When it comes to the similarities between UX design and SEO, many people think that those two serve very different purposes. Some might think SEO is all about making your website discoverable, while UX design is aimed to improve the user experience. But if you have been reading our blogs, you know that SEO is all about user experience as well. Page speed, mobile-friendly website, site structure, and overall user experience is something UX design and SEO share in their strategies. Besides, there would be no point in bringing traffic to your website if you don’t offer a great user experience (UX). Because, in the end, once they land on your website, your visitors are just a click away from going back to the search engine. And, on the other hand, there would be no point in providing great user experience if there are no users at all. SEO brings traffic, and UX design focuses on improving the interaction of users within the websites. Those two work hand in hand and have more in common than one might think.
What Is UX Design?
UX design is a field that combines elements of psychology, business, market research, design, and technology to determine and improve the user experience by reshaping products and services based on the study of user behavior. UX design is vital for any business as it is shaping the success of products. When products are being created, it’s essential to keep in mind the user experience, because every product is created for specific users. Without studying user experience, it is very difficult to determine if the products and services are going to come handy for your clients, and it directly affects the success of a brand. Most brands try to figure out if the services and products are easy to use for their clients. So to put it simply, UX design aims to create relevant, easy-to-use, and useful products and services.
What Is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is a process of taking steps on your website so it can perform better in desired search results. Search engines are important for any business and website, as it is the primary source of bringing in traffic nowadays. Once you create a website for your law firm, you want to appear in search results so your clients can visit your website and then hopefully your office, if necessary. So, let’s say you are an intellectual property lawyer. You probably want to show up in search results for queries like “intellectual property lawyer for writers,” “intellectual property lawyer,” “intellectual property lawyer for musicians,” “what to do when someone steals your script” and so on. The idea behind bringing users searching for similar queries is that they can find out about your firm and start doing business with you.
“So, is SEO only about bringing traffic to your site?”
Absolutely not. As we have already said at the beginning of this article, SEO is all about user experience. The thing is that there are more than 200 ranking factors for Google, and a great deal of these factors are about user experience. Besides, what is the point of getting users to land on your site if the very first experience with your firm – visiting your website – results in their frustration? Most likely, nobody is going to give you a call and visit your office if they are disappointed with the webpage. That is why SEO has a significant focus on user experience, besides other factors of optimization.
When we talk about SEO to our clients, we always make sure to stress the importance of the user experience for their ranking. One of the most crucial elements of SEO and user experience itself is page speed. Although Google doesn’t reveal the exact algorithms for ranking pages to the public, page speed has been confirmed twice by Google in 2010 and 2018 .
Nowadays, Google and other search engines are going to check the website speed before offering it to users. It became an important ranking factor primarily because of two measurements: bounce rate, and the dwell time. Bounce rate is the percentage of users leaving a website without spending an amount of time that is considered “as significant” to a search engine . Now, if Google starts offering sites that users don’t find useful, then they are going to be dissatisfied with the search engine in the first place. Google puts a great emphasis on the user experience, because there is no point in offering a site if it’s going to be abandoned. And this experience affects Google’s reputation itself. According to Google , as page load time increases, the bounce rate increases as well.
- From 1 to 3 seconds the probability of bounce increases by 32%,
- 1 to 5 seconds the probability of bounce increases by 90%,
- 1 to 6 seconds the probability of bounce increases by 106%,
- 1 to 10 seconds the probability of bounce increases by 123%
Besides the bounce rate, there is dwell time – the amount of time a user spends on a web page before they return to search. Many SEO experts consider dwell time as an important ranking factor for Google. It shows how useful a page is by measuring the time the user has spent after landing on it. Because of the user experience, bounce rate, and dwell time, in 2010, Google announced page speed as a signal in their search algorithms.
“You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.” – wrote Google in 2010.
But the signal announced in 2010 was focused on desktop searches, and the number of mobile users kept increasing. Eight years later, Google made another announcement:
“People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible — studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”
According to statistics, 80% of users used a mobile device to search the internet in 2019, and nearly half of mobile users switch to your competitor instead if they had a bad experience with your mobile site . When it comes to the United States, 63% of Google’s visits are via a mobile device. So it’s not surprising that Google uses a website’s mobile responsiveness as a ranking factor, because, again, if the users visit your website and they are frustrated by the unresponsiveness of the page, then they will go back. There is no point in getting traffic if users are going to abandon a website.
“Mobile is changing the world. Today, everyone has smartphones with them, constantly communicating and looking for information. In many countries, the number of smartphones has surpassed the number of personal computers; having a mobile-friendly website has become a critical part of having an online presence.” – writes Google .
If you are unsure whether or not your website is mobile-friendly, click here to test it. To see common mistakes that frustrate mobile users, we recommend visiting this page from Google. And for a mobile SEO guide click here
Why is having a mobile-friendly site important?
“If not mobile-friendly, a site can be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. A non-mobile-friendly site requires users to pinch or zoom in order to read the content. Users find this a frustrating experience and are likely to abandon the site. Alternatively, the mobile-friendly version is readable and immediately usable.” – According to Google .
When it comes to site structure, we have heard a lot saying, “it’s important as it helps Google understand which pages of your site are important, and this means you can control which articles are going to rank better” – which is absolutely true! But there is more to site structure than just improving your ranking. The site structure directly affects user experience. So when we optimize websites and work on the structure, we have to keep in mind the user experience as much as search engines.
Ideally, a page should not be more than 3 levels deep, meaning, you should not have to click through more than 3 other pages to get to the page you need. This is where site structure comes in handy. If you think your website is a bit confusing, layout all of the pages you have and put together a site map based on the hierarchy of your pages. For example, your top-level practice areas may be: Personal Injury, Criminal Defense, and Estate Planning. Under Personal Injury, you may have smaller areas that fall under the umbrella, such as car accidents, truck accidents, TBI, premises liability, medical malpractice, and so on. Under Medical Malpractice, you may have birth injuries, misdiagnosis, medication errors, and so on. You get the idea! When you start with the user experience in mind, you are also helping your SEO. A well-structured website will rank you higher and also help you convert visitors better.
Need Help Converting More Visitors?
If your website received a good amount of traffic but your phone isn’t ringing quite as much as you’d like it, this may be a cue for you to work on your UX Design to improve conversions. BlackFin has a team of talented web developers and a team of SEO analysts that work together to bring law firm optimal results. Give us a call and tell us about your website! Let us help you diagnose what your website needs in order to generate more calls