UX Is the Most Underestimated Ranking Factor in SEO – and Here Is Why


Mobile users are 5 times more likely to bounce off a website if it’s not optimized for mobile. 39% of visitors leave a website if images won’t load or take too long to load. 88% of online customers are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience. 

These three stats show that all your efforts to attract visitors to your website are in vain if you don’t get the user experience right. Google wants to show its users the best and most relevant results as well as direct them towards websites that are easy to navigate and have quality content. 

Therefore, it’s easy to conclude that besides SEO, the search engine giant takes UX into consideration when ranking websites. 

However, UX is still one of the most underrated ranking factors, and here’s why.


What Is UX and Why Does it Matter?

UX is the practice of analyzing the way users perceive and interact with a web interface, as well as making sure that they find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. 

The purpose of UX is to identify and eliminate interface potential pain points and obstacles that might confuse your website, visitors. By implementing UX principles, you’ll engage your audience and make them stay on your website longer, which, in turn, has a positive impact on your search engine metrics. 

In other words, Google will notice that visitors like to explore your website and conclude that they’re happy with your content and UX, and this will improve your rankings. 

What Are the Main UX Metrics to Track?

There are various metrics that are used for monitoring how your website performs in terms of UX, but the ones that are most important from the perspective of SEO and your rankings.

1. Bounce Rate 

This metric shows the percentage of visitors that leave your website – bounce, after viewing just one page. It’s usually either your homepage or landing page. 

A high bounce rate indicates that your visitors didn’t find what they were looking for, meaning that your website wasn’t relevant for that particular search. Besides that, numerous other factors can be the reason for this, such as low-quality or poorly formatted content, confusing UX design, unintuitive navigation, or slow loading speed. 

2. Page Dwell Time 

Keeping track of how long every single visitor spends on a web page before returning to the search engine result page or performing some other action on the page itself is essential for the success of your SEO efforts. The longer they stay, the better, as this indicates that they like the content they’re consuming and find it relevant. 

How to Improve UX and Make It Help Your SEO? 

Here are some tips that will help you create a synergy of SEO and UX on your website, thus making both your visitors and search engines happy. 

1. High-Quality Content 

No matter how well-structured and user-friendly your website is, it won’t score decent rankings unless your content is superb. 

Providing value to your visitors, addressing their issues, and offering a solution that they can easily implement are crucial characteristics of high-quality content, so make sure to identify your target audience’s interests and preferences. 

2. Include Internal Links 

However, it’s not enough to just churn out a number of blog posts, videos, and other resources on a particular topic – you need to connect your content in order to point your visitors to other related resources on your website, as well as establish a hierarchy. 

By optimizing your internal links, you will make it easier for both Google and your visitors to navigate your website and find the most important pages. 

3. Improve Loading Speed 

Slow loading speed is a surefire way to annoy your visitors. 

A single second can make a huge difference and decide whether your audience will stay or hit the back button. Keeping your loading speed under 3 seconds is what Google recommends if you want to be on the safe side. 

Try minimizing your files, optimizing image size, and reducing the number of server requests to achieve this. Another good idea is opting for a content delivery network (CDN), as it will ensure fast delivery of your website content regardless of your visitors’ geographic location. 

4. Optimize for Mobile 

Having a mobile-responsive site is a must. 

Given that mobile devices account for more than 50% of internet traffic, it’s clear that Google won’t tolerate websites that don’t display properly on different screen sizes. 

The same goes for your visitors, who will be quick to abandon a website that they can’t use on their smartphones.

5. Simplify Your Navigation

The trick is to help your visitors know where they are on your website and return to the home page without endlessly clicking back and forth. 

Everything should be structured in a clear and simple way so that your audience doesn’t have to think about what their next step should be. Pop-ups and notifications can be a huge distraction, so don’t overuse them. 

It’s good practice to ensure that your logo is linking to the home page so that your visitors can click on it when they aren’t sure where they are.  

UX is a critical factor for improving your search engine rankings. That’s why aligning your SEO and UX strategy is crucial for increasing your online visibility and attracting quality traffic. 

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