SEO has come a long way since the ‘guerilla’ marketing we all used at the beginning. Nowadays it’s much more about user experience and the look and functionality of your user interface. Keeping visitors is equally, if not more important, as attracting them. That’s why you should consider giving your UX an overhaul.
To help you in that task I have collected 28 stories from prominent SEO/marketing specialists and website owners, and in the text below you can read what they had to say on the subject.
Page load speed and mobile friendliness
Kenny Trinh, CEO of Netbooknews:
Increase Site Loading Speed. Nowadays, people spend 2 to 3 seconds for a page to load. If you site lags, they cannot navigate through it, learn about your services, or avail one.
Try the following ways to improve your page loading speed:
- Compress the images
- Optimize video file
- Leverage browser caching
By doing so, I got better conversions. I run an affiliate website so it must not get laggy or users will just jump to another site.
Kaleb O’Shea, Founder/CEO of KWK Media LLC:
My site was struggling until I installed a new theme for my wp website. The reason I did this was two-fold:
1. My website was not mobile-friendly
2. My previous theme was not optimized for overall speed.
I installed the new theme Neve and saw immediate benefits:
My site was now mobile-friendly and because over 60% of traffic is now mobile, I was now more visible. The code of my site was optimized for a smaller size, which made it much faster. Google especially looks very highly on fast websites. I also saw a huge benefit in the look and feel of the site as this new theme contains a parallax effect which makes the pages of my site look really cool.
Because of this I have seen an increase in rankings, traffic, subscriptions, and overall CTR.
Jacob Quirke, Director at Rivia Digital:
The key improvement I made in terms of UX to the Rivia Digital website was making alterations for it to be accessible on all devices. By focusing on making my site more mobile-friendly I saw through Google Analytics how greatly the traffic increased via this device. In the space of a 7 day period, mobile traffic jumped from 20% to almost 50%. Statistics like that cannot be ignored – I’d definitely recommend focusing on building a responsive website to develop the overall UX.
Celeste Huffman, Rogers and Hollands Marketing Team:
Our company realized that visitors that used the internal search function were 4 times greater to convert than those that didn’t. And over 60% of our traffic was from mobile. The problem was that our search function for mobile devices was hidden in our navigation. We changed the design and moved to he search function to the header when you view the website from mobile devices. Almost immediately we saw an increase in search usage, which resulted in a higher conversion rate from mobile buyers. This change was one of the most successful design updates we have ever put into place.
Brian Robben, CEO at Robben Media:
Ever since piling on social proof, our website conversions are up 21% on the year. I shouldn’t be surprised. Trusting is the first hurdle a prospect needs to jump through before considering and purchasing a product or service. Starting at the top hero section of our home page, we list how many companies we’ve worked with and how much money our digital marketing agency is responsible for generating. That’s an immediate pitch on trust.
Then, down the page, we describe our process, brands we’ve worked with (more social proof), and how they can work with us. When they click to our three service pages (SEO, ads, website design), we show case studies of previous clients to make it clear we’re professionals. We plan to update these case studies regularly since this has been so effective.
Filip Silobod, e-commerce for Liwu Jewellery with Meaning:
It’s a jewellery website and we put a piece of content highlighting that the business was mentioned at the Oscars event. Since most people see the top of the homepage before clicking anywhere else, we used it to increase brand reputation. After that, we saw a good increase in quality metrics form the homepage, bounce rate and page per session metrics.
Sarah Walters, Marketing Manager at The Whit Group:
We kept our services front and center on our website, moved client testimonials up on our landing page, and saw a quick increase in leads. Testimonials may seem like an obvious trick, but it gives a visitor to the site an instant review.
Chatbots or live chat
Dan Bailey, President of WikiLawn:
I’d say by far the biggest UX change we’ve made to our website that’s had the greatest impact was having a chat bot. It’s disabled right now because it was conflicting with some backend changes we’ve been doing to make the whole site more streamlined, and I can already tell it’s made a huge impact on the bounce rate of the site.
Having that chat app essentially functions as a FAQ database that then connects to customer service has helped us resolve those common customer issues that aren’t big enough for someone to seek out help via email or phone — which I’d say is most issues. We saw so many people leave the site at a certain point, and we found out they were confused as to why they needed to provide additional information. We addressed that with the chat bot and changed our site to make it clearer, and saw a 6% uptick in the number of subscribers from that change alone.
Matthew Meier, Founder/Director of MaxTour:
I am always tweaking the UX of our website, and the biggest impact that I have been able to achieve is to add a live chat to it. Our guests love the chance to get immediate answers to their questions, and the chance for us to chat with potential customers in real-time is priceless. We have seen a nice increase in our conversion rate since adding live chat to our website.
