User Experience and SEO: The Interplay of Design, Speed, and Navigation [Webinar]

User Experience and SEO Webinar: In a complex world, there’s something wonderfully good about going back to basics and asking fundamental questions once in a while. It helps us find clarity amidst the confusion and keeps our understanding grounded in what matters most. In a recent episode of The DMi Show, SEO expert, Felix Akinnibi discusses the relationship between UX and SEO and some of the best practices for using both to achieve higher visibility, increased traffic, and, ultimately, more tremendous success for businesses.

Insights from the webinar have been incorporated into this article to share valuable knowledge with our audience, especially UX and SEO professionals.

Why Does UX Matter in SEO and Vice Versa?

UX means how users interact with your website. It involves everything from page loading speed to navigation ease and overall user satisfaction. Why is this relevant to SEO? Well, one is that the quality and quantity of design affect how search engine bots index (or recognise) your website. For example, search engines track user behaviour metrics like bounce rate and dwell time. That means a well-designed website with a positive user experience can lead to longer visit durations and lower bounce rates, positively affecting SEO.

To put it simply, if you want to rank well in search results, you must keep people on your site. To do that, you need to offer a great user experience by providing intuitive designseamless navigation and fast load speed.

Navigation: What Is The Role Of Information Architecture In UX Design?

One key aspect of UX is information architecture. How information is organised on your website matters. When users land on your homepage, they should quickly find the information they need through navigation options like services, products, about us, and more. As a rule of thumb, you should keep the number of navigation menus in the website header to a maximum of five. If you have any content or features, consider using sub-menus or drop-down menus inside the main menu options to organise information hierarchically. If that will ruin the user experience, the footer should be used to provide additional navigation links as much as possible–that’s the best practice.

A sticky nav is highly recommended for an exceptional user experience in the navigation menu. Sticky nav ensures that important links remain visible and ‘stick’ at the top of the page as users scroll. But there’s a caveat: for a better user experience, sticky navigation should take at most 5% of the page’s view. Otherwise, it might overwhelm the page and make it difficult for users to focus on the main content they came for. A good stick nav wouldn’t look like the often intrusive pop-up commonly found on most websites–it messes up the experience.

Watch the Full Webinar Replay Here

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How Does Page Speed Impact SEO and UX?

Page speed, also known as load speed, significantly impacts UX and SEO. Recognising that slow-loading pages frustrate users and influence search rankings, Google introduced Core Web Vitals to help web admins measure loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of their web pages. Here are the metrics and tips to enhance your site’s performance and meet these vital criteria.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures the heaviest web content, be it video, text, or audio, that a webpage displays during loading. For optimal user experience, Google recommends that these contents become visible in less than 3 seconds of the page’s initial loading. To achieve this, less is more. For example, the pro tip is to minimise the use of images, especially on the homepage. However, if more pictures are needed to get attention, optimising them to smaller file sizes will significantly improve loading times and overall website performance. Google PageSpeed Insight, Pingdom and GTmetrix are popular tools for discovering and resolving large web content issues.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This metric measures the visual stability of a web page as it loads. Implementing a predefined layout structure is the best practice to address CLS issues. For instance, when your web page is loading, it’s advisable to establish fixed width and height dimensions for specific elements, such as ads displayed on the page. This approach ensures that as content loads and shifts on the page, it does so within the preset boundaries and reduces unexpected layout changes that can lead to a poor user experience.

Interaction To Next Paint: It measures how fast your website reacts to user’s interaction clicks or scrolling on the website. It’s a rare problem, but it can be sorted from the server end when it occurs. One of the best tips is to reduce the JavaScript execution time. Learn more about the ultimate guide to core web vitals for your website success. SEO success

Mobile Compatibility and UX

In today’s mobile-centric world, compatibility is vital for a positive user experience. Mobile-friendly sites not only rank better but also reach a larger audience.

It’s critical that your website is responsive and automatically adjusts its layout based on the user’s device. Additionally, user interface elements like buttons and links should be large enough to tap easily on a smaller screen.

Users expect a seamless experience on their mobile devices–a type of experience that makes them feel like you are reading their minds with all elements perfectly aligned. As a site owner, you want to ensure your site is responsive and adjust its layout based on users’ devices or screen sizes.

For Felix, here are the three tools to discover mobile compatibility issues and get guidance on how to improve them.

1. Mobile-Friendly Test

With Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, you can check your website’s mobile friendliness status in just one to two minutes. If your website is not mobile-friendly, it provides reasons for any usability issues. To address these issues, Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test includes editable HTML and screenshots of flawed pages.

2. Chrome Dev Tools

With the Chrome Dev tools built into the Chrome browser, UX designers have the help they need to check the mobile compatibility of design elements on their site. After opening the site on Chrome, you will right-click on the page and click on Inspect. To save time, you can press F12 or command+Option+C for MacOS. From there, you can inspect all design elements, simulate mobile devices, and edit for optimal mobile user experiences.

3. LightHouse Audit

Lighthouse Audit focuses on page speed analysis, but it’s also relevant for improving the UX on mobile. Like Google’s mobile-friendly test, Lighthouse Audit is straightforward: you feed it a URL to examine. It then runs a bunch of tests on the page. Afterwards, it gives you a report on the page’s performance. This will include screenshots and detailed recommendations.

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