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Strategically Integrating UX Design to Improve Your On-Page SEO Metrics (Bounce Rate, Pages Per Session And Session Time)


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In the world of SEO today, there is an increased emphasis on providing meaningful content to users, and Google’s search engine ranking algorithm reflects this. As a result, User Experience (UX) is becoming increasingly relevant to discussions about on page SEO strategy. To learn more about what UX actually is, head to SEO Sydney’s blog, which goes into detail here.

SEO Metrics Relevant to UX Design

Google, who hold 92.19% of the search engine market share, have started making regular updates to their ranking algorithm in order to guarantee the search results are reflective of which websites are actually relevant to the user. It is these updates which have made UX design so pertinent, as ranking software analyses metrics which can be directly impacted upon by good or bad UX. Three key SEO metrics which are impacted upon by UX design are bounce rate, pages per session and session time. 

Bounce Rate

Google Analytics defines bounce rate as “the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page . In other words, the bounce rate indicates the number of users who navigate off your website after viewing only the page they land on. 

On Page SEO | Bounce rate equation Sydney SEO

Generally, the lower the bounce rate percentage, the better. Statistics about what constitutes a healthy bounce rate vary greatly depending on what type of website the user lands on.  For this reason, comparing bounce rates of different website types against one another may lead to ambiguous findings, as there are often many variable factors involved.

A blog can expect to receive a relatively high bounce rate, because, if well-written, it will provide detailed information on a relevant topic and the user will be satisfied. In contrast, when it comes to eCommerce websites, such as a shopping website, a high bounce rate is more indicative of an unsuccessful customer engagement, as the user has navigated away from the site before exploring the product selection and making a purchase.

On Page SEO | Bounce rates by Industry | SEO Sydney

These examples are also indicative of how it can be critical to consider metrics in conjunction with one another, to have a more accurate understanding of user behaviours. A blog site may experience a high bounce rate, but in conjunction with a long average session time, this may indicate that the blog has successfully provided the user with the information they were looking for. 

Observing these metrics together also confirms the absence of pogo-sticking, which refers to instances where a user navigates away from your site’s landing page in under 5 seconds. High bounce rates are not always an indication your website is lacking somewhere, whereas a high incidence of pogo-sticking is.

CASE STUDY: Life Fitness

We worked with Life Fitness, initiating a comprehensive, on page SEO campaign targeted at improving the Life Fitness website’s Google rankings and driving organic traffic to the site. After identifying a variety of high-volume keywords, we leveraged these to optimise content for the website. Content optimisation is critical to improving a website’s bounce rate, as it impacts directly upon why a user will choose to interact further with a website.

You can optimise content in a variety of ways to improve SEO. These include making sure a website is responsive across web and mobile sites, promoting loading times by transforming pictures from jpeg to WebP format and avoiding excessive use of content which detracts from the user experience, such as advertisements. 

We improved the Google metrics for Life Fitness by implementing a meaningful and strategically designed content strategy, consisting of blogs, electronic direct mail (EDM) and videos. Communicating content through a range of different mediums is key in ensuring your website remains dynamic and up-to-date with content trends. We also updated the Life Fitness page, to include a significant amount of tailored copywriting. This promotes the relevance of the website, encouraging users to return for new and updated content. 

If you are experiencing high website bounce rates, looking at the quality of content you are putting out is critical to improving this metric because if users are unable to find useful content, they have no incentive to remain on site. 

The Life Fitness SEO campaign saw an increase of more than 1500% in organic traffic to the Life Fitness website, showing that our use of UX strategies effectively increased the site’s relevance to users. This SEO approach also transformed Google’s search engine results in favour of Life Fitness, boosting their rankings to #1 for various important keywords, including ‘Fitness Machines’, ‘Home Gym Equipment’ and ‘Home Fitness Equipment’. 

Pages Per Session

Pages per session pertains to the number of different pages a user viewed whilst on your website. When a website is designed with effective UX in mind, a higher pages per session count is indicative that a user has remained onsite as they have found valuable content to engage with. 

Along with ensuring you provide users with meaningful content, a website’s sitemap is critical to enhancing the pages per session count. A sitemap determines how you navigate through a website to find what you are looking for. It is important to make this a clear and efficient process, in order to guarantee the pages per session metric is reflective of a good user experience, rather than a user having to click-through multiple pages of a site to find what they are looking for.

