Google’s upcoming Core Web Vitals update makes it clear that 2021 will be all about user experience. Here are a few ways to improve your blog’s user experience.
4 Actionable Tips to Improve Your Blog’s User Experience
It’s been quite a few years since Google first started introducing updates focused on improving user experience. It all started back in 2011 with the Google Panda update but is still happening to this day.
Thankfully, our Google overlords are kind enough to give webmasters a heads up before a big algorithm update nowadays. So if you’ve been wondering why the online SEO community’s been so riled up lately, you can probably guess the answer.
Google Core Web Vitals update scheduled to roll out in May 2021 is another core update focused on user experience. Most previous major updates were all about improving content quality. This one, however, focuses on website optimization and on-page experience.
If you’ve neglected these aspects on your site and blog, now’s a great time to reprimand your past self. After you’re done, it’s time to get your hands dirty and get to optimizing your blog content for user experience.
If you wish to make your blog stand out in the eyes of users and search engines, I prepared a few actionable tips you can start implementing immediately.
Note: Before optimizing your blog content, you should conduct an in-depth website UX audit and optimize your site accordingly. Ensure your website passes all Core Web Vitals criteria before investing time in on-page optimization.
4 Tips to Improve On-Page User Experience
On-page user experience is predominantly subjective, I agree, but we can find patterns even in subjectivity. Here are some well-known practices that have proven universally effective at improving on-page user experience:
1. Focus on Your Users’ Pain Points and Don’t Overpromote
One of the key principles of marketing is focusing on your customers rather than yourself. The same should apply to your blog’s content.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when creating content is overpromoting themselves. Doing that makes them seem cold, self-absorbed, and distant. That is not the kind of content people enjoy reading. By shifting the focus from yourself and your services to your readers’ pain points, you create a warmer and more welcoming environment.
Most people who find your blog will be looking for an answer to a problem. In fact, Search Engine Land found that 50–80% of online search queries are informational. So the best way to improve your blog’s user experience is to address your visitors’ problems.
An excellent way to achieve that is by changing your article’s voice. Instead of using “I” and “we,” try addressing your readers with “you” more often.
And if you insist on promoting your products, focus on how it can solve your readers’ problems. This approach is more likely to leave a positive impression on your audience.
2. Optimize for Readability
Another integral part of improving on-page user experience is optimizing for readability. That entails making your content skimmable and easily digestible for audiences of various educational levels.
By optimizing your blog for readability, you will make it more accessible to wider audiences, attracting more readers. After all, that is your blog’s goal, isn’t it?
But how do you optimize for readability? What’s the difference between an easy- and a hard-to-read article?
The best way to answer the above question is to illustrate it with examples. Let’s look at some of the best practices for improving your content’s readability.
Note: Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines, not definitive rules. You don’t have to follow them to the T. Lower readability is acceptable for blogs targeting professionals or experts. Higher readability is better suited for broader audiences.
Best Practices for Readability Optimization
Here are some actionable steps you can take to improve your blog’s readability:
- Use a font size of 12 or greater — Readers will have a hard time reading your articles with any font size smaller than 12. Just don’t go overboard — anything between 12 and 16 should prove optimal.
- Keep your sentences and paragraphs short — Writing shorter sentences makes your content easier to follow, while organizing it into smaller paragraphs makes it more scannable. That will make it easier for your readers to find what they’re looking for and follow your train of thought.
- Take advantage of bolding — Bolding parts of your article will help direct your readers’ attention to your key points.
- Organize your article in headings and subheadings — Using a rich hierarchy of headings helps organize your content’s key points and assists users with navigating it.
- Use lists and tables generously — Formatting your most valuable takes into lists or tables helps them stick out.
- Avoid passive voice — Using active voice as much as possible makes your content more dynamic and improves its flow.
- Be concise — Getting your message across with as few words as possible is the key to creating captivating and engaging content. That means you should favor using verbs over verb phrases (e.g., “assume” instead of “made an assumption”) and eliminate any unnecessary and filler words (e.g., very, actually, basically, etc.).
