Along with keywords and backlinks, providing an excellent user experience is a key metric used by Google to determine its top search positions. But what is user experience and how does Google measure it? Well, to put it simply a user experience – also known as UX – is how someone interacts with your site and whether that person is having a positive or negative browsing experience.
UX is important to Google because it genuinely has the searchers’ best interests at heart, it wants to provide them with the best possible browsing experience, therefore websites that don’t follow this mantra are penalised.
Google looks at a number of signals to evaluate the UX of a site including:
- Page loading speed – site’s which take too long to load are deemed to be providing a poor user experience
- Mobile optimisation – if your site isn’t mobile responsive Google will penalise it in its mobile SERPs, which is a huge detriment considering 50.33% of all searches are made with a mobile device
- Time spent on site – Google analytics measures the amount of time each user spends on your website, keeping them there for a sustained period of time tells Google they’re having a positive user experience
It’s that last point that we’re going to be focusing on today. How to keep people on site and improve your user experience seo.
Remarkably, 55% of web visitors only spend around 15 seconds on each page. That’s how long it takes for a person to make a snap judgement on your site and decide whether to stay or go.
But don’t let that stat intimidate you! All you have to do is keep this principle in mind: people will stay on your site if you give them a reason to.
Too often we come across sites with key pages that are thin on content and do little to entice the visitor to interact with their site. Under these circumstances we think 15 seconds is quite a generous amount of time to waste.
To keep people on your site and prevent them from bouncing here’s what you need to do:
Embed Videos Onto Your Site
Adding more video content to your site is a simple yet effective way of keeping people on your site for longer. If you can entice the majority of visitors to watch a two minute clip on your site, Google will be mighty impressed by your page content. In our experience, video content works best on landing pages and content heavy pages, where the video can be used as an alternative to people who are intimidated by a wall of text.
Now to make this work there’s a few key things to keep in mind. Firstly, the quality of video matters. It goes without saying that if your video is irrelevant to the page content or really low quality then people aren’t going to stick around to watch it.
Secondly, don’t bury it at the bottom of your page content. You have 15 seconds to grab the visitors’ attention. Make your video easily accessible from the moment they land.
Lastly, don’t spam videos across your page. Google’s page crawlers are too smart for that. Page’s caught with plenty of irrelevant videos and little written content are at risk of a Google penalty.
Exit Intent Pop-ups
Pop-ups don’t deserve their bad reputation. Undoubtedly, when used incorrectly they can be invasive and downright annoying. But the truth is they’ve been around for so long because they get results. When used in the appropriate manner they can reduce your bounce rate considerably and increase the average time spent on your site.
Modern pop-ups such as the ones provided by OptInMonster come with exit intent technology. What this means is that they analyse the real-time user behaviour of each site visitor and when it determines that the user is about to leave the site, it triggers the pop-up.
You can then use this pop-up to appeal directly to the user and encourage them to stay on your site. Do this by offering a discount, lead magnet, or a link to other content the user might find useful.
The best part about using exit intent pop-ups is that you can provide a different pop-up for each landing page. We would strongly advise taking advantage of this to achieve the best results. The way to do this is by offering a lead magnet or promotion which is closely tailored to the content of the page the user is trying to leave. Continuously A/B test to find out what works best.
Add Interactive Elements to Your Pages
Incorporating interactive elements to your website is a tried-and-tested method of retaining visitors, simply because it gives them something fun/interesting to do on your site. Remember the core principle of user experience seo: people will stay on your site if you give them a reason to!
Common methods of interactive content include quizzes, slide shows, and calculators (e.g. calculate your BMI). Another frequently used tactic which often goes unnoticed is pagination. Splitting your content across multiple pages enables you to force users into interacting with your site, otherwise they won’t get to see the full page content.
Every SEO agency will tell you how important is to have a strong internal linking structure. It’s a crucial tactic used to interconnect your site and signify to Google which of your pages are the high authority ones. However, simpler than that, it’s a method of keeping visitors on your site.
A mistake we see in website designs time and time again is the lack of thought put into the user funnel/customer journey. Whereby sites have pages and content that doesn’t instruct the visitor what to do or where to go next. Always include easily accessible internal links within every page or risk the visitor exiting the site. The best sites know which of their pages have the highest conversion rate and continuously nudge the visitor towards that page.
Also, if your website has a dedicated blog, it’s criminal not to have easily accessible links to other blogs you’ve written on similar subjects embedded throughout the page content or in the page’s widgets.
If you need help retaining visitors on your site, or with user experience SEO in general, contact the Atomic Digital Marketing team now.
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