What is UX?
UX is short for user experience. During the user experience design process in website development, developers focus on how the website will be perceived by users. They look into the needs, values, abilities, and limitations of their target audience in order to curate a user experience that meets expectations and that users find values in what the website is providing.
Meaningful user experience must provide:
- Useful content that is original and relevant to a user’s search intent
- High web usability
- Easy navigation
- Visuals and design elements that reflect the brand identity and evoke emotions
Why UX Matters?
While SEO strategies can help your website get noticed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the traffic will convert into sales or lasting relationships will be formed with your customers.
Your website is often the initial link between your business and your target customers. That is why it is imperative to ensure your website, particularly for new businesses or startups trying to establish a reputation and credibility online, leaves a good first impression by providing pleasant user experience. Businesses can create a customized narrative that attracts target consumers’ attention, piques their interest, and convinces them to buy into the product or services offered. Seamless interaction promotes user activation. If your website is unresponsive, difficult to navigate or use, and doesn’t provide users with valuable information about your products or services, they will most likely leave your website frustrated.
Beyond providing a seamless browsing experience, UX enhances brand loyalty. This is a great thing for any business in the long run. Startups can get a head start on their competitors if they can establish brand loyalty early on, leading to long-lasting relationships with their customers.
Furthermore, Google’s increasing emphasis on user experience and algorithm updates aims to showcase the best user-centric search results only which means that website UX will take up an indispensable role in SEO and search ranking.
What Affects UX?
There are a lot of components that constitute a positive user experience. Customers tend to remember and return to brands that they trust and feel most familiar and comfortable with. Here are a few factors that can influence the user experience.
It’s not uncommon to hear about a hacking incident in which customer information and payment details are stolen. HTTPS is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and privacy of data between the user’s computer and your website as a way to safeguard it from data theft and man-in-the-middle attacks. Google has also begun to label HTTP websites as “Not Secure” since 2018 to help users identify which sites are safe. So installing SSL certificates and updating your website to HTTPS is crucial to let your visitors know your website values user privacy, thus, building trust in the brand and enhancing customer retention and loyalty.
Google’s 2018 study found that more than 50% of users on mobile devices will choose to leave the website if a web page’s loading time is more than 3 seconds, implying that websites can lose potential customers with slow page speed and end up with a high bounce rate.
Having a pretty packaging is not enough to draw your users in. You need to make sure to have quality content. High-quality content needs originality, relevance, and practicality. It’s not just about copywriting but also visuals, layout, and readability. Furthermore, it is best to avoid duplicated written content within the website. By doing so, the website can provide more value to the users and become more accessible, useful, usable, and credible for both users and web crawlers. This encourages return visits and drives on-site traffic which helps improve SEO ranking.
Easy navigation invites users to explore the website fully, and as they do so, long-lasting relationships are formed. It is best if the website’s navigation structure allows users to reach any web page with no more than three clicks. You may also consider utilizing breadcrumbs as a second navigation system. It provides users that are unfamiliar with your site a visual aid for discovering which page of the site’s hierarchy structure they are at and possibly browse to a higher-level page or related pages if they need more information.
How Does Google Measure UX?
One way of measuring UX is by looking at the user signals.
1. Pogo sticking
Pogo sticking is a strong sign that users are not happy with what they are seeing in the search results. What it means is that users are visiting several search results to find a result that satisfies their search intent. It is also a user signal Google heavily relies on when sorting out the first page results. Say a user clicked on the top result on the SERP but the content doesn’t answer their query or the page doesn’t respond to interactions, the user then goes back to the SERP and clicks on a second result. What it tells Google is that the user wasn’t happy with this result, so Google reorganizes the search rankings and the page may end up a few spots lower. Put simply, poor user experience can affect the search ranking of your website as well as chances of conversion.
2. Bounce rate
The bounce rate reflects the percentage of users leaving a website after only viewing one page and without taking any actions such as filling in a form, clicking on alike, or making a transaction. A high bounce rate may indicate that your site has poor user experience as a result of failing to provide useful information, slow loading time, responsive design, etc.
3. Dwell time
Dwell time is the amount of time that a user spends on a web page they found on SERPs (search engine results pages). It is also considered an important Google ranking factor as it indicates how happy a user is with the content and the browsing experience. A page that is hard to use, visually unappealing, and doesn’t provide valuable information will tend to result in shorter dwell time.