How User Experience Affects SEO: The Unignorable Connection

For Google, there is only one God, the person typing the search query.

Everything in Google’s world—your brand, its website, and all its content—is made to serve the pleasure of the divine users. And if you receive a ‘nod of approval’ from them, Google will treat you and your digital presence with respect, giving you a seat at the high table, i.e., Page 1 of the search result.  

Why is this important? 93% of your customers won’t go further than the first page of a Google search. You might have the very best services or products, but without visibility, your target audience will never even find you.

However, this is not news. Most people are, by now, aware of the criticality of SEO, and even a newbie digital marketer knows how hard it is. The super-smart search engine algorithms push marketers to optimize for a user-first experience with a constellation of SEO ranking factors – keywords, backlinks, XML sitemap, metadata, domain authority, and so on. Google uses over 200 ranking factors!     

There are only 10 spots at the top, and thousands of competing businesses are vying for them. So, every bit of optimization counts. This brings us to the role of user experience: Does it affect SEO, and if yes, how?  

Understanding User Experience (UX)

Before we uncover the connection between UX and SEO, here is a quick refresher on what user experience means.

What is User Experience?

User experience, or UX, is how a user feels while interacting with a website, application, or any digital product. Simply put, UX is about optimizing your site to fall on the right side of questions such as:

  • Did the user find everything easily on the website?
  • Was it a comfortable experience, or did their time on the site leave them frustrated and without the information they were looking for?

Think of user experience as the feeling you get in a restaurant that combines great food with awesome ambiance and perfect service vs. how you feel at a smelly, uncomfortable place with questionable hygiene. Where would you rather eat?   

Elements of a Great User Experience

To keep their UX game strong, websites and apps must consider a wide range of elements. Here are the top four factors you must work on to supercharge your UX:

Visual Design

Visual design is like the curb appeal of a house. It’s the first thing users notice when they visit your website. While your visuals will depend largely on your business, industry, and specific offerings, a clean, visually appealing design aesthetic usually presents a positive first impression across the board.


Usability is about ease of use; on a website, this encompasses navigation, placement of buttons and links, content and its format, content organization, and the intuitiveness of the user journey.

Content Quality

Naturally, content quality—how useful it is and how it is written, presented, and expressed—finally defines whether your visitors find what they came looking for. High-quality, relevant, and engaging content keeps users hooked and encourages them to explore further.

Accessibility for All 

Make sure your site or app is usable by everyone. Design for the widest target group possible; consider genders, age groups, people with disabilities, and, where applicable, geographies and languages.  

Mobile Friendliness

While designing a website on a big-screen desktop, we often forget that over 55% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. A good UX ensures the website looks and functions flawlessly on all smartphones and tablets.


Familiarity equals ease in the virtual world! Certain behaviours, processes, and placements are so standardized that they are almost default now, such as payment gateways, forms, menu, and button placements.

Keep your UX consistent with popular industry standards. On a micro level, ensure consistency flows through the various touchpoints of your brand. For example, the desktop menu should be similar to the mobile or app menu.       

How User Experience Affects SEO: A Deep Dive

So, we now know user experience (UX) is an essential element to keep your visitors engaged and happy, but how does this affect SEO rankings? 

Let’s see which critical SEO factors are dependent on UX:

Bounce Rate and Time-on-Site

The bounce rate is the percentage of users who leave the website after viewing just one page. It is ‘single-page sessions divided by all sessions’.

Now, a visitor might bounce off your site for two reasons – either he or she found what they were looking for quickly and left, or they left because of poor or misleading content.

Because bounce rate by itself is not an accurate indicator of a website’s usefulness, Google does not consider it an SEO factor. Instead, it uses bounce rate in conjunction with metrics such as long and short clicks and time-on-site to determine whether the site is serving the users.

Long clicks are when users click on a page and remain there for an extended time; short clicks are exactly the opposite. Time-on-site is the total amount of time a user spends on a website.

Pages or websites that are experiencing exceptionally high bounce rates (47% is the average across most industries), along with short clicks or low time-on-site, are obviously not pleasing to the people who land on them. One part of the problem could be the UX, and fixing it would certainly help your SEO efforts. 

Mobile Friendliness

Mobile optimization isn’t just nice to have; it’s now a must-have. Websites that are mobile optimized outrank those that are not responsive, and mobile friendliness is a major ranking factor in Google’s, as well as Bing’s, search algorithms. If your UX doesn’t provide a seamless experience on mobile devices, it will harm your SEO efforts.

Page Speed

Page speed is another vital SEO ranking factor; the longer a person has to wait for the site to load, the greater the chance of them skipping off somewhere else. According to Google, the probability of a user bouncing increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds.

So, UX design that optimizes for faster load times not only provides a better user experience but also earns brownie points with search engines.

