fbpx

Balancing User Experience (UX) Design and SEO

By: Allie Huska

As SEO professionals, our job is to try to find the balance between creating content for google and creating content for users. While SEOs work to make our content appear useful to Google, site designers ensure that the user experience (UX) is accessible, usable, and useful to the actual people that visit a site. Because of this, UX is an important part of your websites’ performance and has the potential to affect your traffic and SEO.

If the user experience on your site is lacking, you might wind up driving traffic to competitors that provide a better experience through sound UX design practices.

You can ensure that your SEO work drives as much traffic and conversions as possible by understanding what UX design is, how it impacts SEO, and how you can harness the power of UX to help outrank your competitors.

What are the Types of UX?

UX is a central component of the way visitors interact with, gain information, and form opinions about your site. Not only does UX make the experience of navigating your site easy and enjoyable, it’s an important part of keeping your site usable and accessible to those who may use assistive technology to access it.

UX is about more than just improving an experience. It should also take into account the potential difference between people choosing to stay or leave your site. This is key for those focused on improving their traffic and conversions, as even the best SEO services won’t help if there is no one there to read your content. There are a few components to UX that can change your visitors’ site experience for the better and keep them on your web pages, including the informational, interactive and visual elements of your site.

Informational

The informational part of UX refers to the way information is presented to site visitors. This requires putting thought into how your pages and site are organized, and should result in intuitive and easy access to any information that visitors may be seeking. Informational elements include site maps, drop down menus, content formatting, and general site navigation.

Interactive

Interactive elements include the buttons, menus, video players, surveys, and anything else that may require a visitor to  interact with it in order to navigate your site. While SEO professionals may focus on ensuring machines can access content, the interactive UX side of things ensures that the humans who visit your site are able to interact with and access your content and product.

Visual

Visual UX includes any element of your site that can be physically seen by a user. Not only do you want your site to be visually appealing, present a cohesive brand identity, and lead users to your target pages, but this is another area of site design where it is important to keep in mind the principles of accessible web design.

What are the Elements of Good UX Design?

So what exactly makes good UX design? And how will you know you’ve achieved it? Peter Morville of Semantic Studios, an informational architect with years of experience in the field, developed the user experience honeycomb. This clear and well developed diagram is meant to help everyone—but especially clients—understand why they must move beyond baseline usability on their sites. It presents the following facets as important parts of the UX process.

Useful

Moving beyond just offering a product or service, the useful component of UX requires us to ask ourselves whether what we’re offering to site users is truly useful. Bringing genuinely informative and useful content and services should be a key component of your site and product design.

Usable

The pages, information, content, and all additional elements must be easy to understand and use on a site. While usability is a key foundation of good UX design, modern UX standards ask us to move beyond usability in ways that are beneficial to all.

Desirable

While we want site experiences to be efficient, the desirability components of UX require us to call on emotional design elements, and to create sites and pages that spark genuine interest or reaction in site visitors.

Findable

Site pages and components should be findable, meaning navigation should be clear, easy, and intuitive. This can also mean relying on other link building and keyword focused content creation to ensure that your information is ranking in search engines and finding its way to your intended audience.

Accessible

Accessible design is created with the needs of all users, including those living with a disability and anyone who may use assistive technologies to access the web.

Credible

According to recent studies by Stanford, web designers are starting to gain a more robust understanding of how design impacts user trust. As such, UX, and even branding, can play a huge role in determining whether or not visitors view your site as credible.

Valuable

Ultimately, websites and the products, services, and content they offer must be valuable to users. It is important to consistently ask oneself what value a piece of content, a site element, or a service may offer a client or site user.

Useful

Moving beyond just offering a product or service, the useful component of UX requires us to ask ourselves whether what we’re offering to site users is truly useful. Bringing genuinely informative and useful content and services should be a key component of your site and product design.

Usable

The pages, information, content, and all additional elements must be easy to understand and use on a site. While usability is a key foundation of good UX design, modern UX standards ask us to move beyond usability in ways that are beneficial to all.

Desirable

While we want site experiences to be efficient, the desirability components of UX require us to call on emotional design elements, and to create sites and pages that spark genuine interest or reaction in site visitors.

Findable

Site pages and components should be findable, meaning navigation should be clear, easy, and intuitive. This can also mean relying on other link building and keyword focused content creation to ensure that your information is ranking in search engines and finding its way to your intended audience.

Accessible

Accessible design is created with the needs of all users, including those living with a disability and anyone who may use assistive technologies to access the web.

Credible

According to recent studies by Stanford, web designers are starting to gain a more robust understanding of how design impacts user trust. As such, UX, and even branding, can play a huge role in determining whether or not visitors view your site as credible.

Valuable

Ultimately, websites and the products, services, and content they offer must be valuable to users. It is important to consistently ask oneself what value a piece of content, a site element, or a service may offer a client or site user.

Google Updates That Have Impacted UX and SEO

The algorithm that dictates how Google ranks pages is constantly changing, but thankfully, Google is fairly transparent with users on how these updates affect site rankings. A few updates in particular have been key in benefitting the SERP ranking of UX optimized sites and content. These updates included the Google page experience update, which focused on deprioritizing the rankings of pages that featured intrusive adverts, a lack of core web vitals, and that were missing HTTPS security—all things that impact the actual visitor experience.

 

How UX Helps Boost Your SEO Efforts

It is often noted that SEO is focused on helping machines understand and value our content, whereas UX elements are important for helping humans access the things we create. While this is true, and the two may seem at odds because of this, there are many places where the two overlap in meaningful ways. Especially as machines get smarter and search engines such such as Google learn to value the user experience more, UX will ultimately play a large role in how your pages rank.

Because of this, UX design is beneficial to SEO in the following ways:

Reduce Site Abandonment

One of the biggest reasons people leave a site is due to loading time or poorly designed pages. Site abandonment is also a huge signal to search engines that people aren’t able to find what they need on your page, and can negatively impact your SERP ranking. By ensuring your design is optimized for quick loading times and an accessible user experience, you can help boost your search engine ranking. 

Improve Web Conversions

While conversions and rankings may be two different elements, the two positively impact each other in a cyclical way by focusing on your site’s traffic and user follow through. When a site is easy to use and navigate, it increases your traffic and sales, which further boosts your site traffic and profitability.

Increase The Average Page Views Per Session

With a well designed and easy to navigate site, you can encourage users to visit other parts or your site or spend more time engaging with other pieces of content. This can especially help SEO optimized content, as an easy to use site will encourage visitors to move from one piece of content to another through the aid of well optimized pages and successful internal linking structures

How to Be Sure Your UX is Optimized

One of the easiest ways to ensure your site and content is being properly optimized is to run a Core Web Vitals report through Google. Google’s Core Web Vitals pull from real world data to provide insights as to how your site is performing. Google also offers solutions for both non-technical and web developers to help tackle any problems or pages that don’t meet operating standards according to the report. By ensuring your site meets these core standards, you can be sure that your SEO and content creation efforts are not done in vain.

Conclusion

Good, thoughtful, and useful UX design can and should go hand in hand with SEO optimized site pages and content. By doing so, you can build a comfortable experience for users—ultimately signaling to search engines that your content and product is useful and worth prioritizing. With both SEO and UX design at your disposal, you’ll have an easier time providing an exceptional site experience while growing your traffic and outranking your competitors. 

Get Started

Get Your Free Ranking Roadmap Report!

X