Here at Upp, we’re huge advocates of great User eXperience (UX), in fact, we know it’s essential for a b2b website to really succeed. A great UX helps your site visitors find what they’re looking for quickly and easily, whilst also helping to drive conversions. But what if the UX of your site could also help you drive more traffic too? Linking UX and SEO could help you drive more traffic to your b2b website.
What is UX?
You may be asking yourself this very question, and simply put, UX stands for User eXperience. In this post, we talk about UX in the context of websites, but great UX can apply to any kind of product or service you interact with. From a packet of crisps to the device you’re reading this post on, experiences are everywhere, ranging from simple to the highly complex.
If you think back to when you last visited a website to accomplish something (e.g. buying a product or downloading a document). How did the site make you feel? Did you find what you were looking for easily? Was the website fast? Were you happy during and after visiting the website? Or was it slow and difficult to find your way around, leaving you frustrated with your visit?
Those emotions you felt are all a result of the UX of the website you visited, and your visitors will be similarly left with their own emotions after visiting your website. We’re sure you would like to ensure they leave feeling happy, having accomplished what they set out to do. So it’s important to get your UX right for all types of web users who you anticipate will pay a visit.
How can UX impact SEO?
Search Engines (Google, Bing etc) want to give their users the best results for their search queries. The best results start with relevant answers, but at a time when there is a wealth of content providing relevant answers, the best results also mean providing the best user experience.
For example, someone may search for “What is The Theory of Relativity?” Search Engines want to provide a relevant answer, quickly and securely. Two websites (probably more) may provide a well-written answer, which clearly answers the user’s question. One website is fast, secure and easy to navigate, while the second is slow and insecure. Which site do you think will be given preference by the search engine?
John Mueller said in a recent Webmaster Hangout that “if you make a good website that works well for users then indirectly you can certainly see an effect in ranking. But it’s not that we would say look at these UX Playbooks and specifically use those as factors for ranking.”
How do the Search engines know what a user experiences?
Teams behind the Search Engines put a huge amount of effort into developing their algorithms to continue to provide a great experience for their users. They look at a number of elements to try and understand how visitors experience a website. These elements include:
Site security – does a site use SSL making it “https://”?
Site speed – visitors want speed and will become frustrated by slow load times
The layout of site content – is the content well-indexed and easy to read and does it cover a topic deeply enough?
Mobile-friendliness – more visitors are using mobile devices and websites should accommodate this either with responsive design (recommended) or with a dedicated mobile site.
If you’ve been reading up, you’ll know these elements as being key parts of modern SEO, and common sense will also tell you they’re important for creating a positive experience for site users. Your visitors want a site that is secure, fast and easy to navigate on whichever device they are browsing on and this is where SEO and UX are very closely linked. UX factors are softer ranking factors than others but they can certainly help.
For many years, Search Engine guidelines have been telling us to create content (and websites) for users and not Search Engines. This advice makes sense when you think that it’s your visitors who come to your site to download a guide you’ve been promoting, book onto an event or contact your team, not the Search Engine spider.
So how can you improve the UX of your website?
A big part of what drives us at Upp is creating great UX for our clients’ website visitors. Great UX will mean different things to different people and different websites, but if you start with the goal of creating a site that is easy to navigate, with easy to read content and a seamless experience across devices then you’re on your way to giving your visitors a positive UX.
It starts with identifying clear goals; business goals translate into website goals, which in turn translate into individual page goals. What is it that you want visitors to do when they come to your website or visit a page? Do you want them to quickly be able to browse your service or product offer? Understand how other clients are using your services by downloading a case study? Or simply understand your experience and expertise by reading a relevant blog or booking to attend a webinar you’re running?
Answering these questions will allow you to prioritise and arrange pages on your website to optimise the user’s journey through it. You’ll be able to design and build content to help you achieve your goals.
How does UPP approach UX?
Our process mixes objectivity and creativity but we always start with asking a few key questions when analysing a website’s UX:
- What’s the goal of this website (and page)
- What would we expect to find on the website/page?
- Does the content on the website support the goal(s)?
- Can visitors get to key site content quickly and easily from the home page navigation?
- Is all page content well-structured to guide the user through their journey of discovery?
- Is page navigation simple, and are calls to action used in the correct place(s) across the site?
- Does the site work well on mobiles and tablets?
You may find that you uncover more questions, such as where to put a button, which image works best, or which call to action phrase drives more conversions. These are great questions to ask and answers lie in UX research. Questionnaires, polls and user testing focus groups or the exciting world of A/B testing will help you really understand your users.
Using your website and visitor data to create a great user experience is a win-win for everyone. Your visitors get to enjoy a brilliant website that leaves them with a feeling of happiness and accomplishment and you are left with happy customers. There is also the potential for a boost in your rankings and website traffic, which will help your lead generation efforts.