The Importance of a Good User Experience

The Importance of a Good User Experience
December 13, 2012 Webmaster

When starting a website, providing a good user experience is of vital importance. In the past, search engine optimization (SEO) was heavily reliant on keywords and links. Now, though, in a world revolutionized by the invention of Google, which emphasizes user experience over optimization, and with the company overwhelmingly being the most popular and most-used search engine, the significance of a positive user experience is crucial in getting your site seen. Though keywords still play a role in search engine results page (SERP) rankings, it’s important to find a counterbalance between user experience and keyword advantageousness.

Google’s success is based around an algorithm called PageRank. PageRank assigns each page a rank based on a number of factors, including page content, architecture, and hyperlinks. The higher a page’s rank, the more prominently and principally it is featured on Google’s search engine. With this is mind, you should create a site catered specifically to your target audience, as Google monitors not only page views, but also the amount of time users actually spend on your page, which in turn boosts your page’s PageRank ranking. Focus on providing thorough content, as opposed to attempting to “cloak” your page with keywords in an effort to get more hits. Google is able to weed out such sites.

While your PageRank ranking is important in securing traffic to your site, there are other details that are important to your site’s welfare. For one, a clickable logo is an excellent idea, as it not only works as a visual aid to remind people of your site, but for practical purposes provides a link to direct visitors back to your homepage when they are on your site. It should be noted that images should not be used for important names, content, or links, because Google is unable to perceive text within graphics.

Secondly, your site’s navigation should be user-friendly. Additionally, your site’s navigation should be easily located, which is why most sites display their navigation at the top of the page near the logo. Your navigation should include links to the other pages contained within your website. It is also wise to make sure that the current page on your site’s navigation is highlighted or fashioned divergently so that users will always know which page they are on. To also aid in navigation around your site, a search bar is an effective tool. Users can insert keywords to help them more easily find the specific content they are in search of. Strengthen your search bar’s functionality by including categories or a tag cloud.

Emphasizing your links will also assist in making navigation around your site easier. Try styling the links differently from the rest of your site’s text to make them easily distinguishable. This is usually done by simply changing the color of the link text and/or underlining the links, but you should be mindful that the link color is still aesthetically in tune with the rest of your page. However, be conscious of the fact that links in excess quantities or links that aren’t connected to legitimate outside sources could be penalized by Google, resulting in a lowered PageRank ranking. Google’s algorithms can distinguish between what they call “natural” and “unnatural” links; natural links are links that are used on other sites back to your site because your site’s has been deemed valuable, while unnatural links are put on a site with the intention of making your site more visible to search engines. Natural links are the only links that are used in the indexing and ranking of your site.

In conclusion, a good user experience is absolutely essential to a site’s potential excellence. A good user experience is not only a benefit for visitors to your site, but also to the site itself in its visibility on Google and other search engines. Make sure your content is concise and relevant, and make your site easily navigable and attractive. These components will ensure the success of your site.