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The Impact of UX on the Future of SEO

We are now at a point in digital history where search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience (UX) have begun to align. That's because search engines have become more intuitive and equipped to provide internet users the information they need, based on their search intent. 

On the other hand, UX has become the primary competitive differentiator between brands. So, providing an excellent customer experience via search engines and all other online brand channels has become more critical than ever. For these reasons, UX will impact SEO for the foreseeable future.

Google's Core Web Vitals: An Intro

In 2020, Google released guidelines on a set of metrics known as Core Web Vitals, which it finished rolling out in 2022. These were meant to keep track of a web page’s visual stability, interactivity, and loading performance since they impact user experience. 

Based on the data it obtains from real users as part of its Chrome User Experience Report, it will rank your site based on your scores. The higher they are, the better your ranking will be.

Below is a summary of those guidelines:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP refers to the largest text or image on a web page and measures loading performance. According to Google guidelines, LCP should appear within the first 2.5 seconds of a webpage beginning to load to provide a good user experience.

First Input Delay (FID)

FID measures interactivity, which is how quickly your site will respond to user input. According to Google guidelines, your site should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds. Beginning in March 2024, Interaction to Next Paint (INP) will replace FID as a Core Web Vital.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS is a visual stability metric. So, it keeps track of how stable your pages are after rendering. Your site should have a CLS score of less than 0.1 based on Google guidelines.

The Evolution of UX

Once upon a time, UX depended on how beautiful and user-friendly website designs were. That is not surprising since studies showed that 94 percent of first brand impressions are design-related, and 88 percent of internet users are unlikely to return to a site that provides a bad user experience. 

However, with the launch of Google’s Core Web Vitals, your business must do more than have a beautiful website. Now, you must also focus on how quickly your web pages load when your audience needs to find information, how fast your site adapts to mobile-based searches, and how easy it is to navigate. In addition, you must also pay attention to the way your content is presented to internet users.

Improving user experience will shape how users perceive your brand and, thus, influence how search engines rank you.

How to Integrate SEO and UX for the Best Results

It’s one thing to know that SEO and UX are now related, and quite another to integrate them to influence user perceptions positively. Here are some strategies you can implement!

Incorporate Relevant Interactive Elements

Interactive content provides twice the engagement of static content. So, it's worth creating. You can use interactive elements, such as social sharing buttons, quizzes, internal links, search bars, calculators, image and video galleries, infographics, and to attract and maintain your target audience’s attention. 

However, you need to incorporate interactive elements in moderation. If you do, they will speed up your site's loading times and affect user experience positively. That, in turn, will lower your SERP rankings.

Utilize User-Friendly Keywords

Keyword stuffing used to be a thing before search engines like Google started cracking the whip. However, keywords are still necessary since 68 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine. 

You must ensure you align your keyword with the user's search intent. 

For example, studies show URLs incorporating a keyword have a 45 percent click-through rate (CTR). So, all your URLs and meta descriptions should include the keyword or phrase you want to rank highly for. 

Also, remember that 70 percent of search queries have four or more words. So, if you use long-tail keywords, which are more specific about what users are looking for, you are more likely to have higher conversions.

Optimize Your Site for Mobile Searches

You should optimize your site for mobile searches since users spend an average of three hours per person per day on mobile devices, generating 58.33 percent of all website traffic.

For starters, you can design all the essential site elements with thumbs in mind by keeping them within easy reach. In addition, you should clean up your codes, avoid pop-ups, compress images, and use responsive themes. You can also simplify your navigation menu and use structured data.

By optimizing your site for mobile searches, you will improve user experience, and Google will eventually improve your rankings.

Create Relevant Structured Content

About half of buyers will engage with three to five pieces of content before contacting a salesperson. Therefore, you must create relevant content, such as videos, blogs, and images, to address your audience’s pain points at every stage of their buying journey.

But that’s not all! You must also structure the content appropriately. For starters, organize your content to flow well and align with the user intent. You can combine multiple content formats, such as blog articles and videos, if necessary.

Secondly, you need to incorporate relevant keywords within the content and headlines to make it easier for users to find it in the first place. 

In addition, you should create video content since most users prefer it, and search engines prioritize it during searches. Ensure there is a keyword-optimized description of more than 50 words to let users know what information you'll provide. Focus on live-action, animated, and screen-recorded videos that offer value to your audience since users typically prefer those.

Factor in Voice Search

Voice searches have become increasingly popular thanks to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. Currently, 27 percent of voice searches are done on mobile. And by 2024, there will be 8.4 billion voice assistants in use. In addition, studies show that voice search shopping will soon cross the $40 billion mark.

So, your user experience improvement strategy concerning SEO should factor in voice searches. Remember, though, that people tend to speak more conversationally and will take longer while being more specific about what they want. That's because it's easier to talk than type. Therefore, your content should align with people's voice search needs by incorporating long-tail keywords and being more casual based on how people speak.

With the significant impact that UX will have on SEO, its essential to focus on adaptive website designs. You can regularly audit your site and request user feedback to determine what needs to change to improve interactivity, visual stability, and loading times!


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