One last thing — considering that readability is hard to measure objectively, don’t be afraid to experiment. Try different things, see how your audience reacts, and stick to what works best for you!
3. Include an FAQ Section and a Table of Contents
Adding an FAQ section and a table of contents in your articles doesn’t take much effort but can significantly improve your blog’s user experience.
Table of contents is a handy tool that makes navigating your article easier. That is especially useful if your blog has a lot of long-form content. It allows users to instantly jump to the part of the article containing their answer instead of manually scrolling down.
Giving your readers the option to scan your article’s contents and skip to the parts most relevant to their query makes their time on your blog all the more rewarding.
Another handy way of making your readers’ time on your blog more enjoyable is by including an FAQ section at the end of your article. That will allow you to provide immediate answers to your visitors’ queries and address additional points you might have missed in your article.
Considering that Google values and ranks websites that address users’ search intent efficiently, these two features should be able to help you boost your rankings.
4. Break Your Page’s Monotony With Compelling Visuals
Did you ever hear the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” That has never been more true than in the online world.
Images are a potent content marketing tool, so including them in your articles should be a no-brainer. Why? There are a few reasons:
- Images break long stretches of text more effectively than white space — If you’ve ever read a long article with nothing to break the seemingly never-ending wall of paragraphs, you know how repulsive they can be. Visuals can help break that pattern.
- Using pictures to illustrate your key points helps cater to visual learners — Research has shown that 65% of people are visual learners. That means there is a high chance most of your readers fall into the same category. By including visuals that illustrate your key points (e.g., infographics, charts, graphs), you will make your blog more appealing for such audiences.
- (Bonus) Images are excellent for SEO — Aside from the user-experience side of using visuals, optimizing your images’ background and alt text can be an excellent way of improving your SEO for Google image search results.
If you’re already actively using images and want to take your visual content game to the next level, videos are the next logical choice.
Similar to using images, there is much merit in embedding videos in your blog posts:
- Videos are one of the most popular content formats out there — According to the latest data from Wyzowl, an average person watches around 18 hours of video weekly. That’s a substantial increase in video viewership compared to just a few years ago!
- Videos are excellent for engaging your readers — Video platforms like YouTube and TikTok saw unprecedented growth in the last few years. That’s a good indicator that the times are changing, and video is becoming the unparalleled king of online engagement.
- Using videos caters to different types of audiences — Not everyone enjoys reading an article. In fact, many people prefer watching a video to reading a blog post. Catering to those people by including videos in your content will help you expand your reach.
As effective as both images and videos can be for improving on-page user experience, I suggest you use both whenever possible.
It is already apparent that 2021 will be all about user experience in content marketing. That’s why optimizing your website and content for UX will be pivotal to success going forward (aside from high-quality content, of course).
Websites and blogs that neglect user experience will likely see a decline in their rankings, and I’m sure you don’t want to risk that! Now is the perfect time to dedicate resources to address these shortcomings before Google’s next core update.
If your site is lacking in the on-page UX department, it’s not too late to fix that. Just remember the following:
- Write content with people in mind — Address your readers’ pain points and don’t make your articles all about yourself.
- Make your content easy to read — Follow the best readability practices to make your content appealing to readers of all educational levels.
- Make your content easy to navigate — Including a table of contents and an FAQ section will make your article easier to navigate and answer your readers’ queries more efficiently.
- Take advantage of compelling visuals — Images and videos are an excellent way to cater to broader audiences and make your content more engaging.
Now roll up your sleeves and get to work!
May SEO gods be with you in 2021.
About the author
Uroš Stanimirović is a Content Writer for an online video platform and video monetization solution Brid.TV. He firmly believes that the key to keyword research, the secret to a successful piece of content, and the answer to the perennial question of human existence all lie in a well organized Google Sheet. When he’s not drowning in keywords and surrounded by drafts, you can find him enjoying video games, playing guitar, and writing poetry.