How User Experience & Usability Affect Your SEO Rankings in Google
Google continually strives to provide the best possible results that satisfy the needs of searchers. Although the term, “best” may be subjective, Google’s search engine has undergone significant algorithm changes year after year to improve the quality and relevance of search results for their users. By any measure, their improved algorithms are a success: Google now captures a staggering 90% of all search queries online – more than 5.8 billion searches per day!
What does this mean for you and your business? At the most basic level, websites that most fully satisfy the needs of online searchers have certain characteristics in common, including:
- Easy to use and navigate
- Easy to understand
- Professional design
- Accessibility with modern browsers
- Deliver actionable and relevant information in response to queries
- Provide credible, authoritative, high-quality content
How Google and Other Search Engines Measure User Experience and Usability
Although search engines have advanced technologically to considerable degree, they are not able yet to view images, understand text, or interpret video in the way a human being can. Instead, they depend on meta-information about the interaction users have with websites, which provides key insight into the quality of website pages.
Google can assess a limited number of variables directly, including links, keywords, and site structure. Indirectly, through user engagement metrics, linking patterns, and machine learning, Google can make progressive evaluations about a given website.
Secondary or “Soft” Ranking Factors
User experience and usability are secondary influences on search engine ranking decisions. These factors help Google evaluate a site’s external popularity in an indirect way, allowing it to interpret website quality.
Providing an exceptional user experience that is empathetic and thoughtful can help ensure visitors get a positive impression of your site and thus are encouraged to bookmark, share, and return to the site again – all factors that contribute to high rankings.
The design of the user experience on your site is an important ranking factor, but also a soft factor. It can depend on how these factors are positioned on competing sites. If other sites are using soft ranking factors approximately equally, other more important factors (presumably) will decide the site’s ranking.
At InterActive Circle, we understand how to improve your site rankings by optimizing user experience and usability factors.
Still have more questions? Schedule a time with an InterActive Circle Digital Strategist now.