The Importance of Website Usability and SEO

The Importance of Website Usability and SEO

In the past, we have written about the topics of user experience and search engine optimization quite extensively, but today we would like to hit on their multifaceted and interconnected relationship with one another. Modern trends in the development and advancement of search engines, as well as the SEO recommendations that come from these search engines themselves, all point to the importance of the indisputable need for a website to boast a high-quality user experience if it is to be successful in the realm of search engine optimization. A site with a good user experience/ usability is one that allows visitors to conveniently and effortlessly navigate the site to find what they are looking for and to experience what the site’s designers intended for them to experience.

The importance of good user experience on a website cannot be overemphasized. If you are to look at a website from a behavioral standpoint alone, good user experience means visitors will stay on your site for longer and they will search through it at much deeper levels. Analyzing good user experience from the site owner’s point of view, we notice that the rate of accuracy for customer conversion increases, overall site conversion rates increase, and its profitability spikes upward. Even when looking at good user experience from the point of view of end users, we will see that the site is perceived as more trustworthy, increasing loyalty to the website and increasing the amount of times that visitor in particular is likely to return to the site. And it almost goes without saying that if your website allows for a quick and accurate search for particular goods or services on the page itself, you will better increase your chances of turning a profit. A website’s usability closely intersects with its internal optimization. If a website is well-crafted and constantly maintained and updated, your SEO and online marketing efforts will benefit. That said its very important to stay up to date with the latest SEO trends. Neglecting to continuously update and maintain your website through frequent audits and redesigns where necessary will simply not bring you the rank or position at the top that you desire in search engines like Google.

The Best Ways To Improve Website Usability

Though the internet may offer you a plethora of ways in which you can purportedly increase the overall user experience of your company’s website, the task is actually much more difficult than it may seem. However, when analyzing the question at hand, some general trends do indeed emerge. 

Right and false website block with testimonialsRight and false website block with recommendationsMinimalistic web design in contact formsStructured SEO content with conversion buttonsCreate an offer that customers can't refuseBest website features to attract customers

Firstly, we must take modern design trends into account. Nowadays, modern companies employ a minimalistic design scheme on their sites so that prominent information stands out, while unimportant information is entirely absent. This allows the customer to find what they want with ease and also allows for a greater chance of them finding the information that you wish for them to see. For instance, if you are an online marketing company in Philadelphia or Denver and you want your customers to find your contact information with ease, a minimalistic design scheme allows for them to easily navigate the site because you highlighted what is important and eliminated what isn’t. Not to mention, most internet users nowadays have an almost subconscious intuition that tells them whether or not a site is modern or outdated simply from the way the design impacts them and makes them feel.

Secondly, you must constantly monitor and stay up to date with the Material by SEOWhat is SEO?What is SEO?Which is Better, Pay-Per-Click or SEO?Which is Better, Pay-Per-Click or SEO? modern trends of site construction.This means that you must not only keep an eye on what your competition is doing, but also watch the big players in the game. The ones that are spending millions upon millions of dollars on research and analysts that work everyday to constantly test and employ new tactics that improve site usability and visitor satisfaction. By watching these companies and their sites, you can gain valuable insight that will give you an edge over your competition. More often than not, this will give you a boost in terms of search engine optimization as well. Creating a good website for your business is something everyone should be aiming for. Thirdly, walk a mile in your users’ shoes. Better yet, make it ten. Think of how they might perceive your site if they are visiting it for the first time. Large buttons, obscure fonts, obvious clues and hints, menu after menu after menu, curve linking, banal simplistic design (or its opposite), and an excessive congestion of the site with tons of stupid additional (re: unneeded) features are all signs that the site is of poor design and reflects negatively on the user’s perception of the owner company.

