What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear about the term ‘SEO’? What are the things you put your mind into when you are trying to improve SEO ranking of your website?
A lot of people channel their attentions towards “keywords” and not on anything else.
Nevertheless, if you are working effortlessly on keyword optimization and yet you are not getting the results you want, you may need to look at other factors that do affect SEO ranking.
Search engine algorithms don’t only rate the importance of your keywords on pages, and in the Metadata, in line with a user’s search terms, but they also review information which includes the amount of time each visitor spent on your site, the bounce rate, broken links, pages visited, inbound and outbound links and many more.
Finding a way to make users stay on your website and engaging them with your content can help you improve website ranking. This can be done by improving the user experience of your website.
Making use of keywords to get visitors to scroll through your site is not just all. If you approach SEO as ‘utilizing your website for people who do make use of search engines’, the impression of user friendliness becomes a more vital factor.
This article tends to take a look at the different aspects of website usability that do have an influence on website ranking.
What is Website Usability?
One thing about Website usability is that it cuts across so many elements of website design, which are mostly related to conversion.
Below are few things that can influence your website ranking:
How Does Good Website Usability Improve SEO Ranking?
A user friendly site always gets rewarded by search engines. This implies that they do have high usability. Google always cherishes sites that are not just rich in terms of keywords but can also showcase higher user engagement.
SEO rankings do increase when visitors stay much longer on a site, view more pages, and repeat their visits. The more user-friendly your site is, the more likely this will happen.
Let’s take a good look at 13 elements that do increase usability and also help to promote SEO rankings.
- Effectiveness: Can your website make users achieve their goals and objectives? For instance, can they get the information they really need, make orders for the product they desire, or meet the company for customer service?
- Efficiency: Aside from being able to meet up with their objectives, how fast can a user complete a task? If visitors are unable to get what they are looking for on your website, there is high probability that they will scroll and navigate away. The limited time they spend on your website may have an adverse effect on your SEO ranking.
- Learnability: How easy is it for users to navigate your website quickly? When visitors spend too much time trying to get used to your website, they are spending less time digesting your content or checking your products. When they can’t find what they really need, it is most likely they will get frustrated, scroll away and never come back.
- Memorability: Can users locate your website the next time they go onto the search engine? One of the t6 things that can help you boost your traffic is repeating traffic. Sometimes visitors may navigate away from your website for so many reasons; they may remember and decide to come back and search again for it. Is the keyword attached to that very search memorable enough so they will be able to locate your site once again?
- Error Prevention: Some errors can affect not just the user experience but also SEO ranking; for example: A 404 page-not-found error, a link that reads one thing but displays another thing entirely or also a broken link that is no more valid.
1. Useful, High Quality, Relevant Content
Dwell time is the full period of time visitors spend on your site and it can impact SEO rankings.
When you come up with a useful content piece, visitors tend to spend more time on your website to consume the information and this will in turn increase the dwell time.
Going by research, content pieces ranging between 2,000 – 2,500 words do appear to rank more in search engine results.
Thus, word quantity is not a priority in the SEO world; no one will continue reading your content if it is not really helpful and reasonable. Longer content always provide that avenue to spice up your content with more keywords, add more outbound links and get people spending more time on your website. And these will in turn increase your dwell time.
One more reason you need to create a highly useful and resourceful content piece is that when visitors save or bookmark your content on chrome, this will increase and improve SEO rankings of your website on Google.
2. Page Load Speed
Google and Bing always reckon with page loading when it comes to website ranking algorithms.
Users will lose interest and decide to leave your site if they’d have to wait for even extra few seconds for each page to load. That will really affect your dwell time, increase your bounce rate and limit the number of pages viewed. All these will have a negative effect on your SEO ranking.
There are so many ways to improve page load speeds; some of which include making use of a caching plug-ins, making sure the code is clean and streamlined, utilizing image sizes, reducing the number of plug-ins and reducing redirects.
It has been inferred from research that making use of good and standard quality images can improve conversion rate. Optimizing your images properly can help you take advantage of using photos to build trust, improve a visitor’s experience without tampering with the load time which could affect your SEO ranking.
3. Image Optimization
Aside from image file format and resizing, there are some other ways to make sure your images are working for you on the SEO front.