Jessica Rose, Chief Executive Officer of Copper H2O:
We are a 100% female run e-commerce social enterprise in the health and wellness industry, which we founded in 2015. Based on our experience, our best UX improvement has been implementing a real-time chat window. Our comparison of the data before and after showed that being available to our readers to answers questions immediately over chat dramatically increased their willingness to browse our site (increasing average page views), increased the time they spent on our site (increasing dwell time), and increased their confidence in our brand and their willingness to make a purchase (increased conversions). In general, we saw a 20% increase in average page views and dwell time and a comparable increase in conversions. Our advice for other companies is to consider implementing chat boxes, but being careful to do so cautiously. Chat boxes are only effective if you have the ability to monitor them and respond to questions in real time. If your resources are strained, it is better not to have a chat box than to have one that cannot be properly staffed as this may negatively impact a user’s perception of your site.
Removing unnecessary content
Bruce Hogan, CEO of SoftwarePundit:
The website UX improvement that has brought the greatest benefit has been removing unnecessary form fields. In the checkout flow, this could mean removing an unnecessary username field, email field, or any other field that is not 100% necessary to complete the transaction. In terms of impact, this UX change can increase conversion by up to 5%. For an ecommerce website, this translates to a 5% overall increase in sales.
Alexander Porter, Marketing Manager at SearchItLocal:
We were noticing a lack of conversions through our header contact forms and lead magnets. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we simplified all service page headers – replacing complex images with single colours.
We understood that our site visitors had one goal – find out more.
Was the imagery in the banner helping them achieve this goal? No. If anything it was a hindrance, getting in the way of their search for information.
The change from images of our team to a simple green background was a noticeable rise in leads with above the fold lead magnets more than doubling the number of email addresses captured from February 1st to March 1st.
We’ve continued to see an increase in leads since that time.
For us the lesson was a valuable (but simple) one – forget about anything that makes the site visitor’s journey more complex.
Cutting back on visuals reduced the aesthetic impact of our site – but increased the simplicity in which people could find what they were looking for.
Adhip Ray, the founder of WinSavvy:
I have found that a minimalistic design works best when it comes to getting the audience to convert.
My conversion rate via a pop-up was a meagre 5-10 when my site was littered with related and featured posts as well as ads some months back.
However, after getting disgusted with the ads, I thought about removing them. While on the process, I thought what if I removed all these related posts stuff from the website too – would it give a better experience for my readers?
Surprisingly it turned out as a resounding yes. Even with the same traffic, the conversions to my list jumped to around 20-25 on a daily basis which is kind of like a 250% increase!
Karr Fager, Owner of Digital Red Panther:
One of my favorite tactics that drastically improves UX on websites is to get rid of unimportant information above the fold. Users don’t have all day to search your website for what they’re looking for. So if you don’t give them an answer (or at least a hint that the answer is coming), then they’ll find another website that does provide an answer. For example, I was working on a fitness website that provided tips on workout equipment to purchase. Upon entering the site, you were hit with a large featured image, an eight sentence introduction paragraph, and a list of articles similar to this one. I was frustrated that the page was not ranking well, so I decided to put a heat map on the page to see how far users were getting down the page. Turns out, they weren’t even getting past the introduction paragraph! I scrapped everything above the fold and only left the page’s title and a short two sentence introduction. It went from page three on Google to ranking #2 overall. This probably had to do with the fact that bounce rate and time on page numbers improved drastically.
Kevin Miller, Founder and CEO, The Word Counter:
Honestly – we eliminated most of the explanatory text, and put our widget front and center. We count words (and do grammar, etc), so we put the word counter up front and built everything around it. People don’t need an explanation – they want the widget, and we give it to them.
Adding a CTA and internal links
Saijo George, founder of tl;dr Marketing:
One of the best things that we did was adding key CTA to the footer on mobile devices, universally CTR went up from 3%-5% across all the sites.
I can’t share the client sites but here is a sample image from here. In our case we had it sticky by default, no need for a click.
Eulises Quintero, Content Manager at TITOMA:
We improved the right-hand sidebar of our blog posts. There are five specific posts that we want to drive as much traffic as possible to, at first we added simple text links to each one, but it wasn’t working as we wanted it to. So, we decided to turn them into clickable buttons that would change color when people would hover over them, that did the trick.
After doing that simple change, we saw an increase in the traffic to those five posts, and our engagement metrics also increased. A simple but effective change.
Michelle Symonds, Founder & Managing Director of Ditto Digital:
We wanted to increase conversions and reduce Bounce Rate so we added all of our services to the home page in 2 separate grids of 3 columns and 2 rows. These clearly highlighted each service we provide with a short description of the service and a clear button as a call-to-action. They were much more effective than just a menu item and did result in a much lower Bounce Rate and higher conversion rate. As an added bonus the extra content on the home page also boosted our organic rankings.
Alexandra Marin, Co-founder & Director of Design of CodeCrew:
For us it was as easy as adding a ‘Give us a call’ button in the hero of our homepage. It increased conversions from 2.2% to 3.4% of interested leads that we get to talk to. It’s been quite impressive honestly. Not sure if it’s that added level of comfort that you’re a real business or something else, but it helped massively.
Nikola Roza, SEO for the Poor and Determined:
I added links in my footer. I used to detest footer links because I thought they’re dead weight for a website. I read about Google’s patent that evaluates links on how likely they’re to be clicked, and I thought no one clicks on footer links- they’re useless. And they steal link equity from real links in the menu and article body Well, I was wrong and am happy to admit it.
