Do you want your customers to hang around on your website? GARRY GRANT says you might need to take a long hard look at your user experience.
User Experience is being touted as one of the most critical factors for effective search engine optimisation (SEO).
With the average attention span of internet users seemingly decreasing by the day, and a generation that expects instant results, a website’s speed and ease of navigation are of utmost importance. So what is UX, SEO, how do you improve them and why are they so essential for retailers?
What is UX?
It’s all about the experience a website visitor receives when they view and navigate a site. A positive UX is made up of several factors including, but not limited to, the following:
Loading speed; easy site navigation; minimal ads and pop-ups; quality content and a website that’s pleasant to view.
The goal is for the visitor to have an excellent visual experience and navigate your site easily
Who really cares about user experience?
Visitors care about good UX, so basically everybody. Dwell time, or ‘time on page’ as Goggle calls it, will be greater on a website that offers a positive user experience.
If you present readers with a page loaded with flashing ads, loud colours, massive blocks of text, the visitor will most likely immediately leave the website. Google calls this ‘bounce’, as in they leave or bounce to another website. Therefore, a high bounce rate is a sign of poor UX.
Site speed is also part of improving your UX, the faster it takes for a page to load the better, therefore; site speed is an evermore critical aspect. Of course this will also depend on the visitor’s internet speed, however; even a fast website load time won’t make that much difference if a site has errors, long load time and is sluggish when navigating.
The aim is to make sure each page opens quickly and seamlessly. It will keep visitors on your site and reduce your bounce rate, which is good for Google rankings.
Does a poor UX lead to lower rankings?
UX will affect your rankings, conversion rates, and bounce rates. And that adds up to gaining or losing traffic, rankings, and new customers. Sites that are slow to load will be disadvantaged in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) results.
Google aims to deliver the best results for a search query therefore it assesses many factors in order to arrive at these results.
Quality content is always vital, as are natural back-links and UX is of prime importance, because quality overall has become vital in the search engine world. For example, imagine people are visiting a website and immediately leaving (bouncing). This indicates to the search engines that the site is not offering a good UX.
It could be something as simple as the content not being what the visitor expected, the site looking like a jumbled mess or being far too slow to open.
Jewellery retailers should review their website from a visitor’s point of view to tweak, test, and make design changes or adjustments that will improve the UX.
Why are technical SEO and UX important?
Technical SEO and UX help with your site’s SEO and ranking performance. It also adds to the UX because the website functions correctly and delivers the promised content discovered in search results.
The user experience can even go one step further by providing ways to interact with your site and your brand even after a visitor has left, perhaps by inviting them to join your email list, re-marketing, drip campaigns, a social media presence for your brand, and so on.
How to improve your user experience
All website owners should at least get familiar with white hat SEO – a term used to define honest and reputable activities – and the basics of UX to remain competitive.
One of the best ways to improve the user experience is to view it from the angle of your visitor’s needs:
• What are they hoping to find when they get there?
• Is the content useful and easy to read?
• If you were a visitor, would you like to spend time on your site?
• Are the pages filled with too many distractions?
• Are the menu and navigation logical?
Enlisting expert help to focus on the mechanics of SEO and high-quality UX should also be useful as retailers often don’t have the time, knowledge, or inclination to improve UX.
Search engine giants such as Google will factor in a positive UX more every time they do an algorithm update.
So if you want your website to stay ahead of the curve then focusing on an exceptional UX is of paramount importance.