UX tips: Use of these tips for SEO
Improve user experience for a beter ranking
There are many myths and a considerable volume of misinformation online about SEO.
Even when a Google employee goes on record as saying something or giving advice, suspicion abounds, and the search community can quickly get up in arms
However, one long-established and widely accepted truth is that if Google gives you prior warning of an algorithm update, it’s an important one.
Google’s Page Experience Update
The latest such warning came in May this year when Google announced an upcoming Page Experience Update. As well as announcing the update, Google committed to giving six-months’ notice of its rollout. As things stand, we can expect it to land in the spring or early summer of 2021 at the earliest.
The Page Experience Update will enhance current ranking factors, focusing on what Google is calling “Core Web Vitals.” Google has already said it will add page experience factors annually. Therefore, we can expect a few years of Page Experience Updates before these factors absorb fully into the core search algorithm.
However, for the first Page Experience Update, these Core Web Vitals will center around page speed. It’s unsurprising to see Google planning to place user experience (UX) metrics at the foundation of its algorithm. Search Engine Land highlighted Screaming Frog research that found only 15% of websites would pass a Core Web Vitals test if the update rolled out today. What’s most jaw-dropping about this statistic is that everything in the Page Experience Update is already a ranking factor to some extent!
By focusing on your UX now, you might improve your search rankings immediately, as well as putting yourself in a fantastic place ahead of the Page Experience Update going live in 2021.
Here are four UX tips to address on your website now.
UX Tip 1: Page Speed Optimization
Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool has been a valuable tool for years. Amazingly, there are still people who manage websites yet don’t know about it! In the context of the Page Experience Update, the best thing about the tool is that it tells you how you’re performing against Google’s Core Web Vitals.
- Largest contentful paint, or LCP, measures how quickly your main page content loads. Google says LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of your page beginning to load.
- First impact display, or FID, measures how quickly a web browser responds to users interacting with on=pageelements. Google says your pages should have an FID of fewer than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative layout shift, or CLS, measures how often users experience unexpected layout shifts in pages, essentially checking your responsive design’s quality and stability. Google says pages should have a CLS frequency of 0.1% or lower.
As well as the Core Web Vitals, the PageSpeed Insights tool has a raft of other data and even gives you specific actions to optimize your page speed. You can provide the recommendations to a developer and get them to implement them without needing any technical knowledge yourself.
If you’re not already using PageSpeed Insights to monitor your site’s speed performance, you’re missing a massive opportunity.
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UX Tip 2: Mobile Friendliness Score
From September 2020 onwards, Google is gradually rolling out mobile-first indexing across the internet, having announced this initiative back in 2016.
Mobile-first indexing means that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your website to rank your pages. Therefore, even if your site’s desktop UX is exceptional, you could see your rankings drop if your site performs poorly on mobile. If you’ve resisted embracing responsive design up until now and your business hasn’t declined, act now.
Don’t wait any longer! Swap to a responsive design for your website today! If you’re not sure how mobile-friendly your website is, enter your URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
UX Tip 3: Use HTTPS
Although Google publicly declared that HTTPS was a positive ranking signal in 2014, a vast number of websites are still insecure.
What does your site being secure have to do with UX?
- Web browsers will give “insecure site” warnings in the URL address bar and warn users before submitting details via forms on your site.
- Web browsers will block insecure elements on your website, which may make your pages look incomplete to users.
The latter problem is known as mixed content. Server errors or issues with plug-ins and widgets can often lead to insecure content problems.
Ensure your website has an SSL certificate and that it is set to auto-renew, so users never get warnings when they visit your site. Missing Padlock is a simple, useful tool that will help you identify any mixed content issues on your site.
UX Tip 4: Intrusive Interstitials
Using intrusive interstitials – or, as you probably know them, annoying adverts that pop-up before you can read the content you’re looking for – has been a known negative search factor for years. Like with HTTPS, there are still many websites that persist in using these, so ensuring your site doesn’t could be a quick win both in terms of SEO and UX.
Take Care of UX to Maximize Your SEO Potential
If there aren’t already many articles declaring UX will kill off SEO for good, there probably will be soon. While we don’t believe that to be true, it’s undeniable that UX is becoming more influential in an SEO context. The advance announcement of Google’s Page Experience Update only serves to confirm this.
Get your UX where it needs to be, and SEO success will likely follow throughout the rest of 2020 and into 2021!