Not getting as much traffic on your website as you’d expect?
Here are a few essentials that your site must fulfil in order to optimise your site for user experience and help you achieve greater online visibility.
Search engines want to feature the websites that users like at the top of their results. And these sites will be optimised for user experience. By applying our recommended guidelines, you will improve both your website’s ranking and your users’ on-site experience. This means that you will be more visible online and when your user enters your site, they will be more likely to perform key actions.
You should check to make sure that your site has a HTTPS connection and that it is not HTTP. HTTPS authenticates a website and web server that a user tries to access and provides encryption in order to protect against third-party tampering. In 2016, Google announced that from 2017 they were going to mark pages that were not HTTPS as “not secure.”
As a result, connection-type has become a ranking factor for Google and sites that do not have a HTTPS connection will be penalised by Google.
If you do a quick Google, you would find that most of the highest-ranking pages use HTTPS encryption and so it is important that you are fulfilling this basic standard.
You can implement a HTTPS by acquiring an SSL/TLS certificate. To do this you must generate and submit a certificate signing request (CSR) to an SSL/TLS provider. You can then install the certification onto your site.
Alternatively, you can just get a digital partner to do it on your behalf.
Another important factor that you need to consider is site speed. Simply put, users like websites that are fast. Nobody is going to stick around on a website that takes a long time to load.
Did you know that conversions can drop by 20% for every second it takes to load a mobile page?
As a result, they will probably end up moving on to one of your competitors. This is another facet of user experience that you must think about. And, because it concerns the user, Google uses loading time as a ranking signal. So, you need to make sure that your site is optimised for speed.
From a user experience perspective, trying to minimise your load time can have a significant impact on the success of your website. They won’t get frustrated with trying to use your site, they will have confidence in service quality and so they are more likely to perform key actions.
Loading times for top-ranked mobile URLs are around a second quicker than their desktop equivalents.
(Source: Search Metrics)
What can you do to improve your page speed?
Find out how your page is performing using Google’s PageSpeed tool. This will analyse page performance and compare it with your competitors.
Google will break down your performance into Mobile and Desktop and give you suggestions for optimisation. For example:
It takes time to load all the components that make up a web page. Your videos, images, stylesheets, for example. To simplify this, combine your stylesheets, so you only need to download one. And put your images within the CSS instead.
Make sure that you are compressing images and properly formatting them so that the browser doesn’t need to load large data files.
You can utilise Photoshop or Illustrator’s 'Save for Web' option when saving an image. Or you can use a free online tool, like tinypng.com, that does it for you.
Try and reduce the amount of URL redirects that you have on a site. A redirect uses HTTP to send the user to an alternative page. Because it makes an additional request, it will increase your load time. Some redirects are essential, like 301 redirects, which link to a permanent page. Nevertheless, Google prefers that you don’t use them when you don’t have to. Find out more about Redirects.
Make improvements to your server to improve your server response time. Every time your website gets loaded the user must connect to your web server. Google recommends that your response time is less than 200ms. You can do this by upgrading your CPU or Disk resource, or using a CMS that caches page data so it doesn’t need to load all the data every time.
Whatever you do, you must make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Did you know that 27% of consumers leave a website because it’s not mobile-friendly? Mobile traffic has grown substantially and will continue to rise. In 2015, Google announced that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers.” As a result, Google prioritises mobile over desktop in its indexing. Pages that perform badly on mobile won’t rank very well on desktop. This means that you will be losing huge amounts of traffic to your competitors if you are not optimised for mobile. Most pages (85%) on the web do meet mobile-friendly requirements, so it’s essential that you aren’t in the 15% because you will be struggling to be competitive.
Find out whether your site is mobile friendly by performing Google's mobile friendly test.
To be more mobile-friendly, you need to make sure that you:
Make your site responsive. You need to adopt fluid layouts so that your site will work on the wide range of screen sizes that are available. These layouts are based on percentages rather than pixels and make your site more flexible for users. Read more about responsive.
Most CMS platforms that you use for your website will already be mobile-friendly.
Improve site speed
If you’ve implemented some of the steps about site speed above, then you will have hopefully fulfilled these criteria already. If they’re not using WIFI, you will want loading time to be at a minimum, because 70% of mobile network connections occur on 3G or slower speeds. And if it’s taking your users a long time to load your site, they will move on to a better site.
Make your content mobile-friendly. You want the user experience on desktop and mobile to be the same. You don’t want to include content that can’t be displayed on a mobile device, like Flash. You also want to use a page design that is simple and flows down the page and directs users to the next step in their customer journey. Always use legible fonts so that users aren’t forced to zoom in to read the text.
It’s important to note that these are just some of the technical considerations that you need to think about to get users on to your website. Google takes hundreds of factors into consideration when ranking a site, but it’s important that you are at least covering the basics.
In order to be successful, and sustain long-term success, you need to make sure that you have content on your site that users can engage with. So, once you have a HTTPS connection, a mobile-friendly site and you’ve improved site speed, you will need to refine your content to match your users’ needs.