A recent Marketing land article discusses what an SEO needs to know about UX and Usability. It also explains how these last two terms are not one in the same. Usability being part of UX but not synonymous.
My takeaway from this read is that anyone wearing the SEO badge with honor should have enough real world experience and testing to be very skilled in Usability already. If you cant spot the leaks in your webpages and the detours from the goal of the design, then you are half an Expert at best.
Bringing them to you site won’t pay any bills. Even if you are just lining up images with ad sense ads to draw the eye and increase click through rates, that is planning for once they are there. It does not have to mean months of testing, just a well laid plan that is based on your experiences.
Of course, the catch there is….you need experiences.
An SEO has come to mean (to me at least), the ability to not only acquire traffic but also to convert, test and convert some more from the traffic they acquire. The ability to do this and to test for how to do this is part of SEO as a rule of those who are good at it.
From the article I grabbed these bullet-points on how they break down the points to consider in traffic once it arrives.
Usability professionals typically analyze, test and measure the following items:
•Effectiveness: Can users achieve their objectives on your website?
Take from this point the importance of answering the question your keyword term drew them in with. If your keyword research leads you to the term, “where can I buy Yankees hats”, make sure you site is designed to convert them smoothly.
•Efficiency: How quickly can users achieve their objectives on your website?
This goes with he above. Their eyes came looking for Yankees caps, don’t have a menu with “mens apparel”, make sure keyword products catch their eye fast by laying out your categories right. Have that hats link underlined so it looks like a link and lets get them to click before they even think.
•Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish simple tasks the first time they encounter your website?
Steve Krug taught us all that you will never believe what people click on. This is why he watches, because people will cruise around the page like a dog sniffing for a bone in a yard. Keep you funnel systematic, clean and minimal and have buttons say what they do. “Shop For Hats”. Amazon is one of the world’s best usability designs. The Amazon site says in the checkout, You can review your order on the next page. This keeps people from worrying about clicking to the final step. genius.
•Memorability: How quickly and easily can repeat users remember how to use your website in order to accomplish their goals?
A short funnel that skips any steps it can get away with. Use “ship to” check-boxes for the same address, don’t make people enter unused fields. If you have a newsletter to email them do you really need the city and state they are in?
•Error prevention/handling: How does the website help users recover from errors? Does the website implement defensive design?
A big one here for me is how does your 404 page behave, if you have a sorry page not found in your megento store, you don’t get SEO. The last Store i worked on we put a page that said “We could not locate that item, But, we add new product everyday an can get it for you. Call 800-XXX-XXXX right now and explain you got this message and we will knock 5% off your order.”
•User satisfaction: Do users like using your website and recommend it to others?
If you do the others right, this will be a big yes. Make it simple, and people will even enjoy a root canal. I pay some bills by phone still (dark ages) and when i get a payment system that is fast , simple, remembers my card from before, and doesn’t repeat the entire CC# back to me…I notice.
Usability is everywhere and in everything we use. Recognizing the importance of your sites design for click-through, conversion and memorable brand image is the back side of all good SEO.