If you are presenting a lot of copy, you need to make it as digestible and easy to read as possible. Studies suggest that content formatting directly affects engagement. NN Group found that 70% of people looked at lists with bullet points, whilst 55% looked at lists without bullet points. Other formatting techniques that create a more engaging reading experience include:
- Short paragraphs
- Short sentences (AIO/SEO suggests keeping max. 25% of sentences shorter than 20 words)
- Images and/or videos
- Icons (homepages, landing pages, product pages)
Finding a Balance Between SEO and User Experience: an Example
Despite the overlap, UX and SEO can often be at odds with one another when designing an eCommerce site. Consider a situation where you want to include a few hundred words of keyword-rich copy on your category page above your products.
Whilst this may help with the page’s ranking, it also could damage your site’s user experience. Namely, too much copy means your customers may have to do a lot of scrolling (especially on mobile devices) to get to your products. The principles of good UX are pulling in one direction and SEO concerns are pulling in another.
Understanding this conflict will help you find a solution that caters for both. In this instance, you may choose to use an FAQ accordion section underneath the products and only a short introduction above. This will allow you to include enough informational copy to help your page rank without distracting users from the product listings.
A survey by Clutch found that simple navigation is the single most important feature on any website for users, with 94% of respondents highlighting this as a priority. For eCommerce businesses, this means that your site needs to flow effortlessly between your:
Homepage → Category pages → Product Pages → Shopping Cart → Checkout Process
This journey should be logical and linear. You must guide your customers through your site using responsive menus, simple product feeds, descriptive CTA buttons, and unfussy form fields. In UX terms, good website navigation is simple and intuitive, making it easy for users to find exactly what they are looking for
Your site architecture provides both a roadmap for search engines and affects the experience your customers have on your site. This means that many of the features that contribute to “good” website navigation from the user’s perspective apply to search engines.
Clear and simple website navigation will allow crawlers to find and index pages accurately. Your strategic pages (homepage, category pages, product pages) must be easy to access through the internal link structure of your site. This will ensure that they are given the most weight in the SERP and rank for relevant searches.
An SEO Knock-on Effect: Sitelinks
SEO-friendly website navigation can also trigger sitelinks. These are additional hyperlinks to subpages that appear under a particular Google listing, and thus allow your site to occupy extra real estate on the SERP.
We know that site architecture is a significant factor in deciding whether you get sitelinks because Google has said so:
“We only show sitelinks for results when we think they’ll be useful to the user. If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don’t think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them.”