User experience is a big deal when it comes to search engine rankings and overall online marketing. Not only is the user experience what Google is emphasizing when it comes to ranking websites (after all, bounce rate, content quality, and loading speed are factors search engines considered that are also related to the user experience). If you're not sure if your website has a great user experience, or want to do something more to make it better, then consider the following ways to improve, or to create, a great user experience.
Make Pages for Users, Not for Search Engines
For the most part, the more pages your website has, the better. However, something we come across (especially on the job boards) is the need for article spinning or for a ton of articles around a ton, albeit similar, keywords. It's so obvious that these people are making pages for the search engines, not for users. Sure, maybe some of them don't care about the users, and merely want to drive traffic to their websites so they can make money through ad revenue. But, few businesses make money through ad revenue, and even those that do know they need to provide quality content and make users happy in order to stay in business.
The point is, if you want your website to have an awesome user experience, create pages for them and their needs. Don't simply create pages around the keywords you want to rank for, but ensure that those pages actually have something worth reading. Don't know what we mean about a page meant for the search engines rather than the user? Here are two examples:
Notice how these two pages are keyword rich, but don't provide anything of value.
Keep Links at a Reasonable Level, and Link to Something Useful
Yes, "reasonable level" is open to debate. But, what's considered an unreasonable number of links is less so. Below's an example of an unreasonable amount of links, with the site's name blacked out for privacy purposes:
Almost every single sentence in this article has at least one hyperlink, with some things being hyperlinked multiple times (Does Berkshire Hathaway really need that many inbound links from you?). On top of that, some of these hyperlinks are linked to some useless websites! For example, the links for Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama, each link to the Wikipedia page of the respective state. Does the audience really need an explanation of what Virginia and North Carolina are? Do those things really need a link, and if so, isn't there something more useful to link to?
Because there are so many hyperlinks, half the text is in a different color, which doesn't make the article easy to read, which doesn't create a great user experience. On top of that, some of these links aren't even worth clicking on, which also hurts the user experience because no person reading this article wants a tangent on the complete history of the state of Virginia. To improve and to create a good user experience, be reasonable about your hyperlinks, both in the number and in what you link to.
Remove All those Black Hat SEO Tricks
Hiding keywords, keyword stuffing, thin content, bolding keywords, link spamming. Stop doing all of that. Remove them from your website if you have done it before. Not only do these tricks make the search engines angry, but they aren't great for the user experience. How often do you want to read a keyword stuffed page or article, like the one below:
Just like the first examples, it's keyword rich, but it doesn't say a whole lot about hotels in Madrid. Keyword stuffing, and all these other techniques, are simply designed to game the search engines and to bring in traffic. A user doesn't want to read this, and no user would consider this content a relevant result, even if the person was searching for a "central Madrid hotel" or "hotels in Madrid." The search engines want to deliver results that are relevant and pleasing for the user. Gaming them with these black hat tactics does neither, and will only work against you.
Overall, your website is the cornerstone to your online marketing. If it looks horrible, or reads horribly, or navigates horribly, you've failed at your online marketing and you won't get any customers. It's much like having a messy storefront on a street corner, or blurry pictures on your brochures, or stock disorganized on your shelves. None of that offers a great experience for the user or the potential customer. Think of your website in the same fashion.