7 min read

Why UX is the New SEO

Desi Velikova

In today’s digital landscape, the symbiosis between SEO and User Experience (UX) is paramount. Why? Because the way a user interacts with a website influences how search engines perceive its value.

Certainly, keywords, metadata, backlinks, and website authority will continue to be vital SEO components. However, the significance of a website’s UX has become just as important.

The underlying reason is straightforward: the objective of a search engine is to provide users with the most relevant and high-quality results. These results encompass not only content quality but also the ease and satisfaction derived from using a website.

Think of it like running a cheese shop – wouldn’t you prefer to collaborate with suppliers who offer top-tier cheese, ensuring that your customers are satisfied and keep returning?

Additionally, with the surge of sophisticated AI algorithms and mass content production, industry experts are increasingly convinced that UX now plays an even more pivotal role in determining a website’s quality. This is a shift from traditional metrics, where the focus was primarily on content and keywords. In this evolving landscape, UX elements such as site speed, mobile responsiveness, and intuitive navigation are becoming indispensable factors in SEO rankings.

Core Web Vitals and SEO

To codify the influence of UX, Google rolled out metrics known as Core Web Vitals.

According to Google’s own website, “core Web Vitals is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page. We highly recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally.”

What are the main Core Web Vitals?

These include Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

  • LCP: Measures the loading performance. To offer good user experience, LCP should occur within the first 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load.
  • FID: Quantifies interactivity. Pages should aim for an FID of less than 100 milliseconds to make sure users can interact with your site almost instantaneously.
  • CLS: Assesses the visual stability of your page. Pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1 to avoid jarring layout shifts.

Key UX Metrics for Optimal SEO Performance

Mobile Friendliness

Google has adopted mobile-first indexing, which means it predominantly uses the mobile version of a site for ranking and indexing. The user interface and experience on mobile can dramatically influence your SEO standing.

Page Speed and Load Time

Slow load times increase bounce rates and decrease the time on site, both behavioral metrics that search engines interpret as signs of a poor user experience. Google recommends a page load speed of under two seconds.

User Behavior and SERP

When a user quickly leaves your website (pogo-sticking) after clicking through from a search engine results page (SERP), search engines take it as a signal that your site did not satisfy the user query and will adjust the rankings accordingly.

Factors that make the SEO cut include:

  • Dwell Time: The duration between the click-through to your site and when the user clicks back to the search results.
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors who exit after just a taste of one page.
  • User Flow: Mapping where users flutter to, post landing on your site.
  • Pages Per Session: The average pages a user digests in a single visit.

Content Structure and On-Page Elements

Headers, bullets, and structure not only make your content easier to digest for humans, but they also allow search engine algorithms to understand the hierarchy and relevance of the information on the page better.

Pro tip: Utilise paraphrasing tools to gracefully integrate keywords, avoiding content saturation.

Clear Information Architecture

A website’s architecture should be intuitive. Adopt a flat hierarchy, ensuring pages are just a few clicks away from the home page. Proper internal linking not only aids user navigation but helps distribute page authority and guide search engine crawlers.

Internal Linking

Internal linking entails establishing hyperlinks between different pages within the same website, serving multiple purposes. It aids the page authority, improves user navigation, and assists search engine algorithms in understanding the hierarchical structure of the site. When executed strategically, cross-linking can substantially reduce bounce rates and prolong the duration a user spends interacting with your website. As a result, it boosts user interaction by showing related content and strengthens the website’s overall SEO performance.

Site Search Behaviour

Monitor what users are searching for within your website. This can offer insights into user intent and whether the navigation and information architecture are meeting user needs. Poor site search behaviour can indicate that users can’t find what they need, which can eventually lead to higher bounce rates.


Though often overlooked, website accessibility for users with disabilities can indirectly influence SEO. Search engines like inclusivity; thus, an accessible site with proper HTML tags, alt text for images, and accessible forms can send positive signals to search engines.

Multimedia Engagement

Track how users interact with videos, infographics, or slide decks on your site. High interaction rates can be indicative of good UX, which can boost your SEO rankings.

Error Tracking

Monitoring and fixing 404 errors, broken links, or any other error messages are essential for both UX and SEO. Errors provide a poor user experience and can hinder search engine crawlers.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

While technically a SERP metric, CTR can indicate how compelling your meta titles and descriptions appear to potential visitors. A higher CTR usually suggests that users find your listing relevant, which can positively influence rankings.

HTTPS Security

While perhaps a given for most modern sites, it’s important to note that Google does consider HTTPS a ranking factor, in addition to being a fundamental aspect of user trust and safety.

The Bottom Line

Marrying SEO and UX isn’t just a strategy. It’s about ensuring that every visitor enjoys an optimal experience, signalling to search engines that your site is the go-to place for quality and value. Embrace the blend of SEO and UX, and watch your website become the place to be for your industry.

Here’s to a web that looks as good as it feels! 🚀🌐