It’s no secret that Google has been one of the industry’s biggest advocates of User Experience with customer-focussed journeys taking precedence over individual features and technologies for well over a decade.
Thinking about this… It only makes sense that Google would have incorporated some form of design points into the search algorithms.
Now, we are not saying this is a Google design competition and the emphasis would still be on fundamental Search Engine Optimization (SEO) factors such as responsiveness and speed, but if we’ve learnt anything over the years it would make sense that Google considers a website UX as part of the readability and overall ranking score it allocates.
Having said that – If you were taking a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) lens to your site when conducting an audit – Here is a few areas we think you could look at when focussing on improving your website SEO from a User Experience point of view.
1. Search Engine Optimization content designed for the user
Something that should be transparent by Google now is they are interested in content users actually want to read. Gone are the days of pumping out pages of keywords. So if you have any rubbish content – the time to uplift that is now.
Some key points to remember when you go to fix up all your old content:
- Ensure it is original content
- Ensure it is of high-quality
- and of interest to your readers.
- Keep it readable and legible for your readers
- Don’t go jamming in hundreds of those Keywords (Google is on to that one)
2. Mobile First
It feels like forever that we’ve been talking about mobile-first – well… Google is serious. If your website isn’t mobile ready then they are simply going to penalize you out of the rankings – simple.
As designers/developers – this is a really easy mistake to make. It’s one we usually throw in the “I’ll fix it up later” basket. Doing this will be to your own detriment.
When testing your mobile sites don’t forget:
- Test across different devices.
- Don’t forget to do Tablets — Data shows they are having a real surge in 2021.
- Make sure you remember to test all your buttons, CTA;s, Links and landing pages across your devices.
3. Menus and Navs
You have your Search Engine Optimization content sorted and everything is responding correctly – brilliant. Do not forget to ensure your navigation and links are all working as they should. This includes:
- The main menu
- Any sub-menus or drop-downs
- Account profiles or avatars
4. Find your 404s
Before a relaunch – run through your site and find any missing or broken links. It’s a great opportunity as a UX/UI Designer to have a bit of fun with the 404 page too.
Make it fun and part of your brand – that way if it ever needs to show up on your site you can turn a negative experience into a positive one.
5. Site-wide templating
Since you’re doing a bit of a site UX audit – step back and have a look at your main 5 or 6 site templates. Are they really doing what you need? Probably… but just be sure you have your bases covered.
6. Site Speed
This really can have a dedicated post all on its own so I’m not going to delve into it too much here. Basically:
- Your site needs to load FAST
- Use Google Page Speed Insights to test how you are doing
- You really need to be in the 90’s, especially on mobile
Have you gone for some really fancy (but great looking) web fonts. Maybe you can get a faster but nice-looking style by being a little more creative with some classic fonts such as Arial and Times.
You will do your designs but you need to weigh up trade-offs in speed vs design – play with the Search Engine Optimization Page Speed Insights to see where you land.
8. Track and Measure
It all comes down to statistics – remember Google Analytics is your best friend. Update, tweak and measure your performance to get the results that best fit your website.
It is important to remember while making any changes to your website or User Experience (UX) to keep the user front and center of your decision-making.
Ultimately, in doing this and taking a leaf out of the Google playbook and leading with some customer focussed decision-making – you should hopefully produce some positive Search Engine ranking results and some positive design changes for your business.