You may or may not have heard of RankBrain – it’s Google’s machine-learning mechanism that measures your user experience (UX). This intelligent system has existed for years now, and not only that — it has learned a lot and refined itself over time.
Using this algorithm, Google measures (quite successfully) the seemingly elusive UX factor and rewards you with the corresponding place in search results.
However, despite the fact that UX has become one of the most important ranking elements, people still seem to ignore it.
So here’s how UX affects your SEO, why you should care, and how you can improve it.
Why UX Matters
Long gone are the days when you had to optimize your website only for crawlers and not for people. Since then, Google has perfected its core algorithm, and it can now tell whether your visitors are getting what they need from your site.
No matter how much attention you pay to other ranking factors, if your UX is off, there’s no way you’ll appear high in SERPs. The truth is UX actually overlaps with other elements of SEO, and it shows whether you’ve created and optimized your website with real people in mind.
How UX Affects Your SEO
Measuring user experience might seem like trying to catch a unicorn, but in reality, it’s quantifiable and easy to capture. For example, one of the elements that reveal your UX is your click-through rate — it shows how many people enter your site when it appears in their search.
However, that’s not enough. If most visitors give up as soon as they land, Google can see that too – it’s your bounce rate. There can be many reasons why they leave so soon, such as poor loading time, and you need to figure the problem out and fix it.
Your visitors’ dwell time is another indicator of whether they’re enjoying your site. If they stick around for a while, it means your content must be matching the searcher’s intent, which should be your aim.
If you don’t pass these “tests” with flying colors, you may end up having a huge problem ranking because the search engine won’t see your content as relevant to the searchers’ queries.
Here’s How to Improve Your UX
In essence, what you need to do to improve your UX is understand users’ search intent and cater to it. This means you need to know your audience and what they want to find on your site. That way, you can create content that will answer that intent.
But it’s not only about serving content – if your design is off, for example, it may repel your visitors and make them look elsewhere.
So here are the most important elements of UX.
As we’ve already mentioned, the loading time of your website can seriously deter your visitors. These days, people like to whip up their phones and make a quick search at any given moment, and slow loading is not an option anymore; otherwise, your bounce rate will sky-rocket.
Create Relevant Content
So content is still king, and it is the number one reason why people visit you in the first place. Figure out what they expect to read and what kind of answers they require. Also, make your content on point — if the query requires a simple answer, don’t drone on and on unnecessarily.
Mind Your Design
Is your website “easy on the eye”? Or are you one of those people who put tiny white letters on a black background? Our point is — make sure your design is alluring and user-friendly. Make it as enticing as possible and don’t go overboard; keep it simple.
Optimize for Mobile Devices
As you might suspect, half of the world’s internet traffic comes from mobile devices. That means that not making your site mobile-friendly is a huge mistake. It could cost you so many potential visits, subscriptions, and conversions, so make sure to ensure a seamless mobile experience.
Enhance UX With Chatbots
You can take user experience to a whole new level by utilizing customer service AI chatbots. These digital assistants can answer all your visitors’ questions, provide assistance, and even onboard them. The bots can have natural conversations with visitors, and they’re available 24/7.
Perform SEO Audits Often
No matter how meticulous you are about the above elements, it’s a great idea to perform a quick SEO audit every once in a while and even a targeted UX audit. This type of checkup can pinpoint the exact stumbling blocks for your visitors and fix them. It will also help you learn more about user needs and how to meet them in general.
As you can see, UX might be the most relevant factor to watch if you want to rank high. Hopefully, you will never underestimate it again.