Search Engines have changed over the years to provide a better user experience to their audience continuously. Gone are the days when Black Hat SEO strategies such as keyword stuffing would help you rank higher in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Search engines realized these are all a ploy to rank higher, and it was not actually what the users were looking for. These websites were optimized to exploit the loopholes of SEO to rank higher. With regular updates on the search engine algorithm, work was constantly done to provide a better experience to the user by only showing results that will fulfill users’ needs. Today it has reached a stage where it is not just the content that will decide where the website will rank on the SERP, but it is the overall user experience.
In May 2020, Google has announced that there will be a new update to the search algorithm in the coming. Take a sneak peek of the announcement from Google Search Central:
“While all of the page experience components are important, we will prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where multiple pages have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.”
While most major algorithm changes also mean a significant overhaul in the search engine rankings and, accordingly, the search impressions because of the less time the SEO experts have to adapt to these changes. In this rollout, Google has given an ample amount of time for SEO experts to be ready for these changes.
A lot of work needs to be done for marketers to get ready for this rollout, as it will be a significant change in the overall search engine factors. However, on reflection to all the updates which search engines have brought to their algorithm, it only pushed businesses to provide better content to their users. Be it by creating high-quality content or delivering a smooth experience to the user when they come to the website. It was all done for the audience, and it helped businesses do better every time. This time is also no different than all others.
Today we will look at the factors which marketeers can implement to optimize their website for a good user experience:
– Your site navigation should be simple
‘Less is more’ is the idea behind a better experience. SEO, however, traditionally had the idea that ‘more the merrier.’ As search engines want a better user experience, one way of doing this is by having a simple site structure that is not very difficult to navigate. More so since Google has now gone mobile-first indexing when it comes to search rankings. Complex site structure makes it very difficult to navigate when users are on mobile browsers. Hence, a lot of effort needs to be made to keep the navigation as simple as possible. With user experience being essential, ‘less is more’ is the idea of modern SEO too.
– Have a user-friendly layout for your pages
To rank higher in SERP, SEO pundits always recommend writing long-form content, which means having an endless amount of information. While writing long-form content is good for SEO, it should also be designed to provide a good user experience. A user should not leave the page out of boredom.
In order to achieve this, the following strategies can be used:
1. Use short paragraphs
Long paragraphs don’t hold the attention of the reader. Having smaller paragraphs should be used to let your readers away from your content wherever possible lists should be used as it is easy to read with a clear objective.
2. Use headings and sub-headings
Headings are a great way to organize your content and help your user to find relevant information at a glance. It also helps readers find a specific answer in an entire article they are reading.
3. Include images and videos
Images and videos make your content alive and interactive. Hence, when you use images and videos in your content, it provides an excellent user experience. The engagement level goes up. However, remember to optimize them for SEO.
4. Use call to actions
Call to action is great to keep users engaged by asking them to perform an action. It should ideally be placed at the end of your page layout. Otherwise, the user might start a new action without even finishing reading the current article.
– Optimize your website for faster loading
40% of users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to lead. This data suggest how important page speed is for user experience. In this fast-paced world, nobody wants to wait. If you don’t optimize your website for faster loading, it provides a poor user experience as users want everything instant. Google page speed is an important ranking factor even now and a part of the user experience that the website provides.
– Make your website responsive for mobile
Google has moved towards mobile-first indexing. All new websites have to be mobile-responsive to rank higher on Google search. Google has confirmed that once your website is switched to mobile-first indexing, you will see an increase in Google crawl. This comes from the fact that online users accessing content using mobile is growing year-on-year. Now more users access content on mobile than on desktop. Those websites which have not been optimized for mobile will be losing a lot of their user as they will not find the content to be user-friendly. Search engines want to provide results where you will stay and consume and do that; you need to have a mobile-responsive website.