User experience, or UX, is vital to search rankings. Not only is the best possible UX what Google works towards with each algorithm update, but UX is also what brings users to and keeps them on your website. A poor user experience will result in high bounce rates, which then leads to lower search rankings, no matter how good your SEO is.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
The first step should be figuring out exactly who your website is for. These are the people who will need to like your website and find it useful. These are the people that you need to listen to and even change your website’s design to suit. It can be a good idea to ask users what they want and to make changes to your site accordingly.
There is a lot of content on the Internet and users have only so much time to decide whether or not a website is going to suit their needs. While high-quality content is important, too much information can overwhelm your users and cause them to decide not to continue reading it. Your site’s design should therefore make it as easy as possible for users to find the most important information.
Meet Users’ Expectations
It’s important to stand out from the crowd, but not at the expense of your users. You can use graphics and images and stellar content to catch your users’ attention. The design of your website, however, should still meet users’ expectations for how a website should be designed. Users won’t stay on your site if they can’t find the information they’re looking for or if a standard feature doesn’t work they way they expect it to.
Avoid Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO tactics are considered unethical for a reason – they’re designed to get search engines to notice the website at the expense of the user’s experience. Google has been updating its algorithm regularly in order to penalize sites that engage in these tactics in an effort to improve UX across the Internet. Using white hat SEO instead can improve your search rankings not only by avoiding a penalty but also just by making your site better for its users.
Put Yourself In the User’s Shoes
While it’s impossible to please everyone, there are some things that are commonly disliked that you can avoid doing. No one likes autoplaying sounds that they can’t turn off, pop-up ads that don’t easily close or pop up more than once, video ads that autoplay and then forcibly navigate the user to the ad’s location, and slow loading speeds. It’s really easy for users to click the back button or to exit out of the web page.
It’s usually pretty clear when a website has been made not for users but in order to advertise or for search engines. These pages have too many ads or the content doesn’t read well because it’s stuffed with too many instances of the site’s keywords. Users can tell when a site isn’t meeting their needs and will not hesitate to visit one of the many other websites on the Internet instead. So whenever you’re contemplating the design of your website, put yourself in the shoes of a user.