Website User Experience Optimization: The Beginner’s Guide (2021)

by Nikita Shevchenko

In this guide I am gonna show you how to improve your website user experience.

Specifically, you will learn:

  • What website UX is
  • Why it is important for SEO
  • What makes a good website user experience
  • How it can improve your website rankings
  • and much more

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.



The Basics of Website User Experience

Website user experience plays a key role in your online business success.

In fact, it is so important nowadays that it can no longer be ignored.

It would not be an exaggeration if I say that your company’s future may depend on your website UX.

Let’s find out what user experience actually is and why it is so important these days.

What is Website User Experience?

Website User experience, or UX, is the overall quality of the experience people gain when visiting a website.

Some of the most important website UX elements are dwell time, bounce rate, organic CTR, and core web vitals.

It is desirable that website visitors get a good user experience that may potentially lead to higher website rankings, new customer acquisition, and revenue growth.

website user experience optimization

Why is User Experience Important?

There is a big number of reasons why you should consider improving your website UX. Among them are:

  • Increased usability of a website
  • Elevated user satisfaction level
  • Decreased business and website maintenance cost (fewer problems require less money spent)
  • Traffic growth because of the number of returned visitors
  • Revenue growth due to increased user satisfaction level and the number of new referrals
  • And lots more

User Experience Stats

Below are the updated statistics that prove how important website UX can be for you business:

  • 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. (Source)
  • 68% of users leave a site because of poor design. (Source)
  • Nearly 75% of users prefer a mobile-friendly site. (Source)
  • About 97% of sites fail because of bad UX designs. (Source)
  • Close to 44% of online shoppers tell a friend about a bad online experience. (Source)

Now when you realized how important website UX actually is, it is time to take a look at some of the biggest user experience signals that will shape your website success.

The Most Important Elements of the Website UX

In this section, you will see some of the most crucial elements of the good website user experience.

You will also learn some of the latest SEO techniques that will help you optimize your website for these vital UX signals.

Let’s begin.

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are a group of specific factors that Google considers important for your website user experience. They consist of three big elements: largest contentful paint, cumulative layout shift, and first input delay.

You can see your Core Web Vitals stats if you head to the “enhancement” section of the Google Search Console.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP is how much time it takes for a web user to see the majority of the content on a webpage.

It is important to make sure that the user sees as much as possible in the shortest period of time.

You can use you Google Search Console account to check the data related to LCP.

Note: GSC hooks you up with this kind of data only when your site has some amount of traffic.

gsc core web vitals not enough data Website User Experience

With GSC help, you will be able to analyze LCP data across your entire website.

You should aim for the “good” mark in the test. And the best way to achieve it is to make your webpages load LCP within 2.5 seconds.

How do you do it?

  • Use speed-optimized web hosting. Great web hosting alone will help your website load much faster and improve your Google rankings. I recommend you try SiteGround (about 4$/month)
  • Get rid of useless third-party scripts. They may slow down your website and decrease overall website UX.
  • Minify CSS. Cluttered CSS may have a significant impact on the LCP. Modern WordPress themes do not have this issue. (Later in this post, I will tell you which theme I use)
  • Leverage lazy loading. This technology will allow you to show your visitors everything within their field of view first and load the rest of the webpage later. (It is a much better practice rather than just loading the entire webpage at the same time) Special plugins such as a3 Lazy Load will do the job.

Now, let’s get to the second core element.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS measure the degree of a webpage layout stability as it loads on the user’s screen.

In other words, the elements on the webpage should not shift as it loads.

Each element should have its own place and be stable so that the user does not perform any unnecessary actions (clicking the wrong link or scroll past the article).

To make sure that your website CLS is all fine, you can:

  • Use a reliable WordPress theme
  • Set precise dimensions for all website media (images, videos, GIFs, etc.)
  • Use Ads wisely and not allowing them to interfere with a positive user experience.

Now, let’s take a look at the final core element.

First Input Delay (FID)

FID is the amount of time it takes a user to perform any action on your website.

The action can be scrolling down the page, clicking a link, using website’s menu, and so on.

FID measurement is especially important for the webpages that include sign up forms and other sorts of form the users need to fill in.

Again, there is a set of best practices you can follow to assure your FID is okay:

  • Remove unnecessary elements and third-party plugins
  • Minimize JavaScript
  • Leverage browser caching technology

Now when we are done with Google’s Core Web Vitals it is time to move on to the next important website user experience signal – Pogo Sticking.

