Still stuck in the mindset that tons of backlinks and tons of content is the most effective way to skyrocket up Google’s rankings? Sure these both have an impact on your rankings, but always make sure to provide a positive user experience for your users. Google has even been quoted in previous blog posts about rewarding high quality sites that “The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs. “
So what are some of the important factors to keep in mind when providing a quality user experience? Obviously there is a lot more than what I can cover in a single blog post, but here are a few of the key items to look out for:
Your Site’s Speed
Perhaps the most important user experience factor is your website’s speed. Google has specifically mentioned that site speed does play a part in their algorithm. Just think about how maddening it is waiting for a slow page to load. It should come as no surprise that a 1-second page load delay decreases visitor satisfaction by 16%. If you don’t care about SEO rankings, you should care about the fact that the same 1-second delay lowers conversion rates by 7%.
In April, Google announced that they were going to give priority to mobile friendly sites in their mobile SERPs. After all, mobile devices now account for over 50% (by most reports) of Google’s paid search clicks. They want to provide a great experience for those users searching from mobile devices. Sites accessed via mobile with a ton of text and require a lot of pinch/zoom equate to a negative user experience.
Clear Calls To Action
Your site should invite your visitors to read, explore, and/or take an action. Think of call to actions as the GPS directions to make it easy for your users to navigate your site, find the information they’re interested in and maybe even make a purchase. Your CTA’s should be clearly visible (I recommend not using the color you select for your CTA buttons anywhere else on your site), should give clear directions, limit the number of options available and look click-able.
You do not want to bombard your users with all the information they could ever want right on your homepage. This may seem counter-intuitive for SEOs since content is generally viewed as king, but by segmenting out all the content listed on your homepage into individual pages and funnels, you greatly increase your opportunities for even more content. Just make sure to use those clear calls to action to navigate to that content, and you’re delivering the content you’re promising from your links.