User-friendly design can be just as important as keywords.
Creative and logical design will not directly affect your Google Ranking in a technical sense. Creative design is not built for Google – it is built for the user (AKA your client or customer). The ranking increases are a byproduct of having a user-friendly design and functionality. Since the Panda update in 2011, user metrics have become a very important factor in digital marketing.
With that said, I think we need to explore what Google is and how it is supposed to work.
Google, in essence, was created to help users find websites they deem useful or informative. The results that appear on screen after a search query are determined by an algorithm devised by Google to mimic what they think a user wants or, more often than not, by user proximity or previous user history/experience. This algorithm is organic, ever advancing as marketers(and users) become more savvy and obviously to help Google’s business model.
A good analogy is to think of SEO initiatives as advertisements for a retail store and your website as a salesperson or the store’s layout. The advertisements get the person to the store. The layout of the store can affect shopping patterns with the salesperson answering questions and, ultimately, making the sale.
OK, that is neat and all, but how will design effect my Google rankings?
To quote Moz:
“When a search engine delivers a page of results to you, it can measure the success of the rankings by observing how you engage with those results. If you click the first link, then immediately hit the back button to try the second link, this indicates that you were not satisfied with the first result. Search engines seek the “long click” – where users click a result without immediately returning to the search page to try again. Taken in aggregate over millions and millions of queries each day, the engines build up a good pool of data to judge the quality of their results.”
SEO tactics and clean development can only take a website so far. When all of these optimization tools are sharpened, we turn to content and personal interaction with the site. So we know that Google’s algorithm can be directly affectedby how a user interacts with your website. Generally, when a person is an interested party, they interact with the website more (exploring multiple pages and more time spent on site can have a direct effect on Google’s ranking system).
Within this user visit, you have two major aspects that contribute to personal interaction: User Experience(UX) and User Interface(UI). These two facets of design often blend together, in unison, to help a user find what he or she is looking for (or maybe discover new services products, or ideas).
So, What is User Experience & User Interface?
User Experience, or UX, is the overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or computer application, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use.
User Interface, or UI is the means by which the user and a computer system interact, in particular the use of input devices and software.
So basically, UI is how a person interacts with the website, and UX is how that interaction makes the user feel. Common sense tells us that a slick, easy, and fun interface often leads to a better experience. This experience is monitored by Google, giving better designs a rankings or results bump.