How can you better understand your customers and gain a competitive advantage? In order to do this, it’s important to be able to analyze how people interact with products online. Learn about four UX principles that will help you get started.
According to Google Trends, the phrase “UX” has officially reached the breaking point, meaning that searches for it have increased by over 5,000 percent in the previous few years.
The SEO business is currently flooded with publications about UX and SEO, which is unquestionably beneficial. There is, however, an issue. When it comes to UX, most websites lack a defined procedure, and the following are the major roadblocks for them:
- To find out precisely what UX is.
- To improve the usability of a website.
As I said in my last case study on SEMrush, websites that do a better job of satisfying consumers’ expectations have a higher chance of boosting search results.
What should you do if you don’t know enough about user experience? What if you lack the necessary qualifications?
The issue is that UX study is often not included in an SEO’s skill set. However, user experience is more than simply concentrating on the visitor. The four concepts outlined here are a fantastic place to start if you want to get your hands dirty with UX and analytics.
Before I mention them, I should point out that my recommendations will not always work for every website. I would propose a try and learn strategy since you will need to test numerous solutions until you obtain amazing results on your own.
Principle 1 of UX Analysis: Healthy Analytics Data and Accountability
First and foremost, you want accurate and useful data.
When it comes to SEO, I’ve seen analytics leave behind, and it always surprises me. Analytics data should not be seen as a simple “let’s see how my website is performing” exercise. It’s an important part of the user experience, and the data you utilize should be of the greatest possible quality.
You’ll also need the correct tool for the task, one that can handle all of your analytics requirements. Your data will come from a variety of sources if you don’t have integrated analytics tools, which will just add to the complexity and problems.
It’s critical to ensure that your data is consolidated and seamlessly integrated into a single system. Because it is free and connects nicely with other channels for your campaigns, such as the Google Campaign Builder, Google Analytics is a good place to start.
Finally, an analytical audit of your website is recommended to ensure that the data you see is the relevant data you want. 404 errors, self-referrals, cross-domain, and events monitoring, objectives settings, property settings, and a lack of connectivity with Search Console are just a few of the problems that an audit may uncover. More information about analytics audits may be found here.
Principle 2 of UX Analysis: Useful Analytics Metrics and Engagement
Google Analytics may be used to measure engagement indicators.
We need to look at three critical measures to come as close to calculating engagement as possible: Exit Rate, Bounce Rate, and Time on Page. From Google, these are the definitions for each of these:
- Exit Rate: Exit Rate is the proportion of all pageviews to the page that were the last in the session.
- Single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the proportion of all sessions on your site where visitors only saw one page.
- Time on Page: The average amount of time spent on a page by all visitors.
Our UX duty is to enhance such KPIs as much as possible in order to ensure the highest level of engagement. We shouldn’t concentrate on engagement numbers since Google doesn’t advise us to, but we should. Google is baffled as to why there is such a high bounce rate. There might be one or 10 reasons why people visit your website once and then depart. Google only knows that users returned to the search results to explore for alternatives, and it interprets this as a negative sign that something is wrong with your website. This is taken into account by Google when determining how well you should rank.
As an SEO, it’s your responsibility to find out why there’s a high bounce rate and how to lower it.
How to Choose the Correct Metrics
Here are a few things that have proven to be successful on my websites.
- Look for patterns by comparing acquisition stats by channel, device, and nation over time.
- Always compare data; don’t just follow data since it doesn’t provide any information.
- Look at Google Search Console data in particular, separate your high traffic and poor CTR landing sites, and then go back to Google Analytics to see what visitors are doing on those pages (bounce rates, exit rates, avg. time on page, pages per session). It’s possible that you’ll experience an epiphany.
Principle 3 of UX Analysis: Qualitative Data
Feedback, also known as qualitative data, tries to eliminate website mistakes, user pain spots, and engagement, all of which are important factors in excellent SEO.
As I previously said, increasing interaction can only be beneficial to your website. Furthermore, you never know what problems you’ll uncover that are blocking crawlers from properly indexing your sites.
You may gather quantifiable data using Google Analytics, such as bounce rates, traffic sources, performance, and events data. You’ll find out “what” your users are like. However, you must also understand “why.” That’s when qualitative information comes in handy. How can you possibly know how your users feel and think about your website if you are not one of them?
For gathering feedback through polls and surveys, I like Hotjar.com (note: I am not linked with them). I’ve been using it for a year and the quantity of feedback I’ve gotten has helped me to get insight into my users’ minds; I’ve had a lot of “aha” moments with unexpected ideas.
Identifying, diagnosing, and recovering from mistakes is one of the things you can perform using Hotjar. Recording visitor sessions, visualizing error messages, and seeing what users do after seeing them are the best methods to achieve this. For example, on my trip site Travelshouse, I provide a global flight and hotel search engine. My search engine returns an error notice when customers try to book a flight between two cities that aren’t linked by a flight option.
