User Experience: Your Guide For Improved CRO & SEO
User Experience (UX) has grown increasingly important over the years for getting the best out of your website.
On the internet, where attention spans are lower than ever. Where there’s more competition, constantly raising the bar. You need to be at the top of your game.
It’s not only marketers and designers that have noticed this….
Companies such as Google have increasingly implemented User Experience factors into their algorithms.
In fact, we know that page speed has been a verified ranking factor since July 2018 on Mobile devices.
And Google describes some of the speed factors they really care about in the Chrome User Experience Report.
Reports on page load times have shown that web pages that take longer than a second to load cause a significant number of users to leave the page, and that this could cost retailers such as Amazon $1.6 billion in sales.
It’s clear that there is a lot of crossover between Search Engine Optimization and Conversion Rate Optimization…
However, page speed and load times aren’t all there is to User Experience. And this isn’t the only way the two interplay.
Five UX Considerations For Your CRO & SEO
Don’t scoff. Accessibility is important, and while it may only play a small factor in both your rankings and conversions it does make a difference.
Things like alt tags, title attributes on navigational links, and making sure that your site is ARIA compliant, are all big parts of the puzzle here.
Thankfully today most modern browsers automatically convert HTML5 elements into their ARIA attributes.
4. Size & Color Contrast Of Text
This one is something that people regularly get wrong on their sites. In some extreme cases, you’ll even get warnings for these items in Google Search Console.
In the cases of most websites though, they’re simply getting on-page visual hierarchy wrong. It can make the entire article look like a giant wall of text.
Unappealing pages that are difficult to digest make people leave. This then affects things like Bounce Rate, Dwell Time and inevitably your actual conversion rate!
You should use size and contrast to help break up your content and establish hierarchy. This then helps direct the flow of the user, and hopefully helps guide them to a conversion.
It also helps keep people on the page, and engaged with your content. Which is something that we are seeing become increasingly important in terms of SEO.
A good font-size ratio that works for most designers is the 3:4 ratio:
Font-size in pixels: 9, 12, 16, 21, 28, 37, 50, 67 etc.
This refers to the typographic scale, which is something that nearly all good designers use. Many people prefer the 3:4 ratio, while others prefer different scales.
I prefer to use the 3:4 ratio, as I feel that it is best for optimal legibility.
I start with the font-size of 16px, because this is the default in your average person’s browser.
What you then do is apply whichever ratio scale you want to use, and you’ll get 9, 12, 16, 21 etc (if you use the scale provided) or something else depending on what you use.
While you don’t have to use all of these font-sizes on your site, you will likely want to use most of them for various heading sizes and so on.
Recommended: You can use type-scale.com to look at various scale ratios and do the calculations automatically.
3.) Use Of Images
This one plays into everything we’ve talked about so far….
Not only are images usually the biggest resource on your page in terms of file size, which can affect speed a lot.
By compressing and converting your images you can decrease the total size of an image by around 90%.
But images are also one of the best ways to break up the flow of a page, capturing the eye and generating interest in surrounding pieces of content.
In terms of accessibility, you need to know how to markup your images correctly so that visually impaired users can use screen readers to understand the images properly.
Simplification is the process of reducing a website to its bare essentials.
It’s been one of the secrets to many of my SEO successes. It has also been a vital concept to me as a designer, both before I got into marketing several years ago, and even recently when I won an award for User Experience & User Interface for the design of my companies site.
In terms of SEO I have often referred to this as link sculpting. A part of this process always involves the removal of unessential links from my sites.
As a designer this was the norm, and spotting improvements in rankings while doing this became the norm.
It’s also been my experience that I often notice conversion rate increases when doing this.
A study on the psychology choice from Columbia U & Stanford U in 2000, showed that too many choices can actually lead to less purchases of jam!
Analysis paralysis, decision fatigue play a big part in this.
So providing less links, by simplifying your design can actually be a big plus for rankings and conversions.
1.) Contagion Heuristic
The Contagion Heuristic is a psychological judgemental shortcut that leads people to avoid things they’ve had bad experiences with before. Often subconsciously.
This is my #1 User Experience consideration for people to take away from this article…
If someone has a bad experience on your site, odds are they won’t be coming back. It doesn’t matter whether they see you for another result in future, they’ll avoid you even on a sub-conscious level.
We are seeing Google shifting towards more branded results in the SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Pages). Displaying brand favicons, and plenty more.
I know from my own testing that CTR (Click-Through-Rates) really can improve your rankings – or tank them if people aren’t clicking-through to your site.
If you’re not getting returning traffic from someone due to their bad experience in the past, then every single usability and user experience factor in play becomes more important…
You can’t convert anyone without traffic.
It’s hard to estimate the cost of this to brands, but it almost certainly plays into things like word of mouth etc.
Many of the things you do on your site for better User Experience are inextricably linked with both your SEO and CRO results.
Incorporating SEO and CRO services into your digital marketing strategy can help you identify areas of your site that need improvement and prioritize resources accordingly.
Finally, while this is important already it’s only going to get more important over time as competition increases, traffic decreases and search engines focus more on user engagement factors in their ranking algorithms.
About the author:
Daniel Cuttridge, an SEO veteran and front-end developer, is the founder of Pathtorch.com a website intelligence startup, offering technical audits and more. He is also the founder of On-Page Academy, a free facebook group and learning community for SEOs.