How Is SEO Related to Web Usability?

Web usability and Search Engine Optimization may not seem to be related upon first glance, but SEO is indeed something that needs to be kept in mind in the pursuit of a silky-smooth web usability experience.

Back-linking can be said to affect web usability and user-experience. But rather than on the level of the website itself, it affects usability on a meta-level. A site with strong SEO will be found in the major search engines and consequently already exists in a separate category from sites that can’t be found in the search results. Sites that can’t be found are obviously less likely to be used and have any experience at all associated with them. For this reason, many companies hire expert SEO services to bring their websites up to this basic level of visibility.

Regarding the sites that do have good Search Engine Optimization and that are found ranking high in the organic results, studies have shown that web users subconsciously prescribe authority to these sites. The instinct for the average person looking at websites in the search results is that the top ranking sites are there because they truly are authorities in a worldly sense. This is somewhat of a skewed first impression, as though a site ranking in the results does indicate a more established site, these websites appear here primarily because they fit into Google’s criteria for ranking.

Webmasters have many considerations when optimizing their on-page user-experience. They must keep in mind copy-writing and page layout best practices to maximize conversion and encourage users to complete desired actions on-site. At the same time, with Google constantly refining its ranking algorithm to better interpret content on the internet and rank sites according to relevance, developers must be aware of their on-page SEO. For this reason, one must be careful in choosing an agency that has the requisite awareness of both design and layout factors as well as an SEO background.

The choice of words used on a website can affect visitors on an emotional level. This is a case in point that developers need both an SEO and conversion background. The words and text chosen on the page must be tailored to the keywords that are desirable to rank for in the search engines, but if the text becomes too mechanical, today’s savvy readers will likely identify the site as being inauthentic as a result of keyword-stuffing. An effective SEO will take into account both the best-practices of copy-writing to assist conversion on the website, but will also have a strong keyword strategy in place.

It is a best-practice to have a significant amount of content on each web page for both SEO and usability reasons. The search engines favor sites with an absolute minimum of 300 words on a web page. The reason for this is that Google is only able to extrapolate relevance from a site if there is enough text to analyze. From a user-experience point of view, more text gives something a reader to interact with. A website without content has little value.

As Google now closely monitors bounce rate when deciding which sites should remain in a high ranking, using video on-site can be an extremely powerful strategy. Users are many times more likely to interact with video and give a lengthier time commitment to a video than to text. Studies are showing that people today have shorter and shorter attention spans because there is so much stimulation available at a moment’s notice with the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices. From a usability standpoint, video can retain visitors longer which will allow webmasters to create a deeper relationship with them and exert more influence in having web users take further action.

There are other specific website layout tactics that make both SEO and interface optimal. For example, siloing websites to keep things easy to find and navigate can give a site a simple and enjoyable feel, but it can also be effective from an SEO standpoint. If you work with a high-quality SEO agency you may find that even before doing any off-page optimization your agency will suggest correct URL structures for your pages. This is because keywords in URLs are a large controllable factor in making a webpage more relevant to Google and therefore more likely to rank for a certain search term. Using silos, or subcategories of the main-menu items, pages of a like-category can be lumped together. Subsequently, pages under each main-menu item can have shorter page-specific URLs, with the silo providing the over-arching keyword. This is yet another example of SEO and usability interplay.

Search engine optimization and usability obviously must both be considered if a website is to be successful in achieving its purpose.

We hope to create more value for you, our reader, by creating more content and a better web experience for you via our site. Please share this article if you have found it useful to you! Many thanks for the free consultation with Ascendant Search Marketing, a wonderful SEO Agency Calgary trusts for local and national Google ranking solutions. Their advice was instrumental in creating this article.


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