We started working in SEO at the beginning of the millennium when this was a completely different job. SEO Ranking factors were very different at the time. Practices that were being used back then (now labeled as “Black-hat SEO“) were subsequently severely penalised by the famous animal-named algorithms.

Those were the days when highly manipulative tactics were used to rank sites. Examples of these are the invisible “search engines” text, the page rank-related links, and the “doorway pages”. But also tools used for automatically posting your website onto several directories at the same time, and many many more.

In 2017 SEO Ranking Factors are much more “ethical” and transparent, so that what benefits the ranking is actually what benefits the website user, too.

Search engine machine-learning algorithms have become quite good at judging what is quality user experience on a page or a site. Because this is definitely one of the major SEO ranking factors, we really need to care about providing quality user experience for our visitors.

To give an idea of some possible definitions of quality, imagine you have a pet supplies e-commerce, visited by 100 people. They got there by searching on Google for a phrase like cat toys.

We know that the number of visitors who end up being happy with their experience on your site can’t be 100%. After all, no matter how good your site is, it won’t have exactly what some people are looking for.

The list of what your visitors were looking for when they got on your page might actually include keywords like:

kitten stuff
cat tunnel
cats to buy
pet planet game
home cats
cat scratching post and bed
remote control mouse for cats
cat teddies

(real related keywords to the search query “cat toys”)

Those visitors will quickly leave, and later we will see why does this bounce rate affect negatively the ranking of your website.

Other visitors might actually like the products you sell. But if the page or site is lacking something important for them, which causes a loss of trust, they also leave.

Why is the user experience one of the SEO Ranking Factors?

Think of Google as a business which profits when its users are happy and keep coming back. Google aims to provide the best possible user experience on its own site.

We know from Google Analytics that the search engine measures how quickly people bounce back to the search results after clicking on one result. It also pays attention to the fact that someone may come back to the search results and then click on something else (it is called pogo-sticking, and we’ll talk about this in one of our future articles).

Google also performs a content analysis of a web page. This is used to check whether a page is too one-dimensional or missing key features that it should have. Examples of this are related products, or, for an e-commerce website, a link to the privacy policy, for example).

Of course, the SEO ranking factors aren’t the only reason why you should aim to provide the best possible user experience on our site. The best reason of all is that happy users are more likely to convert, to tell their friends about your business, and to return. In our digital age, telling friends and family means sharing on social media and linking – two criteria we definitely want. Let’s not forget that social sharing and User Experience are some of the main SEO ranking factors.

How do you evaluate the quality of the user experience your website provides to its visitors? Let’s discuss this in the comments and on our Social Media!

If you would like our help to evaluate or improve the user experience and/or the Search Engine Optimisation of your website, just let us know!