Pogo sticking

This term is used to describe a process when the web user visits several pages in a row in order to find relevant information.

Let’s say you want to start intermittent fasting routine.

You type the search query and begin to look for the best article available.

You click on the first result, it is a mess, you leave the website and move on to the next article, it is no better, so you continue your journey until you finally find what you were looking for. This is pogo sticking!

Pogo sticking is a huge signal because it tells Google whether the users are satisfied or not.

Needless to say, if you want to rank high, you’d better make them happy.

The question is:

How to prevent people from Pogo Sticking?

  • Short and clear introduction. It will help hook the user’s attention and make them want to scroll down the page.
  • Table of contents. This article element works great on impatient users who want their answers now.
  • User intent. Your article should represent the core information relevant to the search query.
  • Internal linking. Not only is it good for On-Page SEO, it is also great for the UX.
  • Topic coverage. You should make sure that you cover almost everything there is to cover about a certain topic. Obviously, it it easier to work with medium-tale keywords.
  • Eye-grabbing elements and images. They keep the visitors on the page and this is exactly what we are aiming for here.

Let’s now get to the next important signal.

Dwell Time

Dwell time is the time the user spends on a webpage after they have clicked the link on the search page and before returning to that same SERP page.

In other words, it is the amount of time the user stays on the webpage.

Obviously, you want people to stick to your website for good. This will send a strong signal to Google that your website is worth high rankings.

And if the Dwell Time is not long enough you will see a significant drop in rankings.

SHORT DWELL TIME QUALS LOWER RANKINGS Website User Experience

You probably wonder:

How to increase dwell time on website?

  • Use the best copywriting techniques
  • Write longer pieces of content (>1800 words)
  • Use lots of images
  • Embed YouTube videos (this works like a charm!)
  • Encourage commenting (Some of us really like to read other people’s comments:))

Let’s move on the next important factor – Bounce Rate.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that leave a website without taking any action i.e. scrolling down the page, clicking on a link, filling out a form, or purchasing a product/service.

It is another user experience key signals that plays a big role in your website success.

Bounce rate is one of the most important Google ranking factors and user experience signals.

High bounce rate: decreased conversion rate, fewer pageviews, and lower rankings.

Low bounce rate: increased conversion rate, more pageviews, and higher rankings.

So the question is:

How to reduce bounce rate on website?

Step #1: Use jump links. These little helpers can slash your website bounce rate like crazy. Create and put them at the beginning of a blog post and see the difference.

For example, I have added this table of contents to my blogging guide and saw a considerable bounce rate reduction.

blog post table of contents with jump links Website User Experience

Step #2: Increase the conversion rate. Check out this conversion rate guide. It lists 40 actionable tips you can do right now to reduce bounce rate and double(or even triple!) conversions on your website.

Step #3: Use clear CTAs. Most of the low-quality content on the web lack plain and simple calls-to-action. If used properly, they can decrease the bounce rate on a website dramatically.

For example I use this simple call-to-action block at the end of my posts:

in post cta Website User Experience

Let’s head over to another important UX factor – Organic CTR.

Organic Click-through-rate (CTR)

Organic click-through-rate, or CTR, is the percentage of web users that click on a search result in the SERP. It is determined by a number of factors such as keyword match, search intent match, brand recognition, ranking position, as well as the article’s title and description.

If you are able to increase organic CTR you will achieve a couple of notable goals:

  • Website Traffic Growth
  • Higher rankings
  • Increased revenue

Now, you probably ask yourself:

How to Improve My Organic Click-Through-Rate

  • Write catchy headlines. Generic headlines will not move the needle. You need to evoke searchers’ emotions and make them want to click on your webpage.
a great article headline Website User Experience
  • Use benefit-driven article descriptions. They will help grab searchers’ attention and lead to more clicks.
article headline and description Website User Experience
  • Add numbers, parentheses, and brackets in your title tag. They will certainly make your headlines more appealing and result in an organic CTR increase.
number in the article title Website User Experience

Now, let’s talk about the last important website user experience signal: Search Intent.

User Search Intent

Search Intent, or User intent, is the main reason why the user types in certain query in the search bar.

  • Does the user want to make a purchase?
  • Does the user want to learn more about the topic?
  • Does the user want to find a quick answer?

You got the idea.

Now, why is search intent so important in SEO and website user experience?

Well, Google’s main job is to provide their users with the most relevant information according to the users’ search queries.