Your end users are not fools, and you must respect them and their opinions. After all, it is up to them as to when your wallet is full or empty. In order to listen to user feedback, you must ensure that their is an open channel of communication between you and internet users. The easiest way to do this is through a discussion forum. Take what users have to say with serious consideration and apply their advice where you see fit. This is an easy and effective way to boost site rank, improve SEO results, and increase the overall user experience. Finally, we all have heard of the army of assessors (Quality Raters), available on most search engines in high abundance. These quality raters scan the top websites in a given set of parameters and spit out a checklist of the common features that all of these sites have in common that make them so successful. Learn from these lists. The ideal version of this piece of advice is to be featured on them. Reaching to the top position in many competitive areas means that you are now the ideal to which others will conform.

Common Signs of Good Website Usability

  • Meaningful ease of use
  • Excellent design
  • Common sense in layout, code, and design; based on the preferences of your users
  • Placement of site content based on importance
  • A visual hierarchy of website content

There are literally thousands of books that have been written on the topic of website usability. There are also plenty of relatively decent analytical tools that you can use to run an analysis of your site’s user experience as well. We at Direct Line Development, one of the best web design and search engine optimization companies in Philadelphia and Denver, can conduct a user experience analysis of your page absolutely free. Just write to us in the comments section or call our office.

Website usability and SEO in Global Conservation websiteWebsite usability and SEO in Media Active Inc websiteWebsite usability and SEO in The Bergey Group websiteWebsite usability and SEO in Stauffer's One Hour websiteWebsite usability and SEO in Mel's Pizza Eatery website

How Most Users Evaluate A Site’s User Experience

Websites, just like people, only get one chance at a first impression. Although when meeting people, we will form our opinions after a minute or two, websites are judged and labeled within 1-2 seconds after the user initially enters the site. Thus it is user experience that carries the heaviest weight on a visitor’s likelihood of bouncing from the site. As you may recall from previous articles, a high bounce rate has an adverse effect on SEO and could drastically lower your position and rank within Google’s search result listings. If a visitor comes to the site and stays there for at least 3-4 seconds, we can conclude they have formed an opinion of the site that is at least passable and have a level of trust in it that ranges, typically, anywhere from 60-80%.

Below, we have outlined the main factors that affect a user’s attitude towards and level of confidence in a website:

  • A rapid understanding of the site’s theme, subject, and goals
  • The quality of design and its relevance to the site
  • The visibility of the business’s address and contact information (if applicable)
  • The presence of a telephone number in an easy-to-find area on the site
  • The presence of a bright, understandable, and competitive offer (sales, discounts, goods offered at bargain prices, unique delivery times etc.)

A pivotal moment in your communication with the customer is being able to convey to him the purpose of the site almost as soon as they enter. This is key in gaining user trust and upping your website’s overall conversion rate. There are four simple rules to follow that make an effective website.

A simple way to increase the speed with which your message is conveyed to users is to have a well-articulated and clearly understood headline on the main page of your site.

How Visitors Analyze and Navigate Your Website

Most people are conservative when visiting a website for the first time. They will be skeptical to click anything before they first fully understand the basics of what they are looking at and what type of company they are dealing with. Thus, when we visit an unfamiliar site, we often examine it in accordance with this scheme:

Visitors steps that analyse and navigate on your website

Sequences of actions between each point:

  • 1-2: The visitor studies the subject and content of the site
  • 2-3: The visitor looks for the product or service the company offers
  • 3-4: The visitor looks for confirmation of the company’s reliability
  • The visitor obtains and internalizes the “Subject-Product Offer-Trust” formula

It is of note that the most important part of the this diagram is the intersection of the lines from 1-2 and 3-4.

What is Bounce Rate and How Can One Properly Understand it?

If you have ever used Google Analytics, you have probably seen the category that analyzes your site’s Bounce Rate. From Google: ““A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.”

In most cases, a high Bounce Rate is a bad sign. With the exception of single-page sites and pages serving features such as “Contact Us,” we want users to spend as much time as possible on the site reading the text, watching videos, asking questions, etc. As one might expect, Google loves sites with a low Bounce Rate because it shows Google that your site is busy. A busy site is a useful site. As such Google will promote it to the top of its search results. In order to improve your Bounce Rate metrics, you need to first understand where your traffic is coming from. Then you must further determine where the good traffic is coming from (the people who stay and browse) and where the bad traffic is coming from (the people who bounce).

