How UI and UX Impacts SEO
There is an endless, ongoing debate on this topic that reveals how important SEO is for your online business. In fact, if your SEO is poor, your website will not be visible and, therefore, will not be successful.
The concept that your website must have effective SEO is easily understood, but how to improve your SEO metrics is not as simple. Online businesses are dealing with more and more sophisticated search engines and constant algorithm updates that are kept confidential. Therefore, SEO is not even close to an exact science and can easily drive you crazy, or make you feel confused about what move you should make.
There is no doubt, that currently search engines have become very effective in analyzing websites to determine which are the most valuable. However, you should never forget that you are still dealing with a machine that, even though advanced, will never read your website the same way a human does.
Therefore, the User Interface is critical for your SEO, but the User Experience still plays a major role in driving sales and conversions. When both the User Interface and the User Experience are well thought out and optimized, they will have a positive impact on your SEO performance.
Why User Interface is Important for SEO
The User Interface can be compared to the engine of your car. If your car has a polished and shiny body, but the engine doesn’t work properly, your car will be of little help, if not completely useless. Therefore, your User Interface must be designed to boost performance on search engines and meet your users’ expectations at the same time.
A critical step in User Interface design is to use a clean code that can be easily crawled by search engines. Of course, your users will be unaware of your coding, but search engines refer to it to understand the structure of your website and your content. If your code is messy and difficult to read, your website will get a negative score and its ranking will be penalized. Moreover, a code that is not clean will slow down your website performance making it very unappealing to search engines and your users as well.
A well-designed User Interface will anticipate your users’ needs and make sure they find what they need easily. Which means that your menu and content will be organized in a way that is easy and intuitive to navigate. Besides satisfying your users, such design will also reflect how your website displays on the search results.
For instance, as you can see in the following screenshot, when the website structure and site navigation is clean, it can lead to sitelinks appearing in Google search results. Google will give priority to such clean websites and the sitelinks will give you several opportunities to have users accessing your pages. This is an example of good SEO optimization.
Another important feature of your User Interface that directly affects SEO is the responsiveness. After the 2018 Mobile Friendly update, Google now considers the mobile version of your website as the main website. Therefore, unless your User Interface is optimized for mobile devices, your SEO performance will be extremely limited.
What Makes User Interface Ineffective?
What are the main problems that disrupt the effectiveness of your User Interface?
A primary problem is not having your core content and the needs of your users clearly in mind. A lack of understanding in this area will prevent you from organizing your content efficiently; making both your visitors and search engines confused.
Another issue is related to the platform you use. WordPress and Drupal, for instance, are powerful tool to build your website. However, if you add too many plug-ins, add-ons, or other elements, you may be left with messy code that will reduce the performance of your website.
Therefore, unless you are well versed in web design and coding, it is highly advisable to avail yourself of the support of a professional who can analyze your content, clean your code and eliminate unnecessary elements to create a high performing and SEO optimized User Interface.
How User Experience Effects SEO Performance
User Experience is mainly focused on ensuring that once a visitor enters your website, they are satisfied with what they find and with the ease of navigating through your content. A great User Experience should always be your final goal since it will determine if you will retain a visitor and if they will buy your products or services.
Even though not directly related to SEO, in reality, User Experience can contribute to the performance of your website on search engines.
Search engines today are very advanced, but they still do not have the capability of reading your content and evaluating it. To a certain extent, they use metrics as indicators of the quality of your website and they assign you a ranking based on those metrics.
Some of these metrics are closely related to the User Experience. For instance, time spent on pages, bounce rate, backlinks and more all play a role in either improving, or decreasing your SEO ranking. These metrics all depend on how users interact with your website, or the User Experience.
What contributes to a good User Experience and better SEO?
You must begin with how your website appears on the search results. Optimize both your meta title and meta description to entice clicking. If your meta tags are not effective and receive only a few clicks, search engines read this data as an indicator that users do not think your content is valuable. Therefore, make sure to write your meta title and description including, of course, main KW, but make it appealing and intriguing giving users a reason to enter your site.
For instance, we researched the phrase “how to write an effective meta tag” and here is an example of a meta tag well written. Both the title and the description are intriguing, anticipate a practical benefit, and make the reader curious about the content on this page.
The next one, instead, is not effective. The title doesn’t add any value to the reader and the description doesn’t give any useful hint about the content of the page. The reader will not be curios or eager to read the content and will not click on the link. If this is the case, your SEO will be affected negatively.
Bounce Rate and Internal Linking
Once the user has entered your site, make sure that they spend as much time as possible there. This can be achieved, primarily, by creating valuable content that addresses the specific needs of your visitors.
In addition, you should have an internal linking strategy directing the visitor to additional content on your website. All of that will increase the amount of time spent on your site and reduce the bounce rate to the benefit of both your business and SEO performance.
Another benefit of adding valuable and unique content to your website is that other people will link to your pages because they find them interesting. Backlinks acquired this way are one of the most important factors to boost your SEO performance and you should aim at acquiring as many of them as possible.
Another important factor in User Experience is the speed of your website. A slow website discourages users who will abandon the site immediately and, as explained above, will hinder your SEO.
Besides optimizing your code, in order to increase the speed of your website, you must optimize images — reducing their size if they are too big. Moreover, refrain from adding useless elements, pop-ups, and add-ons that do not contribute to the User Experience and, instead, slow down your website.
User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are both important elements to make your online business successful. You must make sure that they are optimized to have a positive impact on your SEO. Of course, to find the right settings for your website is not always straightforward. It often requires a lot of testing, acquiring feedback from users, and technical skills.
QPSoftware is a web design agency in Shanghai, China and we have been building and optimizing our client’s websites for more than 10 years. Our strength is our capability to analyze your specific audience and select the core content. Based on that, we can create the best User Interface and User Experience for your specific market.
If you want to boost your online performance, contact us today and we will share what we can do for you.