What Is User Experience? How Design Matters to SEO

User experience or UX is a key contributor to website performance. UX can be defined as the overall experience or feeling of navigating and using your website. Good UX will win you repeat visitors and conversions while bad UX will push visitors to competitor websites. Google’s algorithm rewards sites with smooth on-page experience, making it imperative to build a seamless experience for your website’s visitors.

Browse the article below to find everything you need to know about website UX, from key elements that constitute superior user experience, differences between User Interface and User Experience, and the impact of UX on SEO.

What is User Experience (UX)?

User Experience can be defined as how people feel while interacting with your website. Your site is the anchor to your company’s digital efforts and it can have cascading effects on how users feel about your product or service.

To fully understand the concept of UX, it’s important to take into account the constituents of good User Experience. User Experience or UX is often used as an umbrella term that encompasses the following under it: relevance of content with respect to search queries, site performance (speed, navigation, coherent sitemap), interactive elements (menus, Call-to-action buttons), and overall harmony in design. It’s important to keep in mind that visitors will experience and judge your site as a whole and not in parts. Consistency in user experience will reward any site owner with higher conversions and repeat visitors.

Seamless user experience goes a long way in creation of an impactful website. A quick look at your website’s bounce rate can help clarify whether you need to improve your site’s UX. A high bounce rate indicates  scope for improvement.

Wondering which part of your website to start with? The guide below will help answer this question.

Components of User Experience

User Experience encompasses a wide range of website components that come together to achieve your site’s goals. Building good UX requires a thorough understanding of your users as it can be used to guide all UX design.

Good User Experience is not focused on a single aspect but is made up of various components that come together. These can be grouped into the following:

  • Content: A deep understanding of your target user is important to create a logical flow of information on your site. What information is your user seeking? How easily can they find this on your web page? How does your site perform on page speed? Finding the answers to these questions will help guide changes to content that impacts overall user experience.
  • Navigation: This includes the different tools, buttons, or design elements used by a visitor to navigate your site. How are they moving from one page to another? Is your site’s design facilitating this movement? How can you provide a seamless experience to every visitor on your page? Answering these questions will help you improve the experience of navigating your site and thereby; user experience.
  • Design: Harmony and ease should be at the center of your website’s design. As a site owner, it’s important to keep in mind that your web page might be the only touchpoint of your brand for many visitors. Practicing basic design hygiene and setting guidelines for colors, typography and images to ensure harmony across all pages of your website goes a long way in creating an impactful user experience.
Differentiating between UI & UX

Unless you’re a newbie to digital marketing, you will have heard the terms UI and UX being used heavily. Site owners often use the two interchangeably, leading to a muddled up understanding of two very different aspects of experience design. Clarify any confusion you might have about these two concepts with our simple definitions below:

User Interface (UI)

User Interface or UI encompasses all elements that facilitate interaction between users and softwares or systems. It includes the general aesthetic, page design, sounds, responsiveness, buttons, etc. The interface of any system or website can be considered as a subset of the larger experience of a user. UI can be made up of screens, pages, buttons, icons, and so on.

User Experience (UX)

On the other hand, User Experience relates to a more comprehensive design system that dictates the emotional and cognitive experience of using your website. UX relates to how a user will feel while interacting with your website. For e.g., Duolingo gamifies a user’s experience of learning a language by creating leaderboards and tasks, while relying on UI to create a design system that embodies this gamified experience.

How User Experience impacts SEO

User Experience impacts your site’s performance by directly affecting session duration, average pages visited per session, and ratio of new to returning users. A confusing site with outdated content and design is bound to leave the visitor with an unsatisfactory experience; deterring a repeat visit to your web page.

Investing in building a seamless user experience facilitates movement of visitors between pages, allowing them to find the information they need or in completion of a task, finally leading to a satisfying experience on your website. This leads to improved performance across SEO metrics, reduced page abandonment, and increased conversions.

If you’re unsure about where to start, a handy tool to spot issues in your website is Google’s Search Console. It can help pinpoint areas of improvement and possible hurdles in your webflows.

The Final Word

Once you realize the importance of UX in site performance, it becomes hard to overlook. Setting ground rules and following UX hygiene practices can leave your website in a much better place than when you just started. A good rule of thumb to follow while thinking about UX is reducing cognitive load.

Remember your users are often using the web to finish tasks and whoever helps them best, will win their trust.

UX design is often an iterative process that is rehashed and refreshed frequently with the help of recent site data and metrics. Use what you currently know and refine every user’s experience on your site starting today!