Web Usability – Part of Search Engine Optimization

E-businesses invest lots of money in search engine optimization (SEO). This is good news as this implies that they realize the value of SEO. However, this is an industry that is driven by SEO practitioners alone without any input from academics. This is an industry where search engine optimizers use trial and error method to achieve results. As a result, there is a lot of room for misconceptions about SEO.

I see SEO as part of web usability. When we get clients for SEO, our first step is to ensure that the website is user-friendly and informative. Each website who wishes to rank on the first page of Google for relevant key phrases should earn it by adding value to their industry and above all, for their clients. Any such website deserves to rank high on search engines.

Recently, we had a jewelry website that needed SEO. Our first question was “Will I buy jewelry from this website?” The answer was “No”. Reasons were many such as unattractive website design, photos of the jewelry had colored and shaded background and hence made it really difficult to see the product undermining my confidence that I’ll get what I see, very small fonts, no physical postal address on the site, and so on.

So, our solution was to give a new face to the website. We designed their website to make it look attractive and professional. Graphics are important as this is what creates the first impression on the visitors. We cleaned all the product images to make it clear and crisp. We changed their navigation system on their website to enable the visitors to get to the desired product within couple of clicks. We ensured that the website educates its visitors regarding its products and industry, adding quality content to the website. We added store address and phone number on every page of the website so that if someone feels more comfortable to purchase by offline methods then they can do so. We coded the website such the size of the web page is as small as possible enabling faster download.

In short, we gave them a new website that was completely optimized for the users. Then, we started with their link popularity campaign to increase the probability of search engine robots visiting the website more frequently. Also, on our recommendation, our client signed up and submitted data feeds to comparison shopping websites such as shopping.com, bizrate.com, froogle.com and more. Result: we got them on the first page of the Google for their relevant key phrase.

In conclusion, it is really important that in pursuit of high search engine rankings we pay very close attention to the usability of the website. Using black hat SEO tricks will only offer short-term gain and can get your website banned from the search engines. Hence, if you want your website to be on the first page of the search engines optimize your website for users. All search engine optimizers should follow the motto of search engines to “offer relevant, quality and fresh content for relevant key phrase”.

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