A few months ago I added a few well-chosen links to my footer. These are links to my blog categories, plus a few links to my most important money pages. I’m happy to say my rankings have significantly improved across the board, but especially for keywords from the posts I added to my footer area.
Did that positive change happen just because I changed my footer area?I don’t know? But it definitely helped. As a nice bonus, I also experienced a decent decrease in bounce rate and increase in average dwell time.
So, I guess (some) people do click on those footer links.
Making less steps on the website
Matt Heyes, SEO Manager at Backpacker Job Board: NZ:
As a job board, we live and die on user generated content. Here at Backpacker Job Board, due to legacy issues, all of our content submission forms had a confirmation page. At this stage, the user could review their content and go back and edit their submission. This had always felt like a cumbersome and somewhat irritating workflow. Employers posting job vacancies already spend plenty of time crafting a quality advertisement. When it comes to posting their ad, they want the process to be smooth and speedy. For a 4 week period, we trialed removing these confirmation pages. As a result, employers only need to submit their job ad once and are then redirected to their account dashboard.
At the end of this test period, we measured employers’ abandon rate had dropped from 9% to 1.4%. What’s more, since the rollout of the new workflow, content submissions from members has increased from an average of 1.8 items to 3.1 content submissions per member.
Randy VanderVaate, President and CEO of Funeral Funds:
We changed the online quoting system on our website. We made this change to understand our online visitors’ needs better and to respond to that need.
We know that many people are wary of giving out their personal information online. With that in mind, we provide our website visitors with the option to get an instant quote without giving any personal information.
The people who do give their personal information have higher purchasing intent, and we have a better chance of converting a website visitor into a sale.
This user experience improvement allows us to get quality leads, and we noticed our conversion rate improved dramatically after this user experience improvement.
Making your important content more visible
Simon Ensor, Founder & Managing Director of Catchworks:
Increase your font size! We’ve fallen into this trap before and instantly seen improvements after increasing the font size to the point where it felt weirdly large. You have to remember the quantity of users on mobile devices and using multiple tabs/windows on second screens. A larger font size, especially for content heavy sites, makes the information far more digestible. We immediately saw a boost in almost all of our user and usage metrics from average time spent on page, to a reduced bounce rate and better user flow to conversion pages.
Mark Webster, Co-Founder of Authority Hacker:
We’re constantly working on our UX design to boost conversion, improve visitor satisfaction and increase performance. There are a couple of things we’ve implemented to great success, but if I were to pick one, it would be the following:
Introduction of a TL;DR box. TL;DR, or To long; didn’t read, boxes are essentially there to summarize the article in a small snippet. These have proven to be highly successful in boosting our conversion rates for our review articles. There are people who come to simply find the best option without the in-depth analysis and this box serves that purpose. It highlights the key points they need to know without digging through the article and it helps them make a quick, informed decision in the least amount of time possible.
By including this box at the top of our review articles, we’ve seen conversion rates go up across the board and had great feedback from some of our visitors.
If you’re looking for a quick win, this is it!
Jeff Moriarty, Marketing Manager at tanzanitejewelrydesigns.com:
One the best UX changes to our website was adding the “Customer Also Viewed” section to our product pages. Overnight we saw a reduction in product page bounce rates, especially from visitors coming from Google Shopping. Instead of landing on the page with nowhere else to go, this gives the visitor other options to what they are in search of. All it took was adding an app to the site, and 5 minutes later it was live. One of the easiest and most performance improving changes we made.
Improving the navigation on the website
Eric Siemek, Director of Search at Youtech:
One area of UX we changed on our site was the navigation. We simplified the navigation of our website so users can fund exactly what they were looking for without having to go into subfolders. After doing this we noticed that the CTR of the site started to go up and we started to get more conversions since the bounce rate was starting to decrease. People were definitely finding what they wanted faster and it was leading to high results for us!
Brandon DiCroce,Founder of Fairway Approach:
Creating dedicated Silos for our content has proven to be the most valuable UX improvement we’ve made to our site. Having silos that easily allow users to navigate to specific categories and subcategories creates a genuinely simple user experience, and lets Google know how to evaluate pages accordingly. Creating silos has directly improved our rankings on Google.
Adding Video to your textual content
Itamar Blauer, SEO Consultant:
For one client, we found that embedding tailored videos on service pages had massively increased engagement metrics, as well as seeing a sustained increase in rankings within three months.
The purpose of including videos is that it engages users more, thus enhancing their experience (especially as many people don’t like reading). Videos are increasingly becoming more important to marketers, webmasters, and users alike. Ensuring that web visitors have a way to easily digest information makes it incredibly potent for them to remain on the site and convert.
For ranking purposes, videos are great because they add more weight to the page, and it is something that can help differentiate two similar pieces of content.
Once you start receiving traffic, no matter if it’s organic or not, you will be able to test different UX tactics. Luckily, there are a lot which will help you both with rankings (traffic) and conversions; one of them being page load speed improvement, but be aware that in some cases it might possibly hurt your rankings. Still, sometimes even less traffic might mean more conversions or more revenue and that’s why it’s so important to test all the changes.