4 Usability Principles That Make Visitors Stick and Boost Your SEO

· Marketing,Digital Marketing

Look at your website and social media channels, do they encourage your visitors to stay? If your answer is no, you’re not only losing your customers, you’re running your search engine optimization (SEO) as well.

One of the important factors that affect SEO ranking is user experience (online and offline). Today, SEO has become more important than ever – Google (and other search engines) want to serve up content that suits the user’s needs.

So, if you want to develop and proper and effective digital marketing strategies, you should follow these 4 principles:

1. Don’t make your visitors think.

According to Steve Krug, a leading usability expert who has consulted for Apple and Bloomberg, the first law of usability is “Don’t Make Me Think” (which is also the title of his book). It’s not “nothing important should ever be more than two clicks away” or “speak the user’s language” or “be consistent”. It’s much more fundamental than that.

It will bother many of your visitors. They're not fully focused on your site because they may be thinking about what to cook for dinner, or on their to-do list for the next mission. So, to make them take the action they want to take, you need to make it very simple for them: don't make them hunt through a menu or sidebar to find the relevant link.

Always remember to test your website to ensure it’s delivering great user experience. Don’t make assumptions based on what the 'average user' might want: there is no such thing.

2. Leave a good impression in 5 seconds.

Is your website good and effective enough to leave an impression on your visitors within 5 seconds? According to Donald Miller, the founder of StoryBrand, there is a test called “The Grunt Test” for this. It takes less than a minute and involves just three questions.

First, show your website to someone (who’s never seen it before) for five seconds, then close your laptop. Then, ask them these three questions:

  • What does my organization offer? 
  • How will it make your life better? 
  • What do you need to do to buy (or to get started)?

Can users do what they need to do within five seconds of arriving on your website? If not, they’ll hit the back button.

3. Meet users’ needs.

Does your website meet users’ needs? This normally will mean it’s highly related to their query and it answers their question or lets them do what they set out to do.

Google has a specific rating scale for this, which focuses particularly on mobile users, so it’s crucial that you make sure your site is optimized for them in particular. If your site doesn’t fulfill user’s needs (i.e. if they’re likely to return to search results to check out other sites instead), then you won’t rank very highly on this scale.

With usability, it’s easy to end up focusing on how your site functions for desktop users (as you’re likely to be doing all your testing and tweaking on a computer). Mobile usability is crucially important, though, and Google’s focus on this when addressing “user needs” reflects its broader move toward mobile-first indexing.

4. KISS – Keep it short and simple.

Most of the time, good design is a simple design. Your site doesn’t need to be complex and flashy in order to impress. The acronym “KISS” stands for “Keep it Short and Simple”. It means that your site should be easy to understand.

That could include things like:

  • Using clear navigation labels. 
  • Using standard-looking icons. 
  • Writing in a concise, straightforward way. 
  • Minimizing 'clutter' – elements on your site that aren’t necessary.

After all, it’s not that hard to create a successful site right? By following these 4 principles, you’ll be ensuring that people can quickly see what you do, recognize that they’re in the right place to get what they want or need, and take the appropriate action based on that … such as purchasing from you.