Though marketers don’t always think of SEO and UX together, they are really two sides of the same coin. Both are integral for anticipating and fulfilling your customers wants and needs. So we thought we’d give a shoutout to SEO’s best friend UX.

The value of UX has been studied by Forrester in a report that estimates every dollar spent on UX results in $100 of ROI. In another report commissioned by IBM, researchers determined that creating a design-forward mindset across the business could increase total ROI by 300%.

More to the point, research shows that 88% of users are less inclined to return to a site after they have a disappointing or frustrating experience.

Investing in SEO ensures that users can find your content when they’re searching online. A strong SEO strategy delivers both short and long term results. Don’t forget that over 25% of users click on the first organic result in Google, so it’s imperative to be visible.

SEO promotes your product in search engines and UX makes sure they like what they find. The synergy between them means the best ranking searches lead to the best user experiences and great experiences boost search rankings. Because that’s Google’s stated mission, it’s obvious that SEO and UX go hand in hand.

User retention is key 

According to Inc., “retention is the holy grail, as it is tied to profitability.” You need to provide strong, positive and ongoing experiences to retain users who will consistently come back to your site.

Obviously, a site that is designed to give people what they want with minimal friction is going to make them want to return. Google is a great example: their product and interface strive to get customers what they want with a single voice query. To say Google dominates the search industry with 86% market share is almost an understatement. Google wins because people come back every time to get what they want.

In order to get there, Google created Rankbrain, an algorithm that looks at users’ interactions with webpages to evaluate a site’s UX by looking at inputs like dwell time, bounce rate, CTR (organic), or pages visited per session.

It’s another beautiful symmetry between SEO and UX. Google boosted its retention by seeing how well every other web page in the world retains users.

Sweet, sweet returns: The UX Honeycomb

To achieve the successful user-centric metrics that satisfy Rankbrain, UX designers need to answer some questions that will evaluate if a site is providing value to a user. In the UX world this framework is called the UX Honeycomb. The questions are:

  • Is my site useful? Can users find what they are looking for after landing on my site?
  • Is my site accessible? Can users access my site from different screens without issues?
  • Is my site usable? Can users easily navigate my website, increasing the chances of them coming back? 
  • Is my site desirable? Are users aesthetically pleased with the design of my website?
  • Is my site findable? Can users navigate my site with 3 clicks or less to find what they’re looking for? 
  • Is my site credible? Is the information provided in my website from trusted sources, forming stronger brand trust ties with my users? 

Creating and optimising a site that ticks the boxes above will result in more engagement and  more time spent on your site. In a word, it increases your retention. It also produces a snowball effect that boosts your SEO too. (In fact, SEOs ask the same questions when evaluating web sites!) 

On top of that, according to Ceros, an experiential content creation platform, Google’s algorithms have evolved so much that they now evaluate the context of the page relative to the entire website. That’s why you have to provide value throughout your site — not just with content but also by having robust page speed, well-structured meta tags and a simplified site architecture to make site navigation totally intuitive.  

To sum up, UX and SEO are not very different and should be treated as complementary tools. Both help users find their answers and build long term customer brand trust. And because SEO is a team sport, you get much better results when it’s operated in-house and in tandem with UX designers.

Want to find more about SEO and UX? Get started here. 

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