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In the early days of SEO, keyword stuffing and a ridiculous number of backlinks were the two things you needed to secure your place at the top of SERPs (search engine results pages). However, search engines have grown smarter. Nowadays, human behavior and user experience are equally as, if not more important.
What your website looks like, how it performs technically, and the journey it provides to users will ultimately determine your SEO success. UX design and SEO used to be seen as two completely separate entities – not anymore. These critical website skills go hand-in-hand, complementing each other and working together to enhance or tarnish your medical SEO strategy.
So, let’s discuss how these two practices merge into one and the SEO and UX design best practices that you should be implementing to skyrocket your rankings.
What Is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving technical and on-page elements of your website in line with search engine algorithms to improve SERPs rankings. The better your SEO strategy and implementation, the higher your website will rank.
What Is UX Website Design?
UX or user experience design is exactly as its name suggests. It’s the process of designing a website that provides users with an easy-to-navigate, informative, and enjoyable experience.
How Do SEO & UX Design Work Together?
As mentioned, search engines are clever – they know what a user wants and needs when visiting a website, meaning they are able to incorporate this into their algorithms. Before this was the case, website developers focussed on creating SEO-focused designs. Recently, they’ve had to change tactics and provide websites that are user-focused because this has become a fundamental aspect of SEO ranking. Are you seeing how and why UX for SEO is so important yet?
What User Behavior Data Do Search Engines Analyze?
Many elements contribute to your SEO ranking, but from a user behavior perspective, pogo-sticking and bounce rates seem to be the most important.
Pogo sticking is when a user clicks on a search result and very quickly leaves the website, returning to the search engine results page and clicking on another search result. It is incredibly similar to bounce rate, which is someone leaving your website quickly after landing on it. User behavior like this tells search engines that users aren’t finding what they were looking for when they found themselves on your website. This will be detrimental to your ranking for any keywords closely related to the search terms used when people bounced or pogo-sticked.
SEO & UX Design Best Practices
We’re not telling you to neglect all of your classic SEO ranking factors – they’re still incredibly important. The key takeaway from this article is that you need to add UX and technical SEO elements to give yourself the best shot at ranking highly.
Traditional SEO Best Practices
1. Keyword Optimization
Search engines still use keywords to determine what terms your website should be ranking for. While they’ve become smarter and don’t need exact matches in your content to show your website in results pages, you still need to research the most popular and frequently used terms and use them in your copy.
When another website links to your content, search engines see this as a referral, essentially another person recommending your website as useful and accurate. The more high-quality backlinks your website generates, the higher your ranking will be.
There are many more traditional SEO elements, but they now cross over into UX design SEO.
UX Design Best Practices for SEO
1. Page Loading Speeds
In the age of technology, users have become incredibly impatient, and search engines know this. The longer it takes for a website to load, the higher chance a user will give up before they see any content. So, how does this cross into UX design? When a designer is putting together a website, they need to factor in elements that affect loading speeds, such as image file sizes, the volume of third-party code, loading sequences such as lazy loading, and much more.
Putting the above-mentioned practices into place will ensure a website that loads rapidly, which is perfect for users and search engine crawl bots. If bots notice your website is a slow loader, your rankings will take a hit.
A great test to establish how your website is performing in this area is Google PageSpeed Insights.
2. Mobile Responsiveness
Did you know over 60% of website traffic comes from mobile? If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, more than half of your audience is being presented with a design that doesn’t function correctly. One of our top UX design tips is to ensure your website is responsive to all screen resolutions and sizes.
In order to check if your pages are mobile-optimized, you can use Google MobileFriendly Test.
3. Easy Navigation & User Journey
When someone lands on your website, you need to give them the path of least resistance to discover the information they’re looking for. You can use the navigation bar and in-body links to encourage users to click through to specific pages that you deem important to their purchasing decision.
Additionally, ensure your sitemap is up-to-date and fully functional, enabling crawlers to discover every page you want them to. The more content visible on your website, the better chance of your rankings improving. We recommend using Google Search Console to monitor the indexing and coverage of your website. Additionally, it will highlight any errors with your sitemap that need addressing.
Keep Testing & Improving
Just as with SEO, UX design is a case of constantly testing, optimizing, and analyzing. There are always improvements that need making, and you’re battling against your competitors for the top spots. This article should have demonstrated how UX SEO is critical to your search engine performance and driving organic traffic to your website. If you have further questions or need the assistance of an expert to implement the UX SEO best practices we’ve discussed, get in touch today, and one of the Digital Authority Partners experts will have the answers you’re looking for.