Align your UX and SEO strategies to maximise ROI

Align your UX and SEO strategies to maximise ROI

Updated 13 February 2023

Use search engine optimisation and UX design to help maximise your ROI and make a bigger impact.

Although they might seem disjointed, User Experience (UX) design and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are closely connected. They both share the common goal of providing users the best experience. While SEO targets search engines, UX design targets your visitors.

SEO is all about optimising a web page and making it easier for search engines to recognise and appropriately rank the page. UX is all about providing every page visitor with great content and an excellent overall experience. SEO is about making things simpler for the machine and UX focuses on making things simpler for users. 

These might sound like two contrasting aspects, but it is very possible to balance both at the same time. You can have a great ranking website which is also a pleasure to interact with and read. All you need to do is to get the right people talking: Your SEO specialist and UX designer.

UX and SEO best practices go hand in hand

Once upon a time, SEO was simple. Put loads of keywords on your page and you’ll rank number one.

But today, Google and other search engines factor in hundreds of metrics when determining which pages to rank in search engines.

Many elements of UX best practice are rolled into SEO best practice. Whilst many agencies are just beginning to understand the relationship and business value between the two disciplines, Honest Fox has known this for ages. In fact, we structured our teams around this.

The impact of UX on your page rankings

Search engines – including Google – represent the most advanced data mining operations in the world. They know what users want and how users behave. From that data, they create algorithms to show users more of what they want and less of what they don’t. 

If Google thinks users will have a poor experience on your pages — it will push your page rankings down, down, down.

Google is constantly updating its search ranking algorithms. In 2022 alone, they released 10 updates! And no one knows exactly how the algorithm works. We do know Page Experience is a key ranking factor in Google's algorithm. 

Page Experience is a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value, both on mobile and desktop devices. It includes a set of metrics known as Core Web Vitals, that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity,and visual stability of the page. It also includes existing signals such as: mobile-friendliness, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.

How to measure and monitor page experience

There are many ways to measure, monitor and optimise your Page Experience. These are: 

  • Look at your engagement metrics such as bounce rates, pages per session and average session duration. This will give you a good idea of how you’re performing overall. 

  • Learn about the tools that can help you to measure and report on Core Web Vitals including LCP, FID, and CLS.

  • Check your page is mobile-friendly with this Mobile-Friendly Test.

  • Check your site's connection is secure. Is it secure with HTTPS?

  • Make sure that you're not using interstitials (such as full screen pop-ups) in a way that makes content less accessible.

Website factors that affect UX and SEO

As we mentioned before, SEO and UX best practices aren’t isolated. There are many site elements that impact both UX and SEO. These are: 

  • Page speed

  • URL structure

  • Mobile responsiveness

  • Site architecture

  • CTAs

  • Content structure and readability

  • Content quality 

Long gone are the days when UX and SEO work in separate lanes!

Aligning your UX and SEO strategies = success

There's no avoiding that UX is a critical factor when it comes to getting your website to rank in search engines, there is no avoiding that UX is one of the most critical factors.

If you want to increase your online visibility and increase your conversion rate, then you must align your UX and SEO strategies.

3 steps to aligning your UX and SEO strategies

For businesses to succeed they’ll need to start integrating their strategies.

Step 1: Keyword research

What are users looking for? What language do they use? What's the search intent (informational, navigational, commercial, or transactional) of the terms they use?

This affects your:

  • Web design

  • Site messaging

  • Navigation

  • Content

Step 2: Give users what they want

Websites are subject to an extreme level of snap judgments that immediately influence perceptions of credibility. Users spend an average of 5.59 seconds per page looking at written content.

Businesses need to understand their audience and provide a satisfying answer to users' questions and search queries very quickly. If you don’t, users are happy to go back to Google and try again. They’re just one click away.

A few tips for showing users what they want, quickly:

  • Create a clear site structure that can be navigated through intuitive menu names and functionalities.

  • Create clear headings that utilises the <H1> through to <H6> structure.

  • Create a clear navigation path through site headers, breadcrumbs and continued workflows.

  • Create quality content that utilises good content design.

  • Create clear call to actions (CTAs) so users don’t have to think about their next step.

Step 3: Ensure your site is easy to use on any device

The user’s journey across the internet is a complicated one. Users hop between devices accessing the web from mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, TVs and even smartwatches. 

In knowing this, search engines are encouraging all websites to be responsive. A responsive site means you’ll get the advantages from mobile-first and responsive prioritised indexing. 

A few tips for ensuring your site is easy to use across all devices:

  • Invest in responsive design that ensures your site content, functionality, navigation, buttons, load time, etc. are working as expected across all devices.

  • Focus on quality by ensuring the page layout is clear, content is optimised, relevant and original.

  • Focus on speed by streamlining code, compressing images, and utilising fast servers.

Use these tips as a good starting point but make sure you continue to test your website and make improvements.

Why it helps to engage a digital agency

When SEO and user experience are used together, they deliver the best results because of their effectiveness. But there’s an art to finding the right balance.

A digital agency provides businesses with UX and SEO experts (along with UX designers, developers, and account managers), capable of strategising and implementing the right balance of efforts.

The factors are complex and interconnected, requiring specialist skills and tools to deliver maximum ROI with minimal effort.

In addition, Google (and other search engines) never stop refining their algorithms so it requires constant learnings to optimise efforts going forward.

Want to level up or align UX and SEO strategies in your business? We're here to help, drop us a line!

Written by

Linda Bailey

UX Director

Diverting from a career in Architecture, Linda uses the left and right side of her brain equally. She's been with Honest Fox from the beginning and is involved in all facets of the business. She's empathetic and kind and loves punk music.