On Page SEO | Pages Per Session UX Design SEO Sydney company

There are many ways to improve a website’s sitemap to enhance SEO. Making pages clearly accessible in as few clicks as possible, using clear and directive labels and picking short, informative domain names are all important means of improving the navigation of a site. It is also helpful to make sure each page is serving a clear and specific purpose, so that you can simplify the menu contents, minimising the number of click-throughs required and avoiding content repetition. Including calls to action (CTAs) is also an effective way of enhancing a website’s navigation to promote a higher pages per session count.

CASE STUDY: Learning Seat

For Learning Seat, we used UX principles to encourage greater user website interaction, including boosting pages per session. In order to achieve this, we focused on the functionality and architecture of the website. 

In order to ensure users can easily find the information they are looking for, we enhanced the visibility of the menu options, placing clear CTAs at the top of the landing page. Exposure to CTAs and menu options is also enhanced through aesthetic choices, as a website’s visual presentation can affect whether a user is able to detect click-through links or not. This element comprises a range of factors including font choices, graphics and colour schemes, which can influence a user’s actions. Read more about the psychology of colour selection on SEO here.

These choices all work together to encourage intuitive navigation, allowing users to explore the services offered by Learning Seat and as a result, boosting pages per session. 

CASE STUDY: Eastcoast Sailing

SEO Sydney assisted Eastcoast Sailing with improving their site’s accessibility for users. Along with content optimisation, we focused on UX and User Interface (UI) design to improve their site metrics. 

To achieve these results, we restructured the Eastcoast Sailing website, redesigning the website’s landing page and making access to content and CTAs easier and more obvious. Our SEO campaign was successful, boosting a number of critical metrics, including pages per session. According to Google Analytics, site users now average 6 pages per visit, showing an improvement of 132%. Other metrics, such as bounce rates were also improved, with a 64% decrease in users navigating away after viewing only the landing page. 

Session Time

Average session time indicates how long a user remains on your website per visit. Higher session time statistics are considered positive by Google’s machine-learning technology RankBrain. This technology strives to provide users with content most relevant to their search, through using Artificial Intelligence (AI), which then impacts the search results. This shows why it is important to strive for higher metrics in this area. According to Databox, an average session time of above 3 minutes is considered good. 

Improving session times can be achieved using many of the same tools used to reduce bounce rates. These include ensuring content is relevant and properly optimised and making sure the sitemap is accessible. 

Long-form content is another helpful way of promoting longer session times. Through using media which requires the user to remain on-site for longer, average session times increase, which assists with improving search engine rankings. Long-form content may refer to longer, more content heavy blog posts, but it is also expanding to include a greater emphasis on other types of media, such as videos and podcasts. 

Long-Form Content UX Design | Sydney SEO | On Page SEO

Page loading times also have a massive impact on a user’s decision to spend time on a website. Studies indicate that if your website takes 2 seconds longer than average to load, bounce rates are increased by up to 50%. Further, a study conducted by Amazon, resulted in the finding that if their pages took an additional second longer to load, their yearly sales could be diminished by as much as $1.6 billion. 

When utilising UX to improve landing page time and improve average duration of session times, there are a range of different factors to consider. The choice of what media UX designers place on a website has a large bearing on this. Avoid overuse of auto-play multimedia, such as animation and video throughout the website. While some is an important part of good SEO strategy, featuring it too much slows down loading times significantly, especially when these features are not adequately compressed. As mentioned earlier, one way to rectify this issue, is to convert media to WebP format, which ensures higher quality imagery, without the cost to loading time. 

On Page SEO | UX Design cost to loading time | SEO Sydney
CASE STUDY: Luxton Property

We worked with Luxton Property from their online inception, using UX principles to structure their website most effectively for SEO. Through focusing on designing an SEO-oriented sitemap, making CTAs clearly stand out and integrating meaningful content into the website, Luxton Property saw metric growth in all key areas. 

The average session duration reached 3 minutes 15 seconds and there was a 6.47% increase in organic traffic to the website. Luxton Property also ranked on the first page of search engine results for ‘Buyer’s Advocate Melbourne’, a high-volume keyword search. 

This is an example of how using UX design to improve any one metric, will have a flow on effect simultaneously improving overall SEO results. This is because UX, when used strategically, enhances any interaction a user has with a website and the Google algorithm is able to detect this.

Ultimately, what unites SEO and UX Design is that both strive to meet the user’s needs. In a landscape where search engines are placing emphasis on promoting this and SEO has the capacity to improve conversion rates by nearly 400%, it is clear UX design can be a very powerful part of any SEO strategy. 

If you want to learn more about how you can integrate UX into your SEO strategy, check out more of our tips at SEO Sydney today!

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