Simply put, Google want to show the searcher exactly what they are looking for and make the satisfied.

So why should it bother you?

Because if your webpage does not match with the user search intent, it will never rank high on Google.

How to Optimize for User Search Intent

  • First, you need to categorize your blog post. What type of content does it present? Is it informational, navigational, commercial, or transactional? The different categories will require different content marketing efforts.
  • Next, analyze the top search results. This will give you a clear idea about what kinds of articles Google wants to see on top.
  • Last, make your content even better by adding more helpful information and removing unnecessary fluff.

This section covered the most important website user experience signals that matter most nowadays.

Now, it is time to see how we can take your website UX to the next level. We will use some of the best techniques and strategies industry experts use all the time.

How to Improve Your Website UX (Best Practices)

In this chapter, you will learn about the most actionable tips you can try out on your website today.

Follow these steps and you will see a considerable improvement of your website UX.

Let’s dive right in!

Try Clean and Simple Website Design

Website design is a major factor that can result in your the overall user satisfaction level.

People are visual creatures and they want to see something appealing especially when it comes to websites.

There are just so many blogs on the web right now that you can’t afford yourself to not stand out.

There two things that improve website user experience like crazy:

  • Content
  • Website Design

It takes a lot of time and effort to master the first one however we can improve out website design in a matter of minutes nowadays.

As you can see my blog is very clean and minimalistic. I use GeneratePress WordPress theme.

generatepress themes Website User Experience

The reasons?

  • It is ultra-fast and secure.
  • It is visually simple and therefore good for user experience.
  • You don’t have to be a programmer to make your site look great.
  • It is very affordable.
  • A 24/7 support team is very helpful.

You can use this link to get a 10% discount.

Now, when your website looks great it is time to upgrade it with high-quality content.

produce Helpful and Valuable Content

Website content make or break your SEO efforts. It is what truly matters at the end of the day.

The question is:

How to create content that people and search engines like?

If you want to produce high-quality content that will skyrocket your website user experience there is a 3-step formula you may follow.

Starting with…

Step #1: Do the Research

It would be waste of time to curate an amazing piece of content to only find out that no one really needs it.

So this is our plan:

Type in your topic main keyword in the search bar and see what Google presents you:

keyword top serp results Website User Experience

Visit each of the top 5 pages and find out what types of content resonate best with people and Google.

Create your article structure based on the top 5 articles on the web and move on to the next step.

Step #2: Make it Extremely Helpful

If you want your content rank higher on Google and achieve a more pleasant user experience level you need to give value to the website visitors.

We already created a great article structure based on the top search results and now it is time to power it up with your own voice.

What should you do?

  • Provide readers with unique insights
  • Share your personal experience and knowledge
  • Cover the topic as much as possible
  • Use charts, tables, graphs, bullet points, lists, and other helpful elements

For instance, when I was working on my Local SEO Guide I thought it would be nice to add a simple table that shows the difference between the local and traditional SEO.

It proved to be really useful.

local and general seo differences table Website User Experience

The article is finished, now what?

Move on to the next step and make it really outstanding.

Step #3: Beef it up with visuals and links

As I have already mentioned in this guide, creative visual assets can bring a lot of value in terms of brand recognition, higher search rankings, and website user experience optimization.

Links within the content (inbound and outbound) will give your content additional SEO boost, help you rank higher in search, and keep your visitors on a website.

I personally place at least 10 links in my blog posts:

outbound link to trusted source Website User Experience

Optimize for Mobile Users

It is not a secret that mobile searchers shape the vast majority of online searchers nowadays. (Source)

mobile devices vs desktops Website User Experience

That means that Mobile SEO is no longer an option. It is a must.

Needless to say, a mobile-friendly website is a key factor for user experience optimization.

So how do you optimize your website for mobile?

Use a mobile-friendly WP theme. It will assure that your website looks great on all devices including smartphones, tablets, and computers.

nikitashevchenko blog mobile screen Website User Experience

As I said earlier, I recommend using GeneratePress theme to all of my readers however there are tons of good options on the market and you are free to test each of them by yourself.

As long as your website is mobile-optimized you can begin increasing your website loading speed now.

Increase Website Speed

A faster loading website usually provides better user experience and leads to traffic and revenue growth.

Fortunately, you can increase your website speed by following the simple tips outlined below:

  • Use a reputable hosting provider (Mine is SiteGround)
  • Use a fast-loading WP theme (Mine is GeneratePress)
  • Follow a simple Image SEO ritual.
  • Install a reliable caching plugin.
  • Remove unnecessary plugins and third-party tools.

