UX and SEO: How The Two Come Together In Ecommerce
Long gone are the days where SEO and User Experience existed as two separate entities. For some time now, SEO and UX have been so interrelated that one cannot exist without the other.
This is especially true in the world of ecommerce: SEO is only part of the equation in getting your commerce website to rank high in Google’s search results. Now more than ever Google is paying very close attention to the quality and authoritativeness of websites and more specifically, web-pages. Here’s why you need to do the same.
Driving traffic to a website that is unengaging or difficult to navigate, actually works against you. This means wasted SEO efforts, zero conversions and a high bounce rate.
Today, website design must put the user and their experience first. These two factors must be included in the inception of a website's design as well as during the rest of the design process. In the case of ecommerce websites, great UX design ensures an effortless user journey marked with great navigation and visuals, motivating web visitors to make commercial decisions and convert. Designing for experience is key.
Having said all that, whilst UX design is crucial, you also need to meet the needs of the searchers, before you can present them with an exceptional website experience.
This is where UX and SEO become one.
Although you’re trying to please users when they land on your website, you also need to please Google’s algorithms - well UX-designed web pages also need to be keyword optimised, be linked to, be indexable, be well interlinked and have relevant content. This brings me to my next point...
Here lies the dilemma of UX and SEO working as one. Ecommerce websites are designed and built around content that is not only crawlable, readable, relevant, and useful to a search engine but that also engages with visitors and solves their problems or answers their questions.
In the case of an ecommerce mobile app, a purely visual and interactive experience is not enough for searchers - products need descriptive text that is keyword optimised and that is interlinked using informative anchor text.
UX is the cornerstone of our design process and creative strategy, but we also find a balance between UX and SEO so that both search engines and visitors are satisfied with the content on the website.
This one is a no brainer. Although Google is not officially using Mobile-First index as of yet, there are definite movements towards that being the case. Either way, more and more ecommerce websites are being designed and built for mobile first and are then adapted for desktop.
In 2014, mobile traffic became as important as desktop traffic.
In 2016, ecommerce mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic for the first time.
Now, more than half of the Internet's users are reaching ecommerce websites via a smartphone or a tablet. Not only that but in 2016, UK retail sales topped £133 billion where 54% of online sales were made through a smartphone in December 2016.
Statistics also show that around 40% of mobile users will go to a competitor's website after a bad mobile shopping experience and a shocking 80% of mobile users have found it difficult to complete an ecommerce transaction.
Responsive web design is one of the biggest links between UX and SEO, meaning that if mobile users are happy once they land on your website, Google will be happy to motivate them to get there.
Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness
This one sits smack bang in the middle of UX and SEO. Google’s reason for existing is to provide Internet users with the most relevant and highest quality search results.
Google being Google, it has a 160-page document called Search Rater Quality Guidelines which is used by an actual team of people to check the quality of web-pages and evaluate their usefulness.
One of the latest updates from Google explained that very high importance is placed on web-pages’ Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E.A.T.)
E.A.T. is especially important for ecommerce websites and is a ranking factor which tells Google whether a website can be trusted. Great user-centred design should ensure that the website provides high quality and relevant content, which in turn will build the website’s reputation and authority. This is the point where UX and SEO intertwine to a great extent.
A final note... Overall User Experience
SEO and UX, in MOZ’s Rand Fishkin’s words “are so tied and interrelated that you cannot separate them. The findability, the discoverability, the ability for a page to perform well in search engines, which remains the primary way that we find new information on the Internet, that is absolutely as critically important as it is to have that great user experience on the website itself and through the website's pages.”
Here at Nzime, user-centred design grounded in solid persona mapping is the cornerstone of our creative strategy which translates into award-winning ecommerce websites that make searchers happy and convert them into customers.