Usability & SEO: Two Wins For The Price of One: SES Chicago 2007, Day 2

Dec 5, 2007 | 2,726 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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Build a user-friendly site and chances are you've also built a search engine friendly site. Learn how good usability can help your human visitors plus bring in the search traffic.

Moderator: Jeffrey Rohrs, VP, Agency & Search Marketing, ExactTarget

Speakers: Shari Thurow, Founder and SEO Director, Omni Marketing Interactive, Matt Bailey, President, SiteLogic, Bob Tripathi, Search Strategist, Discover Financial Services.

Usability or SEO which one is more important? We'll it seemed that as the session progressed it became crystal. Shari Thurow made things clearer by stating that "A great looking site does not always lead to a user completing the desired task," he emphasized the need for a site to have substance as well and not just looks. Looks can only attract but what actually adds value is the utility.

Thurow furthers his argument when he stresses that to think what customers say is always right is perhaps wrong. He goes on to say that users say the they love the shiniest site, but the question that arises is, whether the same customers would buy the product or service simply because the site is attractive, or would they even fill out the site's form. Well all this comes later, how would they even find your site in the first place?

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Now he moves over to the solution part, and suggests that sometimes the solutions are pretty much near us but we still can't see it. He goes on to offer the solution as integrating usability testing with the best practices of search engine optimization, and do that right from the design stage.

Matt Bailey the next one to appear offers some great specific advice on how you can make a "perfect marriage" between both the Usability and Search engine optimization. They takeaways that he offers are:

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First, that you need to speak the same tongue as does your user, during the beginning stage of the design of both SEO and usability, it is extremely important to make sure that what you build and create can be found. You could do this by carrying out the design part around how the customers search, nad hence your customers search would revolve around your site design.

Next he suggests that, you should conceive each page that's there on your website as a home page. The architecture should be such that it supports the user's expectation, as there could be many entry points. This he says would lead to a greater satisfaction in the users, as well as the businesses owner. Consequently leading to an action that's desired.

And finally, he suggest that the message should be clear and not diluted. He suggest that if your business is about selling a candleholder, you need to make sure that, one your site is optimized of "candleholder", and further that the CTA should clearly ask the visitor to buy a candelholder and this theme should be present all across the design of your website .

So who wins the Usability or SEO? None, rather both complement each other, both the speakers suggested, beauty alone does not suffice if the page doesn't tell the customer what to do? Similarly if the site is beautiful and even the message is clear, but the user can't find it so the positives again become useless. If both of these aspects have been managed well then your site would be easily found, would attract the user, and the usability would allow them to take action. If the message is clear then it would clearly ask for the action the you want the prospect to take.

Bailey offers a caveat, that given the fast changing SEO ruses, the process of managing both usability and SEO should continue repeatedly and with commitment. Whenever the sync between the two is broken, the website would be in trouble.

PHOTO CREDITS: toprankonlinemarketing

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Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail Usability & SEO: Two Wins For The Price of One: SES Chicago 2007, Day 2
4.thumbnail Usability & SEO: Two Wins For The Price of One: SES Chicago 2007, Day 2