You can send signals of the relevance of your content to search engines by using keywords for your image file name, alt tag, description and caption.
Nobody fancy reading through a wall of text; proper formatting of your content does help to improve the user experience of your website very rapidly. It does make readers to be able to spend more time reading your content and coming back for more. This will make your signal relevant to search engines.
A good use of header tags will help you break up content into sections that are easy to comprehend and utilize.
It is simple to insert header tags in WordPress to help improve the user experience and boost SEO rankings of your site.
Search engines also value keywords in header tags more importantly, by including useful terms in your header tags, You are also improving your SEO ranking against those keywords.
5. Outbound Links
You may also link out to authority sites for more in-depth information; this will make your content more useful and relevant.
Connecting to well-respected authority sites will not only improve the usefulness of your content and the time readers do spend on your site, but it is also trusted to send signals to Google and help improve SEO rankings.
However, more is not that encouraging; so many outbound links can serve as distractions and make the content hard to get through.
6. Different Multimedia
Image, videos, slideshows and audio can help boost the user experience and give room for you to deliver information in the most appropriate way to your visitors.
They do signify quality content to search engines; you will need to make your content look good and interactive.
Video marketing is gradually becoming an important element in engaging users and conversions. From a study, websites that do make use of videos can achieve 4.8% higher conversion rate in comparing to a 2.9% average on websites that don’t make use of videos.
7. Broken Links
No one wants to get a 404 page error after clicking on a link? Broken links lead to bad usability.
Search engines do consider a large number of broken links as a signal of an old site that can influence SEO ranking.
You also don’t have to scroll through every page on your website and test the links manually. There are so many tools and apps to make sure that your site is devoid of broken links as such as:
It doesn’t matter if you have a well-learned audience. They don’t want to be going through some complicated content each time they visit your website and go through your content. You wouldn’t want them to lose interest when reading your content and click away simply because it is too difficult to comprehend.
Always make your content simple and easy to read; this will make the content useful for readers. Some experts are of the opinion that Google prefers readability when ranking web pages.
You can make use of diverse tools to test for your content readability.
9. Layout and Formatting
Good formatting and a user-friendly layout can help improve user experience and make content so easy to scan and consume. Readers tend to stay on the site longer to read and digest website information.
Formatting does help to improve a web page’s usefulness by making the content easy to read.
- Make use of font size and typography that are easy to read.
- Ensure to use bold type and colors – sparingly and strategically – to call out important information and make the content easy to scan.
- Try to use short paragraphs and ample line spacing in between – nobody likes a wall of text.
- It is advisable to use bulleted or numbered lists for clarity.
- Features such as tabs, sliders, structured grids, progressive layouts, rollover elements, modal windows, mega drop-down-menus and accordions should be used to organize content and add interactivity.
- Divide content into sections with subheads.
10. Contact Page
With reference to Google document (p.98), websites that contain enough contact information are considered to be more trust-worthy and, with that, it will rank so high by search engines.
Include a Contact US page on your website and including the link in the navigation will make a good user experience and also help to earn some Google juice.
It has been established that a well-designed contact form does increase user participation through a company’s online presence. It does also help to come up with new business ideas and opportunities and improve services and many more.
Visitors are likely to leave your website the moment they realize that they can’t find what they need or something useful. Their absence will contribute to high bounce rate, reduce the dwell time and limit the number of pages viewed.
You may likely lose some audience members on your website simply because visitors may decide to leave if they don’t find what they need right away.
12. Mobile Optimization
As of April 2015, Google has been penalizing sites that are not mobile-optimized by cutting down their search engine rankings.
Everyday there are more and more users that use their mobile devices to access content and websites, and not being mobile-optimized will really affect user experience and conversion.
It is really necessary for B2B marketers. Research has indicated that about 77 percent of executives do make use of their Smartphone to check for products or services for their brands or business .
13. Social Sharing
SEO rank often gets influenced by the number of Facebook shares, tweets, Pinterest pins and other social media mentions.
It will be much easier to share your content pieces if you can install social sharing buttons on your website. This will in turn improve user experience and can also help you rank higher on searches.
Nearly 4 in every 10 Facebook users give feedback that they have gone from liking, sharing or commenting on an item to actually buying it, Also, about 43% of people who use social media have purchased a product after sharing or liking it on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.