Your website's user experience will be more important than ever for SEO as Google reveal plans to change ranking criteria.
Google have recently made an announcement on upcoming changes to their algorithm. This is what they use to determine the position (or rank) of websites in search engine results pages.
Google will focus more on the user experience of your website. It will take into account factors relating to speed, responsiveness and visual stability. These factors will have a greater impact on how far up your website appears on Google searches.
What does this mean for ecommerce and retail?
Your website’s user experience will be more important to its success than ever before.
Users prefer ecommerce sites that provide a good experience, so it makes sense that those sites appear at the top of searches. Google want to lead users to sites where they will get the best experience.
Websites that do not meet a certain level of experience criteria will be penalised. This means poorer sites will be pushed further down the results page. For many ecommerce sites, this will have a considerable impact on traffic (number of visitors). Less traffic typically means less revenue so retailers need to take note and prioritise creating a great user experience.
As with bricks and mortar retail stores, the ones that are well designed, easy to navigate, have up-to-date technology, make it convenient to pay and have good customer service are always going to be more popular than those that don’t. Google are recognising the importance of this in ecommerce.
How can retailers optimise their website’s user experience?
- Improve speed – Google tracks how long it takes your web pages to load. The faster the site, the better the experience. Less than 3 seconds is good and within 1 second is excellent.
- Reduce errors – Google penalises sites that bring up errors. These can be broken links, missing images or more technical issues. SEMrush is a free tool that can measure site speed and identify errors.
- Look at your competitors – see their site from a customer’s point of view and take note of your experience. Compare that to your site’s experience and you may find features you want to adopt (and do better than your competitors of course).
- Evaluate your design – put yourself in your customers’ shoes and explore your site. Tools like Google Analytics will help you see how users are behaving on your site, what is popular and what is being overlooked.
When will Google’s algorithm changes come into effect?
Google are not planning on making any changes this year as business owners focus their efforts on the impact of COVID-19. However, retailers should bear this announcement in mind as ecommerce becomes increasingly competitive and developing a good user experience will take time.
User experience should be at the core of all website builds and development, now more than ever.
If you need help to optimise your user experience, our team of digital experts are here to drive your footfall, sales, traffic and conversion. Start a conversation today.