How UI/UX Design Impacts a Website SEO
Once upon a time, optimised keywords and high-profile backlinks were considered the only strategies to improve website ranking. But now UI/UX has jumped into the game. According to statistics, 88% of users do not prefer to revisit websites with bad UX. Search engines consider the user's convenience while ranking your content. This factor has increased the role of UI/UX design in the SEO success of your website.
Let’s have a look at the list of UI/UX design contributions that impact website SEO:
What are UI and UX, and why are they important?
Before focusing on why and how UI/UX impacts your website performance in search results, we need to understand what UI and UX stand for. UI is an abbreviation for the user interface; a term designers use to define the design or layout of their software or product. UI is a significant factor in the success of any website. It takes about 0.05 seconds for users to determine whether they like your website or not.
Below are some UI/UX elements your designer needs to focus on.
- Colour scheme: Use colours that resonate well with your target audience. Some studies show that most men like blue colours while women prefer pink.
- Fonts: When designing a user interface, make sure that font size and style are manageable on the eyes and readable.
- Logo size: Design a logo that perfectly sums up your brand. It should be eye-catching and something worth remembering.
- Site architecture: The site should be accessible, especially the key pages. Make it easy for visitors to reach their desired content.
1. Bounce Rate.
When you throw a rubber ball to a hard surface, it quickly bounces back. The same is true for websites with poor UI/UX design. Owing to this, when the UI is not on point, users open the website but quickly bounce back and close it without navigating to any other page. Google has a close eye on the bounce rate of every website for ranking it in search engine results.
The lower the bounce rate, the greater the ranking of a website. If you are working with an experienced SEO company, they can try to reduce the bounce rate leading to better SEO. They should make sure that the content presented on their website and the way of its presentation are worth of user’s visit. For this purpose, all they need to have is an experimented and well-settled UI/UX design.
In 2014, Virgin America decided to renovate its existing website. The purpose was to meet the needs of their clients and make the website more responsive in terms of modern travel needs. After going through various hit and trial processes, the renovated version was released. With improved UI/UX design, this version led to a 14% increase in conversions, a 20% reduction in support issues, and a 2X increase in booking speed.
2. Website Coding.
Your website's ranking in the search engine will rapidly decrease if its UI/UX design lacks a clean code. Some design companies create very complex regulations. These codes can sometimes help them optimise various features but decrease loading speed. Search engines face difficulty while reading and interpreting such codes. Resultantly, they de-rank such slow-loading websites.
This fact is also actual from a user perspective because people are easily frustrated with a website that loads slowly and quickly leaves. These features were proved by research that was conducted by a trained deep neural network. This network has a 90% ability to produce accurate results. Research results indicate that the greater the loading speed, the lesser the probability of the user leaving the site. Results were summarised as follows:
- 1-3 seconds loading speed: 32% probability.
- 1-5 seconds loading speed: 90% probability.
- 1-6 seconds loading speed: 106% probability.
- 1-10 seconds loading speed: 123% probability.
Overall, the UI design of your website can allot you a top position in search results. But at the same time, it can get your website in hot waters by not ranking it. The scenario links to the code's fast-loading themes, cleanliness, and non-complex nature.
3. User Compliance.
The success of every business depends on the client's satisfaction and trust. This is true for website design as well. Some organisations pay close attention to making the best possible version of their website in this regard. While others consider it a side part, and this avoidance leads to the death of their site with meagre traffic and zero conversions.
Thousands of websites exist around the same kind of domain. But not each of them can stand out and reach its potential audience. Some of them reach, but they cannot make their visitors return to them. User compliance is a significant factor for a website's SEO, governed by UI/UX design.
“UI/UX is responsible for the user's first impression when they visit your site. It’s what makes them stay or leave. A positive user experience is important for user retention and loyalty, which is key to business success.” says Dhaval Sarvaiya, co-founder of Intelivita UK.
Let's take the example of a very close friend Liza. Liza is fond of buying clothes, and she prefers online shopping. Once, she was low on budget and was looking for outfits at a low price. Unfortunately, the website lacked the prize filter, and it frustrated her.
Because she wanted to see only those outfits that fall in her affordable range, she closed it and moved to another website to find her stuff conveniently. She was delighted because it contained all filters ranging from price, colour, type of collection, and fabric.
