UX and SEO: Graphic of a team designing and piecing together a website

UX and SEO: Build a Website for Both Humans and Search Engines

Have you ever heard the saying, “What’s good for users is good for SEO”? There’s a lot of truth to that phrase, but if you’re new to the world of search engine optimization (SEO), it still might sound like a lot of mumbo-jumbo. 

The purpose of SEO is to help search engine robots quantify and judge the experience human users have on a website. So, the better the experience your human users have, the more likely it is that search engines will reward you with better site rankings.

User experience (UX) and SEO have a beautiful synergy that creates a true win-win situation for your business. UX appeals to human users, while SEO shows search engine bots just how helpful your site really is. Together, they create a world-class experience for both humans and bots, helping your site stand out for all the right reasons.

Search engine algorithms—and particularly Google’s algorithm—change all the time, though, and most of these updates are prioritizing UX more and more. If you haven’t revamped your website for UX and SEO yet, you’re potentially leaving SEO ranking juice on the table.

But designing a user-friendly experience isn’t always easy, especially if you’re new to SEO. In this guide, we’ll explain how UX and SEO work together and offer three practical strategies for combining both in your SEO strategy.

The Synergy Between UX and SEO

Both UX and SEO are important. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between aesthetics, experience, or search engine rankings: They all work together to create something bigger and better.

While SEO boosts your site visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs), UX focuses on your website’s usability and overall user experience. Combined, UX and SEO are a powerful combination that boosts traffic, user satisfaction, and even conversions

Let’s look at how user-centric design and SEO strategies intersect.

Mobile Responsiveness

What do mobile users see when they access your website? If your site loads slowly or displays incorrectly, mobile users will be quick to tap the “back” button and avoid your site forever. 

Mobile-friendliness is a must for offering a good user experience. Plenty of your users are on the go, and offering a mobile-friendly experience saves them a lot of hassle. 

Mobile responsiveness is also critical for SEO. Search engines like Google prioritize websites that are responsive or automatically adjust to fit the screen size of a user’s mobile device. Users go through zero fuss to access your site content, which keeps both users and search engines happy.

Responsiveness not only boosts your SEO rankings, but it also ensures users have a seamless experience, regardless of their device. Translation: a site that adapts to different screen sizes meets both SEO requirements and user needs. 

Most web design templates today use responsive design, too, so it’s never been easier to build a site that balances UX and SEO. Just make sure the mobile version of the site still offers a high-quality user experience.

Site Speed

Did you know that site speed affects both UX and SEO? 

Few users have the time or patience for a slow-loading website. However, designing a speedy site maintains users’ attention and gives them the answers they need quickly, reducing bounce rates. 

Page speed is also a critical ranking factor for search engines. The algorithms know that users like fast sites, so they give preference to sites that load in less than three seconds. 

If you have slow-loading web pages, it could frustrate users and hurt your SEO rankings. This is a more technical issue, though, so you may need to work with a developer to optimize images, set up browser caching, minimize code, or try other techniques to improve load speed. 

Intuitive Navigation

Navigation is the backbone of good UX. Clear navigation tells users what to do next, encouraging them to spend more time on-site and (hopefully) convert.

A well-structured website should have: 

  • Clear headings
  • Easy-to-follow website design
  • Straightforward calls to action (CTAs)

Not only does navigation guide users through your site, but it also tells search engines how to categorize your site content. After all, usability and functionality matter to search engines, so if a user can’t find your “About” page, that poor user experience will hurt your rank in organic search.

Search engine bots rely on your site hierarchy and headers to make sense of your content. Intuitive navigation also keeps users on-site, which reduces bounce rates and boosts time-on-page. These engagement metrics tell search engines you’re doing something right, which boosts your rankings over time. 

3 Practical Strategies to Combine SEO and UX

SEO and UX go together like peanut butter and jelly. What’s good for one is usually good for the other, but even then, it’s helpful to have a quick playbook for improving SEO and UX at the same time. 

Try these strategies to enjoy the one-two punch of improved SEO and UX.

1. Understand User Behavior Through Analytics

Chances are, you already have a website. Before you make a lot of changes, check your current site analytics to find opportunities for improvement.

For example, check a tool like Google Analytics to analyze user behavior. This free tool tracks metrics like bounce rate, dwell time, and conversion rates, which will give you a good idea of how users interact with your site. 

Use this data to guide any adjustments you make to UX and SEO. This way, you route your time and resources to the areas that matter the most. For example, if your home page has a high bounce rate, that’s an opportunity to speed up the page, remove pop-ups, adjust the navigation headers, or play with different CTAs to engage visitors.

2. Speed Up Your Site

Site speed is a critical SEO best practice. Nobody likes a slow, buggy site, so do everything you can to boost your page speed. 

Use free tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to check your speed on mobile and desktop. Some of the issues might sound technical, so if that’s the case, work with a developer to resolve them. Trust us, it’ll be well worth the investment, especially when you see gains in both conversions and SEO rankings. 

3. Conduct Regular Audits

You deserve a little break after doing the hard work of improving your website, but don’t rest on your laurels for too long. User intent and search engine algorithms change all the time, so it’s important to conduct regular audits so you follow the latest UX design trends and SEO best practices. 

Use tools like Google’s Core Web Vitals to get a snapshot of your overall speed, usability, and experience. Go through your site from the user’s perspective and look for areas for improvement. You may need to tweak your keyword research, backlink strategy, or design formats to keep up with user expectations.

Ace SEO, UX, and Digital Marketing With Growth Machine

SEO isn’t about sneaky tricks or insider hacks. Ultimately, SEO success comes down to providing a positive user experience. Fast, mobile-responsive sites with intuitive navigation are the true antidote to low user engagement and so-so rankings.

The catch? It’s hard to optimize a website by yourself. You’ve got a business to run, after all. Plus, quality content is a huge piece of SEO that requires tons of time that you probably don’t have. 

When you need to balance UX and SEO, work with Growth Machine. Our experienced SEO pros handle everything for you, from strategy to management to tracking your success. Contact us now to get a custom plan for balancing SEO and UX.

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