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Google's algorithm takes a website's user experience into account when calculating SEO rank. Find more details and ways to enhance UX here.

So, you are interested in learning how to improve your website's SEO ranking on Google. Luckily, you’ve landed on the right page!

To provide some background, Google announced a Core Algorithm update in 2020 that was set to take place in May 2021. Though the update wasn’t completed globally until the end of August 2021, it’s now in place and actively impacting eCommerce merchants and their SEO rank.

One of the most critical callouts? The importance of a website’s user experience on SEO rankings. Keep on reading to find out what this means to Google’s algorithm and to learn how Groove Commerce helps eCommerce businesses optimize their website’s design to enhance the user experience.

How Google’s Algorithm Affects SEO Rank

Through various internal and external studies, Google has found that users show they prefer and are more likely to convert on sites with a great page experience. These page experience metrics are defined as Core Web Vitals (CWVs) and should be used as guiding principles for creating better website experiences.

Core Web Vitals

Google measures user experience based on the following things that are commonly referred to as the three pillars of CWVs:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint
  2. First Input Delay
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift

You’re probably wondering what these terms refer to. Largest Contentful Paint is the amount of time it takes to render the largest content element when the user requests the URL. First Input Delay measures the time from when a user first interacts with a web page to the time when the browser responds to that interaction. Finally, Cumulative Layout Shift measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift. Check out this Google article for more insights about what each core component means in terms of page performance and SEO.

Core Web Vitals Report

Think of the Core Web Vitals report as an SEO rank report. It shows companies how their pages perform based on real-world user-centric metrics that quantify vital components of the user experience. Google only includes the URLs that are indexed. This means that the URLs shown in this report have real data attached to them.

Implications

Failure to comply and maintain a great user experience can lead to actively lower SEO rankings. Site administrators should implement eCommerce SEO best practices and regularly monitor the three pillars of CWVs.

eCommerce SEO Best Practices

While page experience metrics are an important ranking factor, Google continues to prioritize pages with the best information overall. Creating rich, powerful content that matches user intent should remain the number one priority for site administrators. When you work with Groove Commerce for SEO maintenance, we track Core Web Vitals success along with regular technical maintenance and content upkeep.

Improve User Experience, Increase SEO Ranking

Now that you know why improving the eCommerce user experience and reducing buyer friction impacts Google SEO ranking factors, it’s time to dive into the various ways to create a positive experience for potential customers that land on your site. Remember, Google’s latest algorithm update still prioritizes the pages with the most beneficial and relevant content.

Fix Site Errors

Monitor Google Search Central (one of our favorite SEO ranking tools) to see recommendations on how to improve your web pages. Be sure to resolve any broken links and 404 errors, as those are a top priority for Google. Resolving these issues, along with others, enhances Google’s ability to index your website.

Use Headings and Visual Hierarchy

Although using headings hierarchically is natural to many in our industry, you’d be surprised at how many eCommerce brands use it incorrectly. Not only does the proper use of headings help search engines understand how the content on a page relates to your website and a specific search term, it also helps the people who land on your page understand what it’s all about. Visual hierarchy is the foundation of your page’s layout, so make sure it makes sense and captures your audience’s attention!

Optimize for Fast Site Speed

Can you remember a time when you left a website or exited out of a page because it took too long to load? A fast site speed and quick page load times undeniably contribute to a positive user experience- which ultimately benefits a website’s SEO rank.

From our eCommerce development experience, we’ve found that 100-200 milliseconds is a concrete benchmark. If your site is hosted on BigCommerce, then congratulations - you’re already ahead of the game.

Conclusion

Although fixing site errors, using visual hierarchy and increasing site speed give way to a better website experience, there are a plethora of additional factors that provide users with a great browsing experience, such as using alt text, writing product, meta and category descriptions.

Having an in-depth understanding of how Google calculates SEO rank and how the user experience is one of the most highly considered Google SEO ranking factors is critical to improving your eCommerce SEO strategy.

If you need help turning your website traffic into paying customers, Groove Commerce is here to help you create an integrated strategy. Reach out through the form below, and we’ll be in touch!

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