Website Navigation

Trying to find your way around a new website with clunky navigation is a lot like driving around town with confusing signposts! It is a waste of time and often quite frustrating, something Google algorithms are very unforgiving about.

Putting in intuitive navigation as part of your UX helps users find what they are looking for and encourages them to explore your site more deeply, ultimately scoring you additional SEO points.

Website Design

We likened UX to a good restaurant earlier, and nothing can describe the design element of a site better than a restaurant’s ambiance. Humans are visual creatures, and good-looking web pages enhance the dining experience.

That visual aesthetic is more than enough to keep people coming back for more. When users like what they see, they stick around longer, engage more, and return—something Google will certainly take note of.    

Content Quality

If we carry on with the restaurant metaphor, then content equals the food! Bland, boring, and low-quality fare will not get you repeat business; you have to make your content nutritional and memorable to keep users happy.

Search engines are great at analyzing your content, so make it rich, readable, and informative and see your SEO rankings climb.   

Tips to Improve UX for Better SEO Results

We have seen how UX and SEO are linked, but what concrete steps can you take to align the two? Here is a list of activities we think are important to improve UX.

1. Build a Mobile-Friendly Website

Mobile optimization should become a default part of your UX strategy:

  • Right from the start, build for responsive design, which adapts seamlessly to various screen sizes and orientations. The idea is to ensure a consistent and user-first experience, regardless of where the website is viewed.
  • Emulators are great for designing, but before going live, test on real devices to identify and tweak any usability issues.
  • Mobile navigation bars are smaller than a desktop one; be sure to balance the discoverability of information with clarity and design aesthetics. It should also be similar to the desktop version of the site.
  • Design for handheld devices where people might use just one hand to access the menu and buttons. This is especially important when placing CTA buttons and other vital clickable links.
  • Along with the placement, the size of your buttons also matters; keep them the right size for a touch-friendly experience for users’ fingertips.
  • Typography and visuals look different in a vertical format. While testing, you will often come across a lovely image or an excellent tagline that loses its potency the second it is viewed on a phone. Design with this in mind.

2. Enhancing Page Load Speed

An analysis of the top 100 webpages worldwide put the average web page load time at 2.5 seconds on desktop and 8.6 seconds on mobile. With more than half the internet searches coming from mobile devices, it is becoming more and more important to optimize both your desktop and mobile page speeds as much as possible. 

Here’s how:

  • Compress images and videos without sacrificing visual appeal.
  • Minimize and compress the code as much as possible.
  • Set up browser caching for your static pages.
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to distribute your content across servers in various locations, making it faster to reach users spread across the globe.

To figure out what is adding up seconds to your load time, use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to conduct a Core Web Vitals assessment. 

3. Simplifying Navigation and User Interface

Keep your focus on helping users find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. Structure your site thoughtfully to make sure your content is categorized logically and optimized to make user journeys as seamless as possible.

  • A logical and clear hierarchy is the critical first step in giving your website an organized structure. Use menus, breadcrumbs, CTA buttons, and other elements by imagining yourself in the users’ shoes.
  • Make sure forms, payment gateways, and subscription boxes are user-friendly with clear labels and minimal fields.
  • Work towards an intuitive navigation structure that nudges the user towards the information he or she needs and your CTAs.

4. Create High-Quality and Relevant Content

Last but certainly not least, content!

You got the visitor to your site, the page loaded fast, and the design looks amazing. Now it’s up to the content to engage and convert the visitor. Everything you have done up to this point has been to get users to read the text on your page, so you have to make sure it is absolutely top-notch.

That doesn’t automatically mean it should be well-written; rather, it should fulfill the users’ needs. To ensure your content converts, you should:

  • Use keyword research to identify the pain points and queries your target audience is searching for and create content around these keywords.
  • Provide value with in-depth content that gives users actionable outcomes.
  • Structure your content for readability. Write in small paragraphs, use bullet points and lists, and above all, make it informative and useful.
  • Kick your content up a notch with appealing and relevant multimedia elements such as videos, infographics, graphs, images, icons, and more.
  • Keep updating and refreshing your content to stay in sync with trends.

Watch Your SEO Skyrocket with Elevated UX

Your website has just one aim, to serve the users – repeat this mantra every day while designing the UX of your website, and you will not go wrong.

Often, brands only focus on their products and services on their sites; we recommend you flip the whole approach. Your website should be built around the user—how to answer their queries and solve their problems.

By prioritizing users’ experiences, you’re not just creating a better website for your visitors; you’re also sending all the right signals to search engines. It’s a win-win.

Asset Digital Communications’ professional marketers can help elevate your UX game and improve your SEO performance. Get in touch today for a free estimate!

Suggested Reads: