User Experience: The “New” SEO Performance Factor
User experience (UX) and the search engines, especially Google, have gone hand-in-hand for a long time. However, as more Google algorithm updates occur and spam tactics get eliminated, those in inbound marketing are being forced to look at quality metrics and strategies, rather than vanity metrics and quick fixes. While UX and search engine optimization (SEO) working together isn’t a new concept, it is a concept that is getting more attention as of late. Do you know if your insurance agency’s website is providing your customers and prospects with a positive user experience?
How Do I Evaluate the UX on My Website?
If you’re looking to evaluate the usability and experience of your website, try asking yourself the following questions:
- Is this website easy to use? Can I navigate through the pages quickly and easily?
- Is my website’s design up-to-date and professional?
- Does my website work across all browsers and mobile devices?
- Is my content unique and fresh?
- Is my content providing relevance and value to my target audience?
- Are my webforms easy to fill out? Do they ask for too much information up front?
While you can answer many of these questions by looking through your website, you should also take a look at your website data to determine the answers. Using Google Analytics, or whichever tracking software you choose, you should be able to see the following:
- How many visitors are coming to your website (from search and otherwise)
- How long visitors are staying on your website (and individual pages) and the percentage that leave quickly
- How many pages each visitor clicks through
- How many webforms are being filled out
- What browsers and devices visitors are coming from and their engagement metrics (time on site, pages per visit, etc.)
If you find that your visitors aren’t sticking around and reading your pages or your blog posts, maybe it’s time you evaluate the type of content you are publishing. If your visitors are clicking through the pages of your site and staying on your site for a while, but are not filling out webforms, maybe you should evaluate your calls to action and structure of your forms. There are a number of conclusions you can come to by evaluating the look and feel of your website and the data behind it.
How Does UX Effect SEO?
Google’s intent has never changed. Their goal has always been to provide search users with valuable and relevant results to their queries. Their algorithm has gotten more sophisticated over the years, and they have methods of evaluating the usability and user experience of a website. Google and the other search engines can see what kind of content you’re providing, if your content is unique, if your website is easy to crawl (navigate), and much more. If the search engines decide your website isn’t providing value and relevance to searchers’ queries, or a positive user experience, they will likely place those websites that are above you in the search results (or not even display your website in those particular results). This can reduce the amount of traffic your website receives from the search engines, and subsequently, the webforms you receive from organic search.
While making improvements to your website is by no means a guaranteed fix for your SEO strategy, it can only help. Improving the usability of your website will ultimately result in a more positive user experience for your customers and prospects. With a positive user experience, your website visitors are much more likely to engage with you, read through your website content, call your agency, or fill out a webform.