This is the error message. Many recordings with Hotjar resulted in the message “There were no tickets that met your filter settings.” Prior to deploying this solution, I observed that users were receiving an error message with no way to respond. To put it another way, my error message was ineffective.
This resulted in significant bounce rates, which is the polar opposite of what you want in a user experience.
However, I solved an issue by modifying the error message since it is now much simpler for visitors to locate a new solution for their destination. It’s just a matter of resetting the filters:
Another purpose of Hotjar is to utilize feedback to learn about visitors’ pain spots and encourage them to return to your site, so saving you money on retargeting. In the case of my trip blog, for example, I’ve posed questions like:
“What kept you from making a reservation today?”
I’ve had responses like this:
- “The airfare is much too costly.”
- “I couldn’t find the flight I was searching for.”
- “I need to talk with someone before making a reservation.”
All of these solutions are doable. You have numerous options for improving the user experience. Show a filter to discover the best tickets, so that even if the flight is a little more costly, you may show consumers that the journey is shorter; offer to save time rather than money. Alternatively, you may be able to display the best flight, which is a mix of inexpensive and quick.
Internal linking, which should be a component of your website’s structure, might also benefit from this technique. Internal linking is important in SEO since it makes it much simpler for bots to browse your website without encountering any issues.
How to Collect Useful Qualitative Information
- What you want to learn is determined by the feedback questions you ask. For example, if you want to increase sales, ask questions like “What is lacking on this page that would make purchasing easier?” before making a purchase. More on user questions.
- Pose questions on sites that you believe are important to your company (landing, products, homepage).
Consistency is the fourth UX Analysis principle.
Consistency is another aspect of UX research for SEO. What is the significance of this? Consistency minimizes learning by removing the need for users to devote additional mental energy to learning new representations of each activity. This results in faster and faster online activities, particularly for websites that are built to be as transactional as feasible. Consistency in analytics data reveals reduced bounce and exit rates, as well as a shorter average stay on page (because tasks are completed quicker). We all understand the importance of these indicators in SEO.
Consider the following example for consistency: you get into your vehicle and know precisely where your sunglasses are, on the side of your door. Because your sunglasses were in the same spot the day before, it didn’t take you 10 minutes to do this activity. You expected to find them there, and you did so swiftly and almost instinctively.
On your website, the same intuitive user experience should be evident.
Consistency is important for various aspects of your website, including:
- When visitors initially arrive on your website, the first thing they see is what is displayed above the fold. As a result, it’s critical that your visitors, especially new ones, instinctively comprehend what the site accomplishes and is about. For example, one of the government agencies for which I worked had a top bar with six buttons (Pay, Apply, Report, Request, Find and Contact). We named it the “channel shift bar” since it was where customers could apply for parking permits, pay taxes, get a copy of their invoices, and other duties that were generally handled offline – thus the shift…. One of the six buttons, the “contact us” button, was out of position. As a result, we’ve chosen to relocate it away for consistency’s sake, and have found a new home for it on the right side of the page with a floating button.
It may seem little, but for a website built to facilitate transactions, it makes a significant impact. Not only did we boost the number of clicks on the channel change bar and the number of page views, but we also decreased direct phone contact. As a result, the average session time on the website has increased, and engagement has risen.
- Layout. You have the option to develop the layout before publishing a website while creating or re-designing it. Buttons, font, colors, size, pictures, and placements should all be established and consolidated before being implemented across the board. Consider images and what people notice first, second, third, and so forth.
Users can locate what they need quickly because to the powerful visual layout, and the page’s structure enables them to find secondary and tertiary content if required.
- Content. We speak about UX when we talk about content consistency. The material on your website must be consistent. Consider this blog post: it had to follow the SEMrush guest post requirements, which detail what to write and what not to write, as well as what information is acceptable and what is not. All of this is done to ensure that guest articles are in line with the SEMrush brand. One of the most fundamental consistency guidelines, for example, is to avoid writing basic information; the audience here already knows the basics.
How to Develop Consistency
- Make user testing a priority and invest in it: invite random people to test your site and ask them to answer specific questions about consistency.
- Define precise objectives for your website to help you focus your efforts and become more consistent.
- Make sure that users are able to go through your funnel without difficulty. Invest time in improving it and resolving any difficulties on a regular basis.
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I’m not promising anything with this essay, but UX analysis may significantly boost your chances of ranking at the top of search engines. Take these four ideas as guides for putting people first, simply because they align with Google’s aims.
Search engines employ billions of search results to improve user experience, but they frequently don’t understand what and why certain things happen on a website; it’s your duty to figure it out.