Part of Google’s philosophy has always been focused on delivering the best user experience. And today, we can only see UX escalating in importance. Even though often overlooked by SEOs, UX is and will always be critical for search engine optimization. This may make user experience optimization (UEO) a greater part of any SEO strategy in the future.
Search engines have been evolving since the day they were launched, so there is nothing surprising about the fact that SEO was forced to evolve as well to keep pace with increased demands and requirements of Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other platforms.
Gone are the days when we cared only about stuffing our websites with relevant keywords and chasing high SERPs. Nowadays, search engines think and act more like human beings, and for good reason. Who wants to stay more than 10 seconds on a website that ranks at the top of search results, but doesn’t provide the best user experience? Now, search engines are moving toward being 100% user-oriented by working to always keep searchers and their desires in mind.
What does this mean to SEOs? Search engines want you to stop thinking about THEM, and start thinking about USERS. If you put priority on Google searchers, Google will return the favor by moving your website to the top of their search results. It’s a classic Catch 22 situation, you’d say. Well, kinda, but the most important thing is that it plays into your hand.
If your business is conversion-oriented (and every business is, isn’t it?), keep UEO in mind, especially in 2018. This doesn’t mean that traditional SEO doesn’t matter anymore, UX is just becoming a greater part of it. So what should you really take into account to satisfy Google in 2018?
- Short-tailed keywords, broken links, low-quality content and other basic SEO (that is not done properly) will still affect your rankings the same way it did before. When it comes to selecting the right keywords and crafting outstanding long-form (preferably) content that provides value for readers, focus your efforts on including names of your target location(s) to improve your local SEO efficiency.
- Google AdWords treats landing page experiences as one of the most important ranking factors. So, obviously, this is something to pay attention to. To provide better user experiences, your landing page has to be well-designed (and, thus, easy navigable), include relevant and unique content, load quickly and show clear calls-to-action.
- Ensure that all components are working correctly – users have to be able to smoothly submit a form or press your “Call” button on their mobile device and actually call you.
- A fast loading speed is an increasingly important component of optimization and it doesn’t matter which device your users prefer – desktop, laptop or mobile. If it takes more than 3 seconds to view your website, approximately 40% of users will abandon it and proceed to your competitor’s website. To make matters worse, your competitor’s website will be launched, organically, up search engine results. So, do whatever it takes to improve your website’s loading speed.
- Nothing can be more frustrating than a slow loading speed when using a mobile device to surf the Web. If it takes ages for a user to see what your website offers, you risk losing them. In fact, today, more than 50% of worldwide Google searches are conducted on mobile.
Moreover, if your website is not aptly optimized for mobile (and UX is not what we are talking about here), you are putting your website in jeopardy of getting penalized by Google.
To Sum It Up
As of today, Google treats UX as a basic ranking factor and allows it to change the way traditional SEO works for better SERPs. Think about shifting your digital marketing focus to UEO in order to not be left behind in 2018.