Now, let’s head over to the next step.

Improve Website Navigation

As mentioned in the second chapter of this guide, it is crucial to entice a visitor to perform a certain action on your website.

Clicking on one of the menu items or links can be one of those actions.

As a rule of thumb, keep your website navigation top menu as simple as possible.

Paralysis by analysis is a real thing so you need to make sure to present only the most important menu items on top.

nikita shevchenko website top navigation menu Website User Experience

You can keep less important pages of your website at the bottom of the page.

nikita shevchenko website bottom menu Website User Experience

Which brings us to the next useful strategy:

Use Smart Interlinking

We have already discussed that interlinks are great for On-Page SEO.

It turns out that they are also can improve your website overall user experience.

Internal links, if placed strategically, can entice website visitors to click on the link and check another page.

This action alone will send Google a strong signal that users are satisfied with your website.

Here is what I recommend you to do:

  • Add 3-5 internal links in your blog posts.
  • Anchor text should fit the title of the page you link to (try to avoid “click here” texts).
  • Mention a benefit the users will get if they click on the link.
article introduction interlink Website User Experience

By following the strategies I outlined in this chapter you will be able to improve your website user experience and keep your blog visitors satisfied.

The next chapter covers a couple of great tools you can use to measure your website UX and set clear goals for your online business success.

Bonus: how to evaluate a website UX

Peter Drucker once said that what gets measured gets improved.

If you want to better your website user experience you have to know its weakest and strongest points.

In this chapter, I will show you how you can use several powerful tools that will uncover the most relevant website UX data that matters most.

Starting with…

Step 1: Analyze the load speed of your website

There are many cool tools you can try to evaluate your website speed. You can choose one the following tools(or even try them all)

  • Google PageSpeed Insights
  • GTmetrix
  • Pingdom
nikitashevchenko.com gtmetrix speed score Website User Experience

They all have one helpful feature – tell you what you can do to increase your website speed.

google pagespeed insights advice Website User Experience

With this data, you will be able hit your goal much faster.

When your finish this step you can move on to the next one.

Step 2: Check The bounce rate and Dwell time

Bounce Rate and Dwell Time are two major website UX signals that are also very important for SEO.

Fortunately, these signals are very easy to track.

Head over to your Google Analytics account and click on the Home section.

The “Bounce Rate” is one of the four sections you can see in the middle of the page.

google analytics bounce rate report Website User Experience

Note: The numbers may vary across different website categories. Bear it in mind, that the average bounce rate for an e-commerce website might show something between 15-50% whereas the numbers for a blog can reach a whopping 90%

That said, your job will be tracking this number and make sure you do your best in order to decrease it.

Next, we can use Google Analytics to check your Dwell Time as well. It is on the right side of the “Bounce Rate” section and it is called Session Duration.

google analytics session duration Website User Experience

Knowing your website loading time, bounce rate, and dwell time is cool.

But what if I tell you that you can go the extra mile and see what the users actually DO on your website?

Stay with me…

Step 3: See what users actually do on your website

Modern online marketers and webmasters can themselves lucky because they can use special tools to see what actions users take on a website.

I am talking about heat maps.

Heat maps are graphical representations of data that show what actions users perform on a website. The actions can be mouse movement, scrolling, clicking, and more.

Heat maps make it easier to understand how users interact with your website.

website heat maps Website User Experience

With all of the potential benefits heat maps can be to webmasters they can also be used for free.

Companies like HotJar, Mousestats, Smartlook, and ClickHeat offer their products for free(though with limited functionality and number of page views).

If you feel that a heat map is something you need a lot in your business consider investing in more premium services such as CrazyEgg or MonkeyTracker.

Step 4: Monitor conversion rate

A business without sales will fail sooner or later.

Mastering conversion rates is a science that takes time and a lot of dedication. I suggest you start by tracking your website conversion rate for each product/service you offer.

This can be done with a help of special tools that you use in your particular business.

In other words, if I run a blog, my main job will be to monitor the basic conversion rates that relate to blogging, they are:

  • Newsletter subscribers
  • Clicks on Affiliate links
  • Ad clicks
  • And alike

And this is it!

Now you know exactly how to do website user experience optimization.


Which strategy are you gonna try first?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

Also, add me on LinkedIn or follow me on Instagram, I share some useful stuff there πŸ˜‰

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