She entered the prize range and marked her favourite colours. Everything was much easier and more convenient because of these filters. After this, Lisa bookmarked the website and visited it even when she had no plan of buying something. She recommended it to all her friends for convenient and quick online shopping.
Why did all this happen?
Because this website's UI/UX design agency was wise enough to consider user convenience, this user convenience led to their long-term conversions. Because of repeated and prolonged visits of consumers, Google ranked it up.
In addition, other things like annoying captcha, marketing popups, and newsletter subscription messages also affect user compliance.
4. Website Aesthetics.
Website aesthetics, including colours, fonts, styles, backgrounds, logos, and cover photos, play an essential role in ranking. These things are governed by UI/UX design, which appeals to a visitor or abandons him.
When someone clicks a website, the first that comes in front is the outlook of the website, not its contents. Therefore, one should ensure it is appealing enough to retain the visitor and make him look into the content.
Excess to everything is terrible. The same is true for website design. UI/UX designers should keep in mind not to keep colours very light because it fails to attract visitors and appear as something very old or outdated. Similarly, if you use too dull colours, they strain visitors' eyes, making them uncomfortable.
Consequently, they close it without going any further. Graphics can boost a website's SEO score and down it. Therefore, UX/UI design should accompany graphic experts during development. Graphic experts have deep knowledge of attractive and user-friendly colour combinations.
In addition to colours, images should be adequate and of high quality. Fonts should fit with the overall layout of the website. Overall structure should be uniform in terms of all graphics. Users should not feel that one part of the page belongs to another website because its graphics are different. Every subsequent page should be connected to the homepage of the website.
The following image can be considered as an example of a bad website design with unpleasant colour and a lack of adequate arrangement:
Given below is an example of one of the best designs with apparent and easy-to-interpret features:
Website headings are an integral part of UI design and directly affect SEO. These headings assist search engines in understanding the context of a particular website.
If these headings are unclear and easy to understand, it will become difficult for search engine indexers to interpret the website's purpose. They will fail to match it with users' search queries, leading to a de-ranking of the website in search engine results.
Headings should be appropriately considered for each section of the website. Maintaining an accurate hierarchy starting from H1, H2, and so on is essential for your website. Incorporating excessive headings is not appreciated, but you should maintain a balance of elements. UI designers should be aware that visitors leave a website if headings are not appropriate and easy to understand.
Many websites lose their ranking in an attempt to make eye-catching headings. They presume human psychology understands those headings, but humans tend to focus on specific things. A person visiting a website looks for something that contains searched keywords. He does not have time to understand the headings with hidden meanings. The same is for search engines; they link people directly with their context to increase convenience. For example, a search query says “graphic designer.”
Websites having context titled graphic designer or professional/expert graphic designer will be shown on top. But another website discusses graphic designers, but their main heading is “king of colours.”They might have published the best content but lost the opportunity to rank because of their heading.
Navigation helps users to access bars, toggles, and icons on a website and check out the content of their choice. A clear and clean UI design will allow users to navigate easily through all pages leading to a great experience, making them revisit the website frequently. Search engines also prefer to rank websites that are easy to navigate and quickly provide target material.
Good quality navigation is accessible from all pages of the website. UX/UI designers should make attempts to create a sticky menu bar. It assists users in quickly switching to other pages without going to the homepage. Consumers tend to avoid and dislike websites that have complex navigation systems. Companies should remember that a target audience is an ordinary man, not an IT expert. In this way, things can be kept simple and easy.
For example, the website of famous clothing brand puma is displayed in Google search results like this:
Not all websites are shown in this way in search results. It happens because Google prefers websites with clean and straightforward navigation. Google assists users in every possible way and supports such websites by ranking them.
This representation in search results is a kind of acknowledgement for easy navigation and enhancing a better user experience. In contrast, complex navigation websites are always de-ranked.
7. Mobile friendly.
Mobile has become the most convenient device for the public to carry out routine digital activities. Without making it mobile-friendly, you can never fulfil the dream of a high website ranking.
Website owners and their hired techs should keep this point in mind while launching their websites. Some people launched their websites long ago, and mobile was not considered necessary as it is now. But it is essential to make them mobile responsive now. This factor has gained more importance with the prevalence of Covid-19.
According to statistics, 63% of Google search queries are performed on mobile phones. Moreover, Google considers the mobile responsive version of a website while indexing its ranking. Google carries out the mobile responsive test and gives priority to its results during ranking. Google ignores websites that cannot work on mobile phones in the top ranking.
