How UX Design Basics Can Improve Your Search Rankings

Propelrr Contributor

February 9, 2022

Online brands that want to succeed must have enjoyable, functional websites that leverage top-tier UX design principles. Modern sites suffer if their web design and development is complex and offer confusing user experiences. Users will simply click away to a competitor’s website over the slightest inconvenience or issue.

If you want your brand to not only survive but thrive in the competitive digital environment, you may need to go back to UX design basics. Let us expand on how you can do just that and improve your search rankings now.

How does UX design affect search rankings?

UX design can significantly affect search rankings because Google has become more sophisticated and advanced over time. For example, where previously it was efficient to stuff web pages with certain keywords, now Google is smarter and knows to prioritize websites that provide readable content.

Google does this by checking for various factors, such as time spent on the website, engagement with the content, page load time, and even partially analyzing website layout. The better the user experience your website can provide, the more Google will prioritize it when matching sites to target keywords.

Say that you have a website for a small business selling clothes. You and a competitor share the same business niche. If your website’s user experience is better than your competitor’s, your website will be prioritized for the keywords you both fight over. Even if your competitor sells the same or similar products to you.

As you can see, UX design can provide a major competitive edge to any online business or brand.

How to improve your website’s UX design

But how can you improve the UX design of your website? In many cases, it’s about going back to the basics. Stripping away unnecessary elements, and looking at things from a user perspective.

Go to your brand’s website and pretend that you are a visitor seeing it for the first time. When you do this, you’ll get a greater sense of:

  • What things surprise and delight a visitor
  • Things might irritate or frustrate them
  • What is ultimately unnecessary and just slowing down your web page load speeds

These are all components of page experience and show how good a time someone has on your website. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How fast does the webpage load?
  • Can a prospective customer find relevant products quickly?
  • Are there annoying pop-ups or other elements that detract from the UX?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll be in a better position to make major UX improvements. Let’s look at some specific ways you can improve your website’s UX design.

1. Target the Core Web Vitals

For starters, try to optimize the three core web vitals, which are as follows:

  • First input delay or FID. This tells you how long your page takes to load until it is interactive. Make sure you keep this under 100ms. 
  • Cumulative layout shift or CLS. This factor measures whether your content moves strangely or unexpectedly. This value should stay below 0.1.
  • Largest Contentful Paint or LCP. This indicates how fast your website loads the content (especially the largest piece of content on a page). LCP should always be under three seconds to prevent people from clicking away from your site. 

Each of these can impact your website’s UX and, thus, your business plan – don’t discount them!

2. Optimize all web elements

Next, go through your website’s page elements and make sure they are optimized and load quickly. Elements can mean anything from:

  • Buttons
  • Links
  • Interactive pages or forms
  • Graphics, especially video content

All of these elements should be small, easy to load, and complement other aspects of your website. For example, if your website has a massive video advertisement in the middle of the landing page that slows loading speed down to a crawl, you should probably get rid of it to improve your page’s user experience.

Similarly, keep any images at a small file size of no more than 200 kilobytes. If you absolutely must have videos, you might consider linking out to the videos on a hosting platform like YouTube rather than having them on your website itself.

If necessary, you can hire a web design or digital marketing firm to help you set up your site for extra success.

3. Eliminate pop-ups

No modern website needs pop-ups, especially if you wish to sell your brand to a prospective customer. Pop-up ads are annoying. Theyslow down page load time, and are more likely to turn people away from your brand than convert them.

So make sure your website has no pop-up ads whatsoever! If your website needs ads, they can be banner ads on the side or more subtle ads around products or other important areas of visitor focus.

4. Reduce clutter

In general, if an element, graphic, or any other item on your website is not necessary, you should get rid of it. 

Getting rid of excess things on your website improves its page load speed, eliminates potentially confusing elements for customers, and improves the overall user experience. 

It’ll also improve your sales funnel and conversions down the line.

5. Improve the website layout of your UX design

When it comes to website layout, follow this rule: Simpler is better. 

You don’t need an overly complex web layout, a dozen pages, or overly-graphic pages to create good UX designs. Instead, simpler and more streamlined website layouts will provide an enjoyable and understandable user experience. 

Imagine that someone comes to your website for the first time. They don’t know what to expect or where to find the products they may be interested in purchasing. If your website layout is too confusing to navigate, they won’t waste their time. They will leave. And they’ll most likely move on to your competitors.

By focusing on a streamlined website layout with as few pages as possible, you’ll retain more web traffic and boost your profits. Plus, you improve your site’s Google search rankings at the same time.

6. Design for mobile visitors

Lastly, it’s highly recommended that you construct your website and design your UX principles around mobile visitors. Why? Because more than half of all Internet traffic comes from mobile devices like iPhones these days.

Since many of your prospective and real customers will visit your site using a mobile phone, your website needs to be:

  • Fast loading for mobile visitors
  • Designed with a layout that fits on mobile phone screens
  • hHave buttons that are easy to tap with your thumb rather than a mouse cursor

While making your website’s UX easier for mobile customers is good in general, it can also improve your Google search rankings. This is because Google discriminates against websites that are not optimized for mobile use, so plan to spend considerable time on this point.

Better yet, think mobile-first during your builds and optimizations.

Key takeaways

Going back to UX design basics and streamlining your website will do wonders for boosting your search rankings, improving your website’s functionality, and more. 

  • The time of overly cluttered and complex websites is over. Go for simple, functional, and enjoyable user experience designs to see major benefits in the future.
  • Go through all of your site’s page elements and make sure they load quickly and are optimized. This includes graphics, buttons, links, and interactive forms. 
  • Construct your website and design your UX principles around mobile visitors. Doing so is critical because half of all website traffic comes from mobile users anyways, plus it’s necessary to improve your SEO rankings.

Did you spot any basics of UX design that your website may have skipped out on? Jump off in the comments so we can add a tip on this article.

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About the Author

Lee Li Feng

Lee Li is a project manager and B2B copywriter with a decade of experience in the Chinese fintech startup space as a PM for TaoBao, MeitTuan, and DouYin (now TikTok).