link in the text has more power than the link standing alone in the footer.
3. Rank Brain Factor
RankBrain is an AI algorithm often referred to as the third most important ranking factor. Its goal is to understand the keywords we are searching for and to measure user satisfaction.
RankBrain will present users with search results that they may be interested in. If the person likes the website, you get your points and if not, Google replaces the website with another option from the search. So, what exactly is RankBrain looking for in user’s behavior on your page?
There are at least 3 UX aspects:
- Dwell Time
- Bounce Rate
- Organic Click-Through Rate
Those aspects will give Google information on whether they enjoyed the experience or not. When a visitor opens your page and leaves it immediately, taking no action, it may indicate irrelevant information or issues with usability.
Website testing will answer your concerns regarding the quality of interation with the design. How do users interact with your website? What choices are they making and are they able to achieve their goals? While conducting website testing, you have to think like a researcher. The most efficient is to test a certain segment or part of the website. The best way is to test a concrete functionality or pathway that users make. Is it easy and intuitive to finish one process, like booking a room or contacting you in contact forms? The website testing tool gives you the answers you are looking for. Based on the data you can improve the quality of overall experience and functionality for users. Results of website testing can lead to a better understanding of their need and issues with the design and you stop losing your visitors.
4. Bounce Rate
In the previous point, we mentioned the importance of RankBrain. Bounce rate was one of the aspects. Let’s look at it more closely.
Bounce rate can measure the opening of your website but left-back to google. In other words, somebody visited your website, didn’t find what they were looking for, and left.
Benchmark bounce rate averages:
- 20-45% e-commerce
- 25-55 B2B websites
- 30-55% lead generation websites
- 35-60% content webpage, non e-commerce
- 60-90% landing pages
- 65-90% of blogs, portals
A good UX design has the potential to reduce the bounce rate that is higher than average. When thinking about the design, incorporate a call to action (CTA) that is clickable. CTA leads to engagement with the website. You should be offering high-quality information and adding value to the content. This will increase the time the user spends on the website. Such changes lead to improvement of bounce rate and therefore Google’s ranking.
Analyzing the results of a Session Recording study can help you understand the behavior of users and their expectations as well as find things you need to improve.
5. Device Responsiveness
Responsive design is a mandatory factor. Based on the statistics, more than 55% of total web traffic comes from mobile phones. Therefore Google will never promote a website that is not responsive, as well as users will never stay there for a long time.
There are various tools in UX research that can give you feedback about the responsiveness of your design.
Website testing is an amazing tool that helps you to find the answers you are looking for. Imagine a scenario: you give your participants a task – to do a certain action, like booking an apartment for 2 persons in August. Compare the results when doing a task on desktop and mobile phones. Is there a critical discrepancy? Identify concrete issues and improve the design.
Being Relevant is the Key
The balance and cooperation of SEO and UX experts as other professionals may lead to a more elaborate understanding of users’ behavior and you have to take advantage of it! Understanding the intentions and interests of users is the first step when improving the overall quality of the website.
Be innovative and apply these UX research methods to understand the issues and potential threats that may occur. Create a free UXtweak account and use all these powerful tools to improve your SEO as much as you want! At the end of the day, Google’s ranking reflects the behavior of users. It is the users who matter the most.
Hazel Raoult is the Marketing Manager at PRmention, a digital PR agency for SaaS and Tech Businesses.