The quality of your website can have a major impact on the overall success of your SEO campaign. There are two major reasons for this:
- It is in the major search engines’ best interest to make sure their users have a positive experience when performing searches. In order to ensure a positive user-experience, the top search results must include websites that not only contain information relevant to the user’s search query, but also provide the user with a good experience once on the site.
- The website must be able to convert visitors into leads and sales. A high quality, professionally designed website is likely to be much more effective at converting visitors into leads and sales, than a low quality site. What good are first page rankings anyways if your site turns off prospective customers?
So, how can you ensure that your website provides users with a positive user experience?
Have a Professional Design
Having an attractive and professional design is one of the most important components of user experience.
An attractive design can impress and engage users, whereas a bad design can turn off users, contributing to a high bounce rate and low average time on site. If this happens enough, the search engines will perceive these negative signals as the result of a poor user experience, and reduce your site’s rankings.
Additionally, people are visual, and make strong judgments based on first impressions. For this reason, expect lower search engines rankings and conversion rates with poorly designed websites.
Create Engaging Content
In order to provide users with a positive experience, your site must contain well-written content that meets the needs of your intended audience. Users will get frustrated and leave your site if the content is not relevant to their needs or is poorly written.
Conversely, users will stay on your site longer, come back more often, and even share your content if it meets their needs and is well written. So, make sure to write content for your target audience, not the search engines.
As a result of providing engaging content, not only will your site receive better rankings, but the probability that users will become new customers also greatly increases.
Provide User-Friendly Navigation
Once a user finds your site, is impressed with its design, and engages with the content, the goal is to keep them on the site longer (the more a user engages with your site, the more likely they will convert into a lead or sale).
Providing users with a navigation structure that makes it easy for them to find additional relevant information is a key element of keeping users engaged. If users find it difficult to locate additional relevant information because the site’s navigation isn't intuitive, they will likely give up, and move on to the next site.
Ensure Fast Page Load Speeds
Have you ever clicked on a search result in Google, and ended up looking at blank screen while the site loaded? Did you wait for it to finish loading, or did you get frustrated and move on?
No matter how great the design or how engaging the content, slow page load speeds create a terrible user-experience. Both your rankings and conversion rates will suffer as a result.
The importance of investing in a quality hosting solution that ensures fast page load speeds is often ignored. Cheap hosting can cost you in the form of better rankings and new customers, so a quality hosting solution is well worth the investment.
A professional design, engaging content, user-friendly navigation, and fast page load speeds are all characteristics of a high quality website, and are therefore essential to a successful SEO campaign. Not only will they contribute to improved rankings, but they will also contribute to higher conversion rates, and ultimately more customers.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!