There’s no better team in driving consumers to your website and generating leads than a seamless user experience (UX) and effective SEO strategies. These two go hand-in-hand when it comes to ranking in search engines, getting your target audiences’ attention (SEO), and providing the best intuitive experience for the visitors (UX). Simply put, they work together to provide the best experience for visitors.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s define what UX is in the world of SEO.
In its basic form, UX is everything that occurs when users start to interact with your brand or business through your website and other channels. It’s focused on engaging with the users once they click the search result to visit your site.
The goal of good UX is to provide a user-friendly design that seamlessly guides users through their journey. Good UX is when visitors encounter minimal distraction or friction when navigating and using your site; from exploring your content to checking out your products or services, and ultimately converting.
In the epoch of digital, people almost always rely on Google and other search engines to find answers for their questions. In the old days, keyword stuffing was enough to rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This no longer applies today.
In fact, this practice is considered archaic and even detrimental to your ranking. Aside from other ranking factors, UX is positioned as a critical element of an effective SEO strategy that can help your site reach the top of the search results.
Why is user experience important for voice SEO?
User experience is a critical component in an effective voice search SEO strategy. Roughly one in five adults makes use of mobile voice search at least once a month. The inevitable rise of voice and its integration in web design had designers rethinking their website information architecture and navigation.
As consumers continue to “talk” to their smart devices, businesses are presented with a challenge—how can businesses work with this new and ever-evolving technology to satisfy users’ expectations?
You guessed it, improve the website’s UX. While voice search introduces you to your target audience, your website’s UX does the majority of the legwork in keeping them engaged. UX aims to guide the visitors smoothly through the website, and hopefully, they take an action that will generate profit.
Here lies the difference…
Normal type-to-search provides a long list of results. The difference with voice search is it doesn’t provide the searcher several results or multiple choices. Instead, it pulls a single result or a very short list—the top results. It presents what the search engine thinks is/are the most appropriate and relevant content that answers the searcher’s query. The structure of voice search relies on claiming position zero or the top results of the results page.
More importantly, Google’s algorithm takes into account “searcher satisfaction” as a ranking signal, which evaluates how a searcher responds to a result they’ve viewed. Upon clicking a result, the algorithm sees whether the searcher completes an action on the website, shares the page on their social media account, or leaves the site after only viewing one page. These are strong indicators of whether the displayed result fulfilled the searcher’s query.
Your website is your brand’s personality. It shows your visitors how reliable, trustworthy, and credible you are. Because of this, you need your UX design to be as user-friendly as possible to establish that trust, highlight your professionalism, and boost your search visibility.
More than the appearance, you should take into account the other aspects that help with search rankings, like page speed, mobile-friendliness, engaging and informative content, and many others. Given this, brands and marketers are optimizing whatever they can to rank at the top, organic position.
When you design or revamp your website, remember this: if you were a visitor, would the page you’re building, and the content within it suffice your needs?
What are the UX Best Practices that impact voice SEO?
Start optimizing your website for frictionless user experience. Mind you, you’re not doing this for your audience alone, but also for search engines. This helps them determine your website’s authority, relevance, and trust—which are all Google ranking signals—to then help rank and index your page accordingly.
Here’s a rundown of the website elements that influence both user experience and SEO to help your website get the top spot (preferably position zero) in voice search. Let’s get started!
Optimize your headings
Headings are put into place to make it easier for your site visitors and search engine crawlers to find and understand information, and navigate your page content. Appropriate headings make your content more readable and easy on the eyes.
Here are some tips on how you can optimize your headings:
- Use heading tags (i.e., h1, h2, h3, etc.) to break down the content for the readers and search engines. It tells them what the paragraphs/sections are about, and helps them find their way on the right section easily, if they ever get lost.
- Use h1 tag once on your page. This serves as your content’s primary focus; this is your title tag. The h1 tag is typically found near the top of the page, and it’s the title that appears in search engines. For voice SEO, don’t forget to include your primary long-tail keyphrases in your headings to contextualize what your content is about, and of course, to help with rankings.
- The h2 through h6 headers should aid in organizing the rest of your content’s structure. Note that you don’t have to use all heading tags. Sometimes, you only need h1 and h2s for your page content, while there are instances where you’d need more. Just like this article.
Make your website navigation and site structure simple
Google uses a machine-learning algorithm called RankBrain to categorize search results and process search queries. This is its third most important ranking signal. It shows searchers what it deems is the most useful and relevant answer to their key phrase query. If many visitors like a particular page, RankBrain will give it a boost in the SERPs.
Now, how does this connect with site navigation and structure? RankBrain notifies Google whether a visitor likes navigating through a website—if they go from one page to another, clicks on your links, spends a reasonable amount of time on your pages, and comes back to your site time and again. These are all indicators that your site is user-friendly and generally easy to use.
Here are some tips on how you can build your website for easy navigation:
- Ditch the pop-ups – The user utilized voice search for convenience and fast results—no typing or several tapping. Intrusive pop-ups obscure the content underneath, which is the primary and only reason why the user is on your page.
- Focus on behavior metrics, such as your site’s bounce rate, organic CTR, pages per session, and more. You can use Google Analytics to check this.
- For your site’s mobile version, design with the user’s experience, and the narrow space provided in mind. Place touch elements with adequate space in between, use readable font size, and make use of white space.
