The relationship between usability, user experience and SEO

504 504 ME. Media Engineering: Een Full Service Web Agency in Haarlem

Usability and user experience in SEO play an important role. By optimizing your website for these two factors, you also improve your ranking in Google.

What is usability?

Usability is about user-friendly design. It means that users can quickly see how the website works, where they can find information and that they did not encounter any errors.

Questions for this include: Does the search function well? The menu is organized? The website is intuitive to use? it loads fast enough?


A complex, cluttered website converts worse. So it’s important to pay sufficient attention to the usability. People are notoriously impatient on the web, so if something does not work they are good left quickly.

In addition to avoiding mistakes you also have to deal with the expectations of your users. Links belong in a text underlined or a different color. A logo links back to the homepage. A navigation menu at the top of the page and otherwise on the left. By meeting those expectations you create using the website simple.

Also, responsive design is an important aspect of usability. We view websites increasingly through our smartphone or tablet and it’s annoying when a site is not working properly. Not for nothing is one of the responsiveness of Google ranking factors.

Want to know how your website ranks on usability? Check again this checklist, or this one in Dutch.

And what does user experience?

User Experience, or UX, is about how the user experiences the website. They should do something about it and the process (a purchase or request) should be nice.

Questions you can ask this example: Get customer feedback quickly? We offer them valuable content? Matches our tone of voice in the audience?

Good usability contributes to a good user experience. It is not the same: a site can be perfectly functional, but ugly designed and totally appropriate for the target audience.

The term “UX Design” is increasing – we have also previously written about. It means that a website is designed with the end user in mind. Because user experience here is linked to design, it may seem like it’s mostly ‘s domain of the web designer. But that is a fallacy.

The web designer creates good usability. But UX is wider than that: it is also about good content, fast responses to questions or links to additional information. There is no one-size-fits-all design for user experience. You must take into account with your audiences. What experiences they have, at what times they visit your site, what are their expectations?


Usability is elke handeling zo eenvoudig en effectief mogelijk maken. User experience is zorgen dat die handeling zinvol en prettig is.


What does this have to do with SEO?

A few years ago, SEO was very simple. Many keywords and lots of backlinks, then you came a long way.

Nowadays you have to do it for a good ranking and algorithms have become more complex. SEO is not more of a way to enable search engines satisfied, but a way to allow the user satisfaction. This is well illustrated by a number of major updates to the Google algorithm in recent years:

  • Pigeon update. Local search results are better displayed.
  • HTTPS / SSL update. Sites with a secure connection to get a higher ranking.
  • Mobile update. Responsive websites get higher in search results for searches on mobile / tablet.
  • Quality update. Higher quality websites get higher in the rankings.

These are just a few examples of the dozens of updates that Google is undertaking every year. And each update emphasizes the importance of user experience: a Web site ranks well when he meets the user’s search query. With good, useful information and a secure website that can be used on any platform.

“Many people believethat SEO is simply optimizing a website for search engines. In reality, SEO is optimizing a website for people who use search engines.”

And the factors with the greatest impact on the rankings in Google have everything to do with the user: loading rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, how many backlinks you have …

A good ranking so has everything to do with usability and user experience.

If your site is slow or it is difficult to navigate, visitors will quickly click away. This is not only bad for your bounce rate, but also for visitors, because they probably will not come back.

Low quality content means that users will return to the search results, looking for another website that they do more to help. This applies to the text on your homepage, but also think of your blog if you write readers will quickly click away these rarely updated or no useful articles.

Backlinks, just about the most important ranking factor, you get mostly by offering something valuable. Whether it’s funny or informative, people must have something. And ‘backlink farms’ of the past who gave you hundreds of links for a few euros, which no longer work. Only backlinks from trusted sites yet really count them.

Do something for SEO = do something for your customers

It’s that simple really. See SEO as part of your customer service. You help people to valuable content, you help them find content easily, helps them to easily use your website. Since the search engines your customers and happy.