The important relationship between SEO and usability

Much has been said about the importance of local search engine optimization, but often the usability of this tactic does not enter the discussion. In other cases, marketing professionals worry that SEO-centric content conflicts with the usability of websites.

However, according to Kim Krause Berg of Search Engine Land, these two concepts do not have to be mutually exclusive. A new generation of web developers and marketing professionals are increasingly well-versed in both SEO and usability, and understand that blending the practices can result in high-ranking search engine results and user-friendly designs that keep customers reading pages and clicking throughout a site.

Still, some businesses haven't quite seen the connection between usability and SEO.

"Unfortunately, the majority of search engine marketing companies ignore the people side of web design entirely," Krause Berg explained.

For those who do see the value between SEO and usability, a new term is gaining traction. "Integrated marketing" has entered the lexicon of web professionals to represent the collaborative approach to site design, marketing and support. In addition, these efforts could also include social media marketing efforts, analytics and public relations.

Krause Berg is not the only professional advocating for a functional marriage between usability and SEO.

Recently, Metrics Marketing Group's senior search strategist, Laura Cameron, was selected to present the important relationship between local SEO and usability in website redesign for World Usability Day, an event hosted by the Northeast Ohio Usability Professionals' Association (NEOUPA).

The goal of the annual event is to spread awareness and share solutions regarding the convenience and simplicity of products and services. On November 10, Cameron discussed how SEO techniques can be fused with usability practices to enhance the impact of a redesigned website. Geared toward marketing professionals, the speech touched on how to leverage category names, content migration and user experience to improve search engine metrics and "gain greater visibility online," according to NEOUPA.

As Practical Ecommerce reports, Google is showing signs that it values both usability and SEO by implementing its Panda algorithms. This system now places high value on content that is original and top-notch, which is encouraging web designers and marketers to see their online business strategies in a different light.

One of the top usability factors that Panda is now able to look out for is trustworthiness of content. Jaimie Sirovich, president of web development firm SEO Egghead, tells the news source that "having links only for the sake of internal linking structure ruins trustworthiness," even though these links were once viewed favorably in Google's algorithms.