30 second summary:
- Website usability refers to how simple or intuitive a website is for visitors to interact with. Ease of use is at the heart of a compelling user experience (UX).
- Including relevant keywords and building backlinks to your website is still vital. However, the Google algorithm is constantly evolving to reward websites that represent world-class UX.
- This post explains four core elements that you need to tweak in order to keep both human visitors and search engine crawlers happy to get and stay in top rankings.
There was a time when usability – how user-friendly and functional your website is – was viewed as a separate issue from SEO.
Ease of use has often been viewed as something that improves visitor engagement and conversions on your website, and has not been directly associated with SEO – the process used to improve your search engine rankings and organic traffic.
While the earlier part of the previous statement is still true, Google’s ranking algorithm has changed significantly in recent years. The focus is increasingly on determining the user experience of websites and getting the most user-friendly results at the top.
Make No Mistake – All Popular SEO Tactics Like Guest Blogging, Link buildingand keyword optimization are very applicable these days – and you need to keep working on it as you have since you first optimized your website for search engines.
However, if you want to hit the top of the SERPs and stay there through 2021 and beyond, you need to focus on tweaking the various usability elements on your website, like the ones outlined below.
1. Website speed
The speed of the website was a central ranking factor for more than a decade. So if your pages take too long to load – more than three seconds – not only will your visitors bounce off in frustration, but your Google rankings will also go down.
In other words, ensuring optimal page loading speed is critical for both usability and ranking. There is a lot you can do in this regard, such as:
- Keep your code clean, minimize CSS and JS
- Use browser caching
- Improve server response time with a CDN and fast hosting
- Optimize large image files with image compression tools
- Minimize page redirects
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to evaluate your current site speed. The tool gives you a list of recommendations that you can work on to improve your speed. For example, you may have large images that need to be compressed or too many unnecessary redirects.
Essentially, PageSpeed Insights will help you pinpoint where your website is missing and show you exactly what to do to meet the need for speed.
Knowing that even delaying mobile device loading times by a second can have an impact Cell phone conversions by up to 20%The speed of the website is a very important element of usability that you absolutely need to set it right.
Speaking of cell phones …
2. Mobile phone friendliness
Today mobile devices (excluding tablets) account for more than half of the world’s website traffic. 50.81% to be exact.
It’s not surprising because of Google’s mobile-first indexingThe mobile – not the desktop – version of your website is the measure of how Google indexes and rates your website. Simply put, your mobile usability can effectively improve or decrease your website’s rankings on Google.
Here’s how you can make your website mobile-friendly:
- Optimize the layout of your content for one-handed use: 75% of users Only touch the screen with one thumb. 10% of users hold their phone in one hand and tap the other hand with one finger. So put the primary interactions in the foreground and center (easily accessible areas of the screen) and the less important ones at the edges. This makes your website easier to use and makes for a better mobile experience.
- Remove the navigation bar: A navigation bar can take up a lot of space that could otherwise be used to display other important content. Instead of leaving it as it is, add a hamburger menu that turns your space-hungry navigation bar into an expandable menu.
- Minimize the writing effort required: Good mobile usability means minimal input on the touchscreen. Minimize the number of form fields on the mobile version of your website, turn on autofill wherever possible, and offer the option to connect existing accounts (like Facebook or Google) instead of logging in from scratch.
- Deactivate popups: Pop-ups on mobile devices can be extremely annoying and seriously affect the user experience. Google can also punish you for popups or something similar “Intrusive Interstitials” This makes the content less accessible. So deactivate it immediately.
Also, avoid it common mistakes in the usability of mobile devices, such as:
- Unplayable video content due to Flash
- Font size too small
- Touch items too close together
You can check how mobile friendly your website is Google’s mobile-friendly test.
3. Quality of the content
As you would expect, the quality of the content on your website depends heavily on the ease of use of your website. Poor quality content doesn’t inspire visitors to take action or engage with your offers, and therefore doesn’t help your website rank well.
To create high quality content, you first need to understand your target person – get to know your target audience, their wants, questions, and weaknesses. Analyze the search phrases that bring people to your website and understand what your visitors are looking for in order to create relevant content that matches their intentions.
Make sure that the following notes are correct.
Proper layout of content is critical to a better user experience. You can use different font sizes, bullets and numbered lists as well as one for this F-shaped pattern As shown below.
Also, adapt to your layout on your website to avoid confusion among users.
Use the sub-headings H2, H3,…, H6 to create a logical content hierarchy on all pages. This improves readability and scannability by breaking up your content, resulting in better usability.
Also, make sure that there is a unique H1 title tag for each page Invitation for search engine users to click.
All of your content should be detailed and answer any questions on the topic so the visitor doesn’t have to refer to other sources and is happy with their search experience.
However, do not add fluff to increase the number of words. Visitors can easily tell if this is the case and this leads to a poor user experience.
Link to reputable and authoritative websites to increase your website’s credibility in the eyes of Google and visitors. Secure your claims with up-to-date statistics and facts from reliable sources.
Have a logical internal link structure to direct visitors from your content to relevant pages.
In addition, broken links (“404 not found”) affect user-friendliness and ranking. So find and fix them right away.
Publishing long-form articles and text-based content is obviously critical to ranking high on Google.
But what if your target audience prefers it? more visual contentlike vlogs or infographics? For the best user experience, create content in the format your audience prefers.
4. Site navigation
Regardless of what your website is about, the navigation structure plays an important role in ease of use.
For example, if your website is a blog. How are your blog posts organized? Can visitors search for a specific post? How many clicks does it take to get from point A to point B? Or, if it’s a web app, onboarding is easy seamless digital adoption of users?
Keep these questions in mind to improve the navigation of your website.
Use menu bars, recognizable icons, and clickable links for easy navigation. For example, if the text on your homepage is clickable and takes visitors to a specific landing page, it needs to be obvious. Make it descriptive, change its color, underline it, or turn that text into a button.
Intuitive navigation means that your visitors don’t have to think while browsing your website. They are less likely to get frustrated and easily find what they need – all of which means great ease of use and, therefore, leaderboards.
Better usability of the website simply leads to better rankings.
With each update, Google’s ranking algorithm increasingly focuses on rewarding websites that contribute to “pleasant” web experiences for their users – on fast, intuitive and engaging experiences on all devices.
So don’t just focus on integrating keywords and building backlinks in hopes of better search rankings. Prioritize the various usability elements described above to ensure that you keep track of the SERPs in the long term.
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and contributor PRmention. She has over 6 years of experience writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing and anything SaaS related. Hazel loves dividing her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.