You have probably never realised how important the design and structure of a website is, not only for retaining customers on your site, but also for search engines like Google. Have you ever been to a website with a really bad user experience? Here’s one:
You cannot read anything on this website. I don’t even know what I can do on this website, and that it the most crucial thing, WHAT IS THIS WEBSITE FOR?!
Websites with poor user experience won’t always look like this…There are a lot of websites out there that look aesthetically pleasing, but are not functional at all. Take this one for example….
It’s a nice website, but from the home page I don’t know what I can actually do on the Chanel site. Can I buy stuff online or is this site purely informational? Websites need to provide users with key information about what they are for, and what users can do.
Firstly let’s uncover what UX actually is. UX stands for ‘user experience’ and is a design concept that encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s (you) interaction with the company, its services, and its products. UX-focused design aims to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty by making products useful, easy to use, and delightful to interact with. This approach to product development puts the consumers’ needs and wants first, and can often be developed through vigorous user testing and surveys. In this article we’ll be specifically talking about UX for websites, however UX can be applied to most other product or service offerings.
Google has identified how important a good user experience is for websites and is beginning to pay more attention to websites that have a great ‘landing page experience.’ If you’re trying to get your website higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs) then you need to focus on your customer and view your website from their point of view.
UX’s greatest impact on SEO comes from the increased organic sharing and distribution of your website, as someone who comes to your site and finds it easy and enjoyable to use are going to tell their friends about it. For example, the Reebok website has a great user experience. Not only is their website attractive with HD photos, it is also incredibly easy to find what you’re looking for and I can tell what I can do on this site. From the home page alone I know that I can “shop now” and purchase shoes, whereas this information was not as clear on the Chanel site.
Websites that provide a good experience affect how search engines like Google rank them. Google aims to deliver the best information available to its searchers based on how it thinks people behave and what they are looking to gain from a website. Websites that are intuitive, accessible, and easy to use are therefore favoured by Google and will rank higher in search results.
Here are some important elements that you should consider when you are trying to make your website both user and search engine friendly.
Page layout – Make sure the important information is prominently placed on the site to aid in the quick retrieval of information. CPL have done this by putting a large “Donate now” button and their value position right in the line of sight.
High-quality content – Not only important for SEO, optimised content that engages the user is important for UX. If your site provides relevant and informative content then you are more likely to capture your audience and create a greater user experience
Intuitive navigation – This is one of the most important elements, but is often overlooked. Ensure you make your site easy to navigate with breadcrumbs to help the user find the path they took to get to a particular page, and help them go back.
The iconic has great navigation on their website. On this page, I am on Women’s Tops. On the top left I can clearly see where I had to go to get there and where I need to go if I would like to go back. This is also reflected in the website link which is identified as /womens-clothing-tops/
Schema & Sitemaps – This technical stuff is actually really important and can help you tell Google and your users how your site is structured and where you can find information.
With Google moving increasingly towards its “human-first” ranking ideal, it’s important to consider designing or re-optimising sites with consumer behaviour in mind. In order to have a website that performs well in the search results, simply having a functional design will no longer cut it! You need to figure out what your consumers want, and go above and beyond to create a site that exceed their expectations!