Below is an example from Google Analytics describing the weekly behavior of visitors coming and going on our site directlinedev.com. It would at first appear that the worst type of traffic comes from social media, but this is actually not quite the case when you take trends of behavior into account. On social media sites, it is much more common for a user to click a link, look for a few seconds, close it, and then continue to browse the social media platform. This is important to take into account when determining which adjustments to make to your site. The best type of traffic is that of Direct users. These are the people who have purposefully typed in our URL and are heading straight our site. They know that the site is functional and that it contains the information they need.

Google Analytics template describing the weekly visitors behavior

Summing It All Up

Just as is the case with most things related to search engine optimization, good site usability and quality user experience are pricy, but long-term investments in your website. You must always remember that when you employ any SEO tactic on your website, it compounds with the other techniques already present on your page and thus increases your overall position in Google and enhances your online marketing efforts. Just like search engine optimization, the effects of user experience are long term. It will keep customers coming back because they understand that you are already a reliable source for whatever needs you fulfill. People like what they are already comfortable with, so we advise that you do not skimp on your usability efforts.

We have written other articles which elaborate more in depth on the pitfalls of template websites such as WordPress or Wix, but it is worth saying here that you simply will not be able to establish a good user experience on one of these types sites, at least not without overpaying by thousands of dollars. Your money is better spend at a major web development company whose experience in organic and top tier results in online marketing will be worth every penny. We at Direct Line Development have vast experience when it comes to solving the most intricate and complex problems associated with increasing user experience levels. Our clients are based not only in Philadelphia and Denver, but from all over the country, pointing to the fact that we employ sound and true principles that are effective for user conversion and satisfaction regardless of geographical location. For those of you have read this article to the very end, we will analyze your site’s user experience levels absolutely free! Leave us a comment or give us a call!

The article was updated on January 16, 2018.

Alex Kudimov
Alex Kudimov

Comments

SG
Steve Greenspan

Let's be honest, we want to use sites that are fun and engaging. This is a great article that gets a little more meta into the additional reasons why you want your website to be usable and how Google can see that as a promotional factor. Great article!

GQ
Greg Queen

A lot of people don't quite understand the relationship between User Experience and SEO, and how both need to work together.

KD
Kevin DeAngelo

Great read, a strong user experience in a time when visitors are looking for information and confirmation as fast as possible is important. This plays an enormous role in Google's evaluation of your site. Anyone serious about engaging their visitors and creating repeat traffic must consider this.

KD
Kevin DeAngelo

It's clear that many factors come into play when a user interacts with your website; armed with these data points and the experience of a well established Development company enables business owners to get the most ROI out of their website and web promotion efforts. Anyone serious about getting the best for their dollars spent should consider the points in this blog article.

It is a great article with a lot of useful information. UX can affect conversion in a good or bad way and it is very important to understand what are the must-haves of a good UX.

Do you want google to promote your site? Do you want to want your visitors to engage with your site and convert and come back? Let them have a good experience when they visit your website and you will be able to achieve these goals.
There are so many components that take place in building a great website and this is one of the very many that make our Developers and Designers great at what they do!

Making a website with an outstanding design and not focusing on SEO is like driving a brand new Mercedes but only getting 5 MPG. A good website is only as good as its SEO. Great read, coming back for more!!

There is so much that goes into User experience affecting SEO. I think the most important thing is to stay updated and keeping in mind that all the work that goes into SEO is long-term, but requires a lot of work and some patience.

This article perfectly sums up why user experience is important for SEO- a fact that many people (and SEO companies) easily overlook.

LJ
liam jason

Staggering Article!!! Development keeps changing and what works today to the extent SEO does not mean it won't change tomorrow. That is the reason it is basic to stay over what's new and keep changing your systems to beat your adversaries. Remember, SEO does not Sleep!!! It is nonstop and it requires you to stay over it!!! Great read, a solid client involvement in a period when guests are searching for data and affirmation as quick as conceivable is vital. This assumes a huge part of Google's assessment of your site. Anybody genuine about connecting with their guests and making rehash activity must think about this.

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