More top User Experience (UX) Factors
In Part 1 of this two-part blog we explored the history of Google’s Panda and Penguin search algorithm updates and what they mean for website owners in terms of site quality and user experience (UX).
In Part 2 we share more tips on how to improve your site’s UX to please Panda, Penguin and the upcoming Google Page Experience algorithm updates. What follows is a list of Do’s and Don’ts for your website, and for more advice you can always contact us.
Be aware that excessive paid adverts on your website – especially if they’re not directly relevant to your business – can seriously impact on UX and increase page bounce rate (where a visitor lands on your site then exits again without looking at anything else). Similarly, excessive use of pop-ups and intrusive media (such as auto-play and high-volume videos) will have the same effect. How many websites have you visited where the continual pop-ups prevent you from seeing the content you were looking for? Annoying isn’t it? Don’t risk losing your site visitors for the sake of another email subscriber or Facebook like.
Poor quality websites that have been blocked by other users (using browser extensions for example) are a clear negative User Signal, so it is vital that your webpages are perceived to be of good quality. Bounce rate, Click Through Rate (CTR), Session Duration and other User Signals can be obtained via Google Analytics to identify any “problem pages.”
Avoid duplicating content across more than one page or replicating significant amounts of content from other websites. Google wants to show fresh and original content to its users and will rank original material as being better quality and more useful. It’s tempting to re-use or repurpose content from external sources, but even if you reference those sources you are in danger of at best being ranked low and at worst being accused of plagiarism, so don’t go there. If you’re not confident about creating original content then outsource to a copywriter instead. We happen to know a very good one!
Avoid the temptation to keyword-stuff your page content. Research your keywords and use them appropriately, in the right context and in a way that sounds natural and not forced. If the visitor has reached your website be sure that the content matches the searcher-intent or they will quickly bounce away. This means making sure the keywords in the search match the keywords and the content on the page.
Many of the basic SEO techniques that traditionally get you found on Google can also influence the UX and so they should be monitored regularly to ensure what was once fixed, stays fixed. These include:
Page and Site Loading speed
It’s well documented that faster loading websites, particularly on mobile devices, hugely impact User Experience. It used to be that around four seconds was an acceptable loading speed but more recently around 50% of mobile users expect a page to load within two seconds, and most of them will give up shortly after three seconds. There are several actions you can take to improve page loading speeds, such as contacting your hosting company, as well as more technical changes, for which the help of a programmer may be needed.
We talked in Part 1 of this blog about Expertise, Authority and Trust. If your website is not secure i.e. http and not https, then any data entered on that website (for example contact, personal or financial details) becomes vulnerable to hacking. Would you enter your personal data into a website that isn’t secure? If the website owner cannot make this simple and inexpensive effort to protect your data, you should head for the hills fast. Why would you trust anything else you see on that site?
Broken links that leave your visitor stranded on a 404 page will leave the searcher frustrated and more than likely they will go elsewhere for the best answer. The internet is fragile so you should regularly check your site for broken links. But remember fixing broken links (including backlinks) is like herding cats, it’s a never-ending task. New ones will appear all the time and those once fixed can easily become broken again.
Ensure your website is Mobile-friendly. Most modern websites are “Responsive” which means that images and text will resize automatically according to the type of device they are being displayed on. Having a responsive website is just the start to being mobile-friendly. There are a number of other considerations to take into account many of which only become apparent when you view your website on various devices. Do the text and images line up? Can you see the CTA button? Is it easy to navigate around the site? Use a browser extension such as Viewport Resizer for use on Chrome to check the mobile user experience.
It’s safe to assume that User Experience will continue to be a key ranking factor for the foreseeable future and those websites that build UX into its content and design will prosper. Now’s the time to take a second look at your website from the visitors’ perspective and see what you can do to improve that experience.
For more information on website layout & user experience or to receive a free copy of our Website and UX Checklist Contact Us.
About the Author
Alan Say knows what it takes to get your website found on Google. As an experienced SEO Marketer, the clients he works with are ranking higher in searches and attracting more customers.
If you want to learn more about UX Design & Layout contact us to arrange a free 30 minute consultation and receive a copy of our free Website Structure & User Experience Checklist.