With the abundance of SEO tactics that have proven their effectiveness, user experience often remains forgotten. Many marketers and eCommerce sellers simply don’t realize how crucial it is that their websites offer great UX.
Yet, in recent years after Google openly discussed the user experience signals it refers to for its website rankings, UX is now the rage!
If you’re unfamiliar with user experience and quality signals and why they can be a game changer, this guide is for you. Below, we dive into the depths of this online marketing strategy to help you boost your SEO approach.
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
- What Are UX Signals in SEO?
- Why Are User Experience Signals Important for SEO?
- Top 8 UX and Quality Signals That’ll Boost Your SEO Game in 2024
- To Wrap It Up
First, let’s begin by defining what UX is in SEO. As the name suggests, user experience (UX) translates to the kind of experience someone has when they visit your website.
Many things affect UX, including how straightforward and intuitive it is to navigate your site. Other aspects of user experience involve website speed, secure connections, interactivity, hierarchy, and such.
In SEO, UX signals refer to the factors that Google focuses on when ranking sites on its SERPs regarding user experience. But how exactly do UX signals impact SEO?
Think about it:
If you have a seamless experience navigating a website that fulfills your needs as a user, that means this site will become popular quite fast. As you know, more traffic leads to higher rankings—a simple example of how UX influences SEO.
Grasping the impact of user experience signals is a big step into SEO, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced marketer. That’s because they can give you insight into your users’ POV.
As such, you can optimize your marketing approach according to your findings.
For instance, if you notice that visitors lose interest quickly in a page on your site, that’s cause for an investigation. Once you put your hands on the reason, you can change the page’s contents to be more user-friendly.
Not to mention, Google has explicitly stated that its philosophy is to “focus on the user and all else will follow.” In other words, their number one goal is to provide the “best user experience possible.”
So, it makes sense that the better time people have on your site, the faster it’ll climb to the top search engine results.
With a solid idea about how UX can make or break SEO marketing, it’s time to delve into eight relevant UX signals you should pay more attention to.
Once you adjust each point below, your chances of ranking higher on Google should skyrocket!
1. Bounce Rate without Engagement
The bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors that leave your site right away after landing on only one page. So, if you have a high bounce rate, it means that the larger percentage of your visitors don’t find what they’re looking for on your site.
On the contrary, a low bounce rate indicates the relevance of your website. To stay on the safe side regardless of your industry, it’s best to maintain an average bounce rate of 55.43%.
But again, things aren’t always that straightforward—your target bounce rate highly depends on the niche that your site belongs to.
For example, if you’re running a blog, it’s natural to have a high bounce rate of around 70% to 90%. People tend to visit blogs to get an answer to a question, and then they simply leave once they find it without needing to explore the rest of the site.
On the other hand, retail websites should aim for a bounce rate of 20% to 45%. It’s only normal for customers to keep browsing said sites until they find the right product.
Some examples of website niches and the average bounce rates they should target include:
- eCommerce sites: 20% to 45%
- Lead generation sites: 30% to 55%
- Landing pages: 60% to 90%
- Dictionaries and similar websites: 65% to 90%
- Finance: 51.71%
- Food and drink: 65.62%
- Real estate: 44.50%
- Jobs and education: 49.34%
- Science-related websites: 62.24%
- Pets and animals: 58.04%
- Entertainment: 56.52%
- Fitness: 55.86%
- Business: 50.59%
Naturally, page speed has a significant relationship with the bounce rate of your site.
If your page takes more than two seconds to load, chances are your visitors will abandon it and bounce back to the search engine results page for a faster website.
As a result, slower pages often rank lower on Google.
The CTR can be an indicator of how attractive and interesting your website is. To calculate this metric, you have to take the number of times that a certain link to your page is clicked.
Then, you need to divide that value by the number of times that your page appears on the search results page.
The higher the click-through rate, the more relevant your site is to visitors and customers.
Did you know that Google Analytics made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor back in 2015?
Think about it:
What is the percentage of people who visit sites and blogs on their PCs compared to those who visit them on their phones? It’s unfair to compare, to say the least, because website mobile traffic doubles by the year!
So, to maximize user experience, ensure that your site has a mobile-friendly version. No one wants to read content intended for bigger screens on their mobile devices, right?
Another user experience signal you should focus on is dwell time, which speaks volumes about your site’s content engagement. Dwell time means how long a user spends on your site after clicking on your search result.
Shorter dwell times indicate a quick loss of interest in your content. Alternatively, longer ones mean that your site has successfully grasped your visitors’ attention and fulfilled their search intent.
Now, what can you do to boost your site’s dwell time? Here are a few simple guidelines to follow:
- Create engaging content that aligns with the search queries.
- Make sure your content is original and compelling for readers.
- Use internal linking to keep users on your site for as long as possible.
- Incorporate infographics into your blog posts and articles.
- Allow people to leave comments and questions on your posts to increase user engagement.
Next, don’t underestimate the influence of a flat and straightforward website hierarchy as a user experience signal.
A flat (or broad) site structure enables your visitors to navigate the different pages of your site easily. It also lets Google Analytics browse your website and understand your content’s relevance with more ease.
For instance, you should make sure that no page on your site is more than three or four clicks away from the homepage. Ideally, you want your pages to be one click away from the homepage, but that’s not always achievable.
Pop-ups (a.k.a. interstitials) are a major pain for users, especially if they’re hard to get rid of to see the content underneath them. As a result, having frequent pop-ups on your website will cause it to rank lower on the Google SERP.
Unless they’re must-haves—like those that verify cookies and such—you should limit pop-ups on your website. In addition, interstitials don’t affect your website ranking if they’re small and cleverly designed so that they don’t take up the whole screen.
Last but not least, Google has announced a bunch of Core Web Vitals that translate to the most crucial metrics in user experience. Here’s a quick one-sentence summary of each point:
- Loading: The largest component on the screen shouldn’t take more than 2.5 seconds to fully load.
- Visual Stability: How drastic the layout of the webpage changes when ads get loaded on it later.
- Interactivity: The response time for any form of interaction with anything on the page shouldn’t exceed 100ms.
By improving each one of these aspects to perform better in the eyes of the user, you guarantee that your website will provide better UX.
SEO sure requires a lot of trial and error until you find that sweet spot that works for your unique approach. However, some strategies, like improving user experience signals, proved to be worthwhile time and time again.
For that reason, you should invest some time and effort into learning about UX and quality signals. Some of these essential aspects include page speed, website hierarchy, dwell time, bounce rate, mobile friendliness, and more.
We hope our guide provided a good introduction to each point and its importance for SEO. Once you optimize them all, your hard work should pay off, helping you achieve your online marketing goals.