Roughly 38% of visitors will stop engaging with a website if they find it displeasing. If visitors leave a page without taking any action and go back to the search results with no intention of returning to your site, then that speaks volumes of how poorly optimized the page is. The page will also drop in ranking and get replaced with a different page.
Take note of user signals
Organic search ranking brought by voice search is largely influenced by user behavioral data. This is how brands and search engines, especially, understand every searcher’s intent. It also gives insights about how they interact with websites.
User signals refer to the behavioral patterns of users. Search engines then utilize those findings to position your website in the SERPs. For example, a user performs a voice search then clicks the suggested result, but finds that the website content does not satisfy his/her need or it appears poor in design. They then bounce back to Google. This is a signal tipping-off Google that the result does not fit the user’s search query.
Google leverages this information to help them assess which search results are more useful, valuable, and relevant to a specific search query. Other than the bounce rate, other user signals are the Click-Through Rate (CTR), time spent on a website, return to SERP-rate, pages per session, and even social signals like social media shares and likes. Although these are not direct ranking factors, studies reveal that there’s a connection between these signals and top search rankings. You can use Google Analytics for these data.
Improve your page speed
Website speed has always been one of Google’s most notable ranking factors. It’s also a ranking factor for Bing. Search engine spiders calculate your site’s loading speed based on your page’s HTML structure. Statistics show that 47% of consumers expect a website to load within two seconds or less, and 40% of people will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds. This means that slow load times affect the user experience of your visitors and feasibly hurt your conversion rates.
Since 20% of voice searches are performed on mobile devices, you’d want to check your site’s mobile responsiveness via how long it takes to load completely. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to analyze your webpage’s content and find out if there are issues that affect its load time, and which ones you can then fix or improve to make your page load faster.
Here are some ways you can boost your website speed for better performance:
- Compress your images.
- Make use of browser caching.
- Limit multiple page redirects.
- Do not put your multimedia formats on auto-play.
- Minimize the use of plug-ins and optimize your site’s theme to reduce server response times.
People who use voice search are likely on the go. Enhancing your website and mobile version’s page speed is at high priority when it comes to your voice SEO tactics.
Offer an exceptional mobile experience
Speaking of the mobile version of your website, take a look at it as a whole. What does it look and feel like? Are the text font and size readable? Are the images scaled to an appropriate size? Is it easy to navigate? After Google’s announcement of mobile-first indexing (indexing your site’s mobile version instead of the desktop version), poor mobile responsiveness would surely hurt your rankings.
Did you know that about 51% of users will purchase from a mobile-friendly website? Imagine how many conversion you’ll gain by simply optimizing your website for your voice search users’ mobile experience. Do this for searchers who perform and view voice search results on their smartphones.
- Remove unnecessary fields on your page.
- Keep your CTAs front and center, and easy to tap.
- Ensure that your contact details, the “enter” button in your forms, the search bar, menu, and other elements are easy to see and click.
- Steer clear of popups.
- When performing mobile site configuration, adopt an all-around responsive web design approach (Google recommends it). This method allows your content to display flexibly across any mobile device screen size.
Feel free to utilize Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see how your website renders on mobile devices.
Produce quality content
Voice search usually gives users just one answer. However, there are instances where it can give a concise list of results. If you rank for position zero, then Siri, Google Assistant, and other virtual assistants will give your site a shoutout through voice search results. Search engines, especially Google, care about how accurate the results are because users trust them.
Roughly 60% of consumers will not buy from a brand with poorly written content. The thing is, quality content isn’t just for the audience. Google looks into your page’s content relevance, originality, and quality to determine how it will rank (or whether it will) on the SERPs. High-quality content gets rewarded with higher search rankings.
Additionally, your visitors are likely to stay longer on-site if your content is highly engaging. This decreases your bounce rate and signals Google that your content is an excellent answer to the search query.
Here are some tips to level up your content:
- Format your content accordingly (i.e., use heading tags, bullet points, etc.).
- Write for your audience—human readers—not search engines. This is especially important in voice search where users perform natural language queries since they interact humanely with it.
- Write like an expert and support your claims with references.
- Run your draft on a plagiarism and grammar checker to spot errors and duplicate content.
Moreover, Google analyzes content quality via its expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
To rank on SERPs, you need to demonstrate that you’re an expert in the field. To display authoritativeness, your content should have backlinks from credible sources. Your website’s trustworthiness is measured through aspects like strong website security, quality reviews, and your online footprints. On-page indicators of these three are shares, bounce rate, and time spent on-page.
Pro Tip: create content that answers definitive questions, like a FAQ page or blog post, that addresses all your target audience’s burning questions. Then, frame the title or other headings of the content like how users who might use voice command will search for it. For example, you can write the questions in your FAQ page like this: “How to refund/return an item?”
UX influences how visitors will see your brand
User experience is all about prioritizing the searchers’ needs as well as the search engines’. After all, voice search gets your foot in the door, while your website’s UX focus on keeping the visitors engaged and comfortable when browsing your site.
Many people who uses voice search perform “near me” searches. If you want to rank for geo-specific keywords, you need to understand your audience and how they behave on a webpage, the search engine ranking signals, and how they use your website to communicate. When you get your website’s UX and your voice search SEO down to the letter, the ranking (let’s aim for that featured snippet display) will follow.
Are you interested in optimizing your business’ website for voice search? We offer voice search SEO services that can help your brand rise from the competition. Work with us today to provide the best experience for your target audience!