Do SEO and Usability Get Along?

Jul 23, 2007 • 10:45 am | comments (7) by twitter | Filed Under Web Usability & SEO

Kim Krause Berg started a rant on her blog about how the Sphinn community was not welcoming of usability experts. Her rant became a hot topic on Sphinn and it prompted Danny to create a Usability category. Kim brought the discussion to Cre8asite Forums asking if her rant went too far.

It was unanimous; everyone felt that it did not.

In fact, what about search conferences? Everyone agreed that Usability is something that should be integrated into the agenda for future search conferences.

I think we're really seeing something different: SEO is encompassing so many different terms and ideas, and usability should be part of it.

There have been plenty of times, when SEOs have been thinking that some other angle should be considered SEO or not. I recall the same talk about copywriting, marketing, hand-coding, link baiting and now it is about usability.

As EGOL says, "Usability is the big part of the New SEO."

However, Ammon Johns disagrees. He feels that Usability is not part of the new SEO per se, but it's definitely been something that was there for awhile.

It is part of old-school marketing. We call it making a smooth presentation.

Forum discussion continues at Cre8asite Forums.

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07/23/2007 05:20 pm

Usability is needed on every web property/application. It is a part of SEO, and having a usability expert is absolutely a great value. Its just SEO's think they know usability, but having an outside person--puts a different spin on the analytical approach to usability and how it may look right to the SEO but not to the end-user.

Chris Peters

07/23/2007 05:42 pm

I'm of the camp that believes that SEO, Usability, Information Architecture, and Accessibility are all inter-related. But they are not all the same discipline. They complement each other. Search Marketing is definitely a user experience issue. If the goal of SEO is aligning your web copy with words that your customers actually use, I don't see how it doesn't make your web site a better experience!

Carrie Hill

07/23/2007 07:17 pm

I can use SEO to increase rankings to #1 for 200 terms - bring 2 million visitors a month to a website - and not realize one conversion because the website isnt user friendly and easy to navigate, understand, and spend money on. Without Usability there are no conversions. Well done Kim - keep it up and someday there will be Usability conferences we invite some SEM/SEO people to :)


07/24/2007 07:24 pm

I have to agree with Carrie (it's pretty much what I was going to say). My former company had a client once who was very proud of her (amateur Front Page designed) web site. We did our job and drove lots of traffic to the site. As we developed the relationship, we were able to convince her that she needed to not try to be a web designer, but let a professional handle it. We redesigned her site and not only did her business grow significantly due to increased conversions, but we received a legitimate (unsolicited) "top web site in it's class" award.

Jeffrey Eisenberg

07/25/2007 12:01 am

If the goal of SEM is to bring traffic to a site then site has to be able to benefit from the traffic. If the site is not usable or persuasive then the SEM was wasted. Dragging the horse to water and wondering if the horse will drink is irrelevant unless the water is accessible.


07/16/2009 11:06 am

I think SEO, Usability and Search marketing,all are essential for website promotion,to increase presence of website into search engine , to bring visitors again , to make website more user friendly .


05/28/2011 05:02 pm

I am having probs with seo on my site.. kinda sucks... trying and open up to new ideas though

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