User experience is the foundation of a site’s usability, and it’s an aspect of on-page SEO that many people overlook.
If your site lacks the positive user experience and ease of use that end users require to navigate your site, you’ll push visitors to your competitors.
In this guide, you’ll learn what user experience (UX) entails, the types of experiences, the difference between UI and UX, and why it matters to SEO.
What Is User Experience (UX)?
UX is how people interact with your website.
You’ll also find this term used for products, but we’re focusing strictly on websites at the moment.
If you have a, intuitive user interface design, users will have an easier time navigating your site and finding the information they want.
If you do have a digital product, such as a SaaS solution, this interaction will also occur on your digital product.
User experience elicits a couple of things:
In short, user experience can provide a positive experience with your website – or it can lead to frustration among users.
Note: Usability is not UX design. It’s a component of UX that works with design to create the experience your users desire.
What Are The Types Of User Experience?
User experience evaluation must look at the three types of UX design to best understand the needs of the end user.
The three types of UX include:
- Information: One aspect of a content strategy that goes overlooked is information architecture. Time must be spent on how information on a site is organized and presented. User flows and navigation must be considered for all forms of information you present.
- Interaction: Your site has an interaction design pattern – or a certain way that users interact with the site. Components of a site that fall under the interaction UX type include buttons, interfaces, and menus.
- Visual design: Look and feel matter for the end user. You want your website to have cohesion between its color, typography, and images. User interface (UI) will fall under this type of UX, but it’s important to note that UI is not interchangeable with UX.
What Is The Difference Between UI & UX?
Speaking of UX and UI, it’s important to have a firm understanding of the difference between the two to better understand user experience.
UI design is your site’s visual elements, including:
Visual elements on your site are part of the user interface.
UI definitely overlaps with UX to an extent, but they’re not the same.
Steve Krug also has a great book on usability, titled “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.” It was first published in 2000, and the book is a #1 bestseller today.
Steve’s insight from over 20 years ago (although we’re now on the 3rd edition of the book) provides guidelines on usability that include:
- Ease of use.
- Everything UX.
If there’s one thing this book will teach you about usability, it’s to focus on intuitive navigation. Frustrating website users is the exact opposite of a good user experience.
UX works on UI and how the user will:
- Interact with your site.
- Feel during the interaction.
Think of Google for a moment.
A simple landing page that is visually appealing, but Spartan in nature, is the face of the Internet. In terms of UX, Google is one of the best sites in the world, although it lacks a spectacular UI.
In fact, the UI needs to be functional and appealing, but the UX is what will stand out the most.
Imagine if you tried performing a search on Google and it displayed the wrong results or took one minute for a query to run. In this case, even the nicest UI would not compensate for the poor UX.
Peter Morville’s user experience honeycomb is one of the prime examples of how to move beyond simple usability and focus on UX in new, exciting ways.
The honeycomb includes multiple points that are all combined to maximize the user experience. These facets are:
When you focus on all of these elements, you’ll improve the user experience dramatically.
Why User Experience Matters To SEO
By this point, you understand that UX is very important to your site’s visitors and audience.
A lot of time, analysis, and refinement must go into UX design. However, there’s another reason to redirect your attention to user experience: SEO.
Google Page Experience Update
When Google’s Page Experience Update was fully rolled out, it had an impact on websites that offered a poor user experience.
The page experience update is now slowly rolling out for desktop. It will be complete by the end of March 2022. Learn more about the update: https://t.co/FQvMx3Ymaf
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) February 22, 2022
Multiple aspects of UX are part of the ranking factors of the update, including:
- Intrusive adverts.
- Core Web Vitals.
- HTTPS Security.
You can run a Core Web Vitals report here and make corrections to meet these requirements. Additionally, you should know whether your site has intrusive ads that irritate users, and if your site lacks HTTPS.
Page performance works to improve your SEO. Google’s research shows that focusing on UX can:
- Reduce site abandonment by as much as 24%.
- Improve web conversions.
- Increase the average page views per session by as much as 15%.
- Boost advertising revenue by 18% or more.
When you spend time improving your site’s UX, you benefit from higher rankings, lower page abandonment, improved conversions, and even more revenue.
Plus, many of the practices to improve UX are also crucial components of a site’s on-page SEO, such as:
- Proper header usage.
- Adding lists to your content.
- Making use of images.
- Optimizing images for faster loading times.
- Filling content gaps with useful information.
- Reducing “content fluff.”
- Using graphs.
- Testing usability across devices.
When you improve UX, you create a positive experience for users, while also improving many of the on-page SEO foundations of your website.
Customer experience must go beyond simple responsive web design.
Hick’s law dictates that when you present more choices to users, it takes longer to reach a decision. You’ve likely seen this yourself when shopping online and finding hundreds of options.
When people land on your site, they’re looking for answers or knowledge – not confusion.
User research, usability testing, and revisiting user experience design often will help you inch closer to satisfying the SEO requirements of design while keeping your visitors (or customers) happier.
- On-Site Search Best Practices For SEO & User Experience
- Google Algorithms & Updates Focused On User Experience: A Timeline
- How Search Engine Algorithms Work: Everything You Need To Know
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