8. Social Media Sharing.
Social media heavily influence the modern generation. People tend to share everything they see on websites with their social media community. This scenario has many underground objectives like:
- Making others aware of some good or bad things.
- Sharing information.
- Sharing links of some good quality stuff that others can buy.
- Sharing links to prove a point in the argument.
Your website will miss all these things if it lacks social media sharing buttons.
Social media buttons can be placed on the side or end of every content page. Many people have deep connections with social media sites. They don’t even feel accomplished for something if they don’t share it with their social media community. The presence of these buttons encourages every visitor to share them with others.
Search engines closely monitor the websites that are often shared. This, in turn, boosts website traffic and enables search engines to rank it higher. However, it is considered a small step of UI/UX designing but can contribute to achieving high SEO scores for a website.
9. Use of Keywords.
Utilising the right keywords in relevant and appropriate sections of your website can help it get a higher position in search results. In this regard, on-page SEO is crucial and must be considered by UX designers. Proper research on keywords in combination with market trends and website niche can help a website to rank well. Various points should be considered in this regard, including:
- Schema Data
- Relevant Keywords
- High-Quality links
Keyword research should be carefully considered and executed. The use of irrelevant keywords can worsen your website's SEO. For example, you are selling skin care products, and your blog section covers topics around WhatsApp automation-related keywords.
This is something that you will call plotting irrelevant keywords. Instead, you can add well-performing keywords related to skincare like a best skincare routine, natural moisturiser for skin, best times of face cleansing, and others. This way, Google will rank your website when the public searches for related queries. This strategy leads to two benefits, one is in the form of ranking, and secondly, a pretty good proportion of these visitors can be converted into buyers.
Let's look at the website of the famous skincare brand Simple. This website has a designated section for skincare tips that contains various articles ranging from simple tricks to daily skin routines. This strategy boosts the SEO score of this website, and the brand can ultimately make more sales.
10. Call to Action.
Not all websites have a compelling call to action. The presence of call-to-action buttons makes people on your website perform relevant actions. These actions can be:
- Navigating to another page.
- Sharing content on social media platforms.
- Subscribing newsletters.
- Buying Products.
Website owners do not have enough idea about the importance of these buttons, but UX designers are well aware of their role in enhancing user engagement. Search engines closely monitor the user journey throughout the website and determine the importance of pages.
More clicks within the website decrease the bounce rate of the website. Clicks leading to the store or product pages can potentially make decent sales. It is not necessary to have a unique brand, but you can earn this through affiliate marketing and get a commission on each click, converting to a sale. The call to action should have a language strong enough to compel a visitor to click the button, and it can be done by accompanying the UX team with expert writers.
The following website can be considered to have a solid call to action in this regard:
At first sight, you can see that they are providing a free SEO report for your website. Words like free and sale strongly hit human psychology, making them utilise the service even if they don't need it.
What would be the result?
The increased retention time of visitors on this website will make search engines rank it on top.
When you browse further on this website, you can see plenty of other services that are not free. But UX designer has already hooked the visitors by giving them free offer, and customers love free things.
11. Frequently update your content, design and architecture.
Just like algorithms of search engines, market trends and customer demands change now and then. Suppose you designed a website in 2005 that contains data points according to that time. This data can be about anything leading, from general knowledge queries to some statistics. People will never read it if it starts “according to a study in the year 2004” because it is 2022. Therefore, perform regular audits of your website data and update things accordingly.
Similarly, website architecture changes over time. Organisations are implementing new strategies to win along with the advancement in technology. Everything is becoming user-friendly. On the other hand, search engines are also supporting new changes. A website with poor navigation and outdated fonts will readily be de-ranked by Google as compared to one that has implemented an effective UX/UI strategy to meet the choices of modern internet users. Use tools like Independent analytics to measure user journey on the website, bounce rates, or clickthrough rates and use the information to make necessary changes.
You should also keep a close eye on top-notch websites. Observe their strategies, and compare them to your website. Regularly check out interviews of consumers and business owners to become aware of new trends. Utilise this research to update your website's UI/UX design and enhance its SEO ranking.
Overall, UI/UX design can negatively and positively impact website SEOs depending on strategies and implementation. Therefore, UX and UI should be considered essential to SEO strategy. All features require close monitoring and go through various hit and trial processes. Owing to these facts, companies should hire an expert UI/UX design team to efficiently integrate UX/UI with SEO.