Usability—the new SEO explained.
As mentioned in the first chapter, the trust and relevancy of sites has become increasingly important for Google. Market share for mobile and tablet Internet users skyrocketed to over 29% in 2015—to keep search a good experience for all users, Google has started to give preference to sites providing a good user experience for users on all devices. Usability has taken an increased importance in the SEO industry as a result, as SEO pundits found you can get an advantage by making your site easy to use
For example, let’s say a mobile user is searching for late night pizza delivery in Los Angeles. One local business has a site with a large amount of backlinks but no special support for mobile users, it’s difficult for the user to navigate around the site because it doesn’t automatically ‘fit’ to the screen, and the navigation text is small and hard to use on a touch screen.
Another competing local business has low amounts of backlinks, but good support for mobile users. Its design fits perfectly to the screen and has special navigation for mobile users, making it easy to get around. In many cases, the second site will rank higher than the first, for mobile users. This is just one example of how usability can have a significant impact on your rankings.
While a term like ‘usability’ can understandably seem a little vague, let’s look at practical steps to improve your usability and the SEO strength of your sit
Make your site accessible for all devices
Make your site accessible and easy for all users: desktop, mobile and tablet. The simple way to do this is to make sure your site is responsive, which means it automatically resizes across all devices and has mobile-friendly navigation for mobile users. Mobile support is covered in more detail in Bonus Chapter 2 in the Mobile SEO Update section, but you can enter your site into the below tool to quickly see if Google registers your site as ‘mobile friendly’. Mobile friendly Test.
Increase your content quality.
Gone are the days of hiring a bunch of writers in India to bulk out the content on your site. It needs to be proofread and edited, and the more ‘sticky’ you make your content, the better result you will get. If you provide compelling content, users will spend more time on your site and are less likely to ‘bounce’ back to the search results. Users will also be much more likely to share your content. Google will see this and give your rankings a boost.
There’s a surprisingly high amount of sites with dodgy code, difficult for both search engines and Internet browsers to read. If there are HTML code errors in your site, which means, if it hasn’t been coded according to industry best practices, it’s possible your design will break when your site is viewed on different browsers, or even worse, confuse search engines when they come along and look at your site. Run your site through the below tool and ask your web developer to fix any errors.