User Experience To Become a Key SEO Consideration
User experience (UX) will affect Google rankings starting 2021. Google announced at the end of May 2020 that it's introducing a new ranking algorithm that will incorporate user experience as a new ranking signal.
The change parallels a rise in eCommerce, as the pandemic expedites the digital transformation to online shopping. Predicted to rise 18% in 2020, eCommerce usage is likely to remain high even after storefronts reopen.
Ecommerce in 2020 has seen a notable increase in both the number of digital buyers as well as the average spending per buyer. These gains reflect the pandemic's impact on new buyers joining the online retail space for the first time, including 12.2% growth for shoppers ages 65 and older.
Graph courtesy of eMarketer
That's Where Google's New Update Comes In
The new update to search ranking criteria is called the "Google Page Experience," and it considers things that will make the website easier to use in terms of the site’s organization, navigation, visual design, page layout, and content. Search results will rank factors like:
Is it mobile-friendly?
Does it load quickly?
Does it run on HTTPS?
Are there intrusive ads present?
Does content jump around as the page is loading?
This new update will usher in a wave of easier to use websites. Brands that do this can reap the benefits of a UX friendly site: poor UX on a landing page increases the bounce rate to 70%. Considering that a good UX can increase conversions up to 400%, it is imperative that businesses and brands incorporate these design factors -- even before Google's update rolls out.
Tips to Optimize Your Website UX
Proactively update your website before the new algorithm releases
Create an Intuitive, High-Performing Conversion Funnel
Use White Space Intentionally
Optimize Page Speed
Adopt a Mobile-First Mindset
However, the work doesn’t end when the new site goes live. You’ll want to track the results and make sure content stays current and relevant for your users with regular posts to your content calendar.