Any sound advice on how to improve your website will always emphasize the importance of user experience. As the term suggests, user experience refers to the overall experience of a visitor as they navigate your website, and the better it is, the more likely the user will continue to visit and revisit.
This is critical stuff. If somebody visits your website and you are unable to entice them to read on or covert, you have lost a huge opportunity. Essentially, you have let a prospective customer bounce away, and with so much competition for consumer attention, this is a costly mistake. To improve the chance of a visitor advancing through your website, visiting other pages and following a desired conversion path - as opposed to taking their search elsewhere - you need to focus your efforts on providing an awesome user experience.
Why Is UX Important?
Apart from the reasons already listed above, excellent user experience is important because search engines uses data to determine how people interact with websites. This data gives them a good indication of the quality of websites, which in turn informs their search ranking algorithms. To put it simply, higher quality websites will rank better in search engines.
What does this have to do with user experience? Well, because search engines can determine how people interact with websites, they can infer from this data what kind of experience the websites are providing for users. If a lot of visitors are bouncing away from a particular website quickly, this could indicate that the content of the website is irrelevant, the site is not user friendly, or that it is generally of poor quality.
But, if you can provide your visitors with a positive experience, they are more likely to link to your site, share it with others, return frequently, and spend more time on it - all of which can boost performance on search engine results pages.
How To Improve Your Website's User Experience
The easiest way to understand what constitutes excellent user experience is to see it in practice. To that end, Moz has put together an insightful piece on some of the elements common to websites that are doing it right, which include:
- Easy to use, navigate and understand: Frankly, if a website sucks, people aren't going to use it. They may arrive there initially, but with a single click they can go to another website that requires less effort to navigate. A proper, logical structure to your website should be the first thing you focus on.
- Provide direct information relevant to search queries: Do not aim to hit keywords if you have no relevant content that speaks to these keywords on your website. Remember, search engines seek to provide the best answers to searchers based on their questions, and if you're not providing relevancy, your site will perform poorly.
- Well-designed and responsive to modern browsers: Logical, aesthetically pleasing design and proper website functionality is crucially important. Ensure that your website works properly on all the key browsers - Firefox, Chrome, IE, etc... - and is optimized for mobile search.
- Deliver remarkable content: You cannot ignore the value of remarkable content. Great content is an essential part of great user experience as it provides utility and relevancy to your visitors and can help increase the overall performance of your website.If you're mulling over how to improve your website, start by addressing user experience. The above tips can help you make the usability of your site much more attractive and increase the likelihood that it will be shared and cited more, result in a higher amount of visits and revisits, and serve to compliment your other SEO efforts.
Daniel is a Content Writer at Search Engine People. He is always experimenting with new formats and looking for creative ways to produce, optimize and promote content. He previously wrote for CanadaOne Magazine and helped create and implement online marketing strategies at Mongrel Media.