User Experience is the New King: Rethinking SEO Priorities

In the SEO world, keywords, content and link-building have historically been the key priorities. 

But, Google’s algorithm is continuously evolving. It’s becoming more interested in helping users to reach meaningful information. 

That’s where UX comes in. SEOs and Marketers are discovering that user experience has an equally important role to play in SEO campaigns. 

Whilst UX was previously seen as an antagonist to SEO, I would argue it’s fast becoming its new king. 

So, what’s changed? In this blog post, I’ll explain why SEO managers need to rethink their priorities - and the big questions they’ll need to ask so they can blend SEO and UX strategies seamlessly.


The rundown on UX and SEO


UX and SEO used to be at loggerheads with each other. So, why am I now claiming user experience is the top priority for SEO? 

Well, first we need to consider what they both do. SEO boosts the organic ranking of web content in search engines. UX is all about improving the user experience of your website, from navigation to load speeds. Sadly, these two goals haven’t always complimented each other. 

Previously, incorporating the right keywords into on-page content was the main focus of SEO strategies. This method was frequently misused, with writers “keyword stuffing” their content with repetitive keyphrases. Whilst this often played Google’s algorithm successfully, shooting content higher in the rankings, it wasn’t so great for consumers.

Think about it. If you’re searching the internet for something, you want the results to be clear and informative. Repeated keyphrases can quickly get annoying - and savvy consumers will soon catch onto your strategy. What are they likely to do next? In most cases, they won’t stick around to look at other pages on your website. They’re more likely to get frustrated, then click away to look for a more relevant result. This is what Google’s algorithm changes are taking into account. 

This isn’t to say that on-page SEO isn’t important. It’s just not the whole picture. Google rankings aren’t just interested in the keywords, they’re analysing how customers engage with your content. Is your content keeping customers on your website? Are consumers finding the answers to their questions? Or is something forcing them to click away? All these different aspects affect your UX and, in turn, your SEO.

 

Why is UX so essential to SEO?


Times have changed. Google’s algorithm is focused on finding the highest quality results for web users. That’s why great UX is essential to e-commerce SEO. Put simply, great SEO draws consumers to your website. Great UX keeps them there (and converts them into loyal customers!). 

So, how exactly does UX impact on SEO and Google rankings? Let’s take a closer look…

Website speed

One of the most well-known UX metrics is website speed. Consumers are busy people and like websites to load quickly. In fact, research from Google found that 53% of mobile web users leave pages that won’t load within three seconds. 

Google search rankings also take page speed into account. So, the speed of your website can directly and indirectly affect Shopify and e-commerce SEO.


Bounce rate and time on page


Bounce rates refer to the percentage of users who leave a website after viewing just one page. They don’t directly affect page rankings, but their related metrics, long click and short click, do. 

Your SEO rankings are also affected by how long users spend on your webpage.

 

Navigation and design


Another UX issue that indirectly affects SEO rankings is site navigation. Customers need to be able to access pages on your website with ease. If the navigation menus and buttons are hard to find, users will quickly get fed up. That goes for your overall web design too. Too many fonts, bright colours and confusing graphics can lead to a very off-putting UI.


Content 


Google wants to answer user questions. It can’t do that with junk content, even if it’s brimming with keywords. To be truly optimised, SEO content needs to provide meaningful answers for consumers. If customers find what they’re looking for on your website, that means a better user experience. That should be reflected in longer click rates and higher time on the page. 


The big questions for SEO…


With the changes to Google’s algorithm, can we really consider SEO and UX to be separate methods anymore? Or are they both integral to one another?

Ultimately, the goal of SEO is to bring customers to the information (and products!) they’re searching for. 

But now we also need to be mindful of what customers do when they reach that information. If they just immediately click away, the on-page SEO and metadata is useless. 

We have to ask ourselves the big questions here:

- Does this shift mean that SEO should become more collaborative?

- We can’t just focus on keywords and metadata alone anymore. Do SEO experts need to become UX experts too?

UX has a direct impact on search engine rankings. SEO managers need to have a strong awareness of UX metrics, including website speed and time on page. 

What are the new priorities for SEO? Rather than playing a guessing game with Google’s algorithm, the focus should always be on customer needs. 

What is the customer looking for? What do they need to know? How can brands provide this in the most engaging and convenient way?

When it comes to both SEO and UX, using a customer-focused strategy is the best approach.


World-class SEO for Shopify and E-commerce stores


If a digital agency is promising everything from SEO to marketing and UI design, chances are they’re full of BS. At Finetune SEO, we don’t spread ourselves too thinly. We focus on what we know. And that’s the ins and outs of SEO for Shopify and E-commerce!


It’s not just keywords that boost your SEO. If you’re ready to talk to the experts, we’re on hand to help. 


We’ll help you build website traffic - and skyrocket your sales. 


Book a free strategy call today to learn how we can transform your SEO!

We’re Finetune SEO a UK founded SEO agency, specialising in helping e-commerce brands grow their online sales and revenue through Search Engine Optimization.

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