Having been marketing web sites since 1998, I’ve seen a lot of cringe-worthy SEO. For years, many SEOs focused more on ranking than on anything else. After all, if a client wants rankings, we’ll give them rankings! Do we really care what the website looks like?
I’d like to say that those day are long gone, but the fear of SEO being a usability destroying agent still persists. This is, in part, due to those who still look at SEO as a ranking-only venture rather than as part of the entire web marketing experience. Both clients and SEOs are guilty of this mindset.
By itself, I’m sure one can justify this kind of SEO. But rankings are only a small part of the web marketing landscape. Businesses still want top search engine rankings, but no longer at the expense of good on-site usability.
Let’s be clear: Rankings focused SEO can, and likely will, harm the usability of the website. [tweet this] However, SEO that is focused on business growth should have the opposite effect. Just about anything you need to do to get good search engine rankings can also be employed to build a better visitor experience. It just has to be employed properly.
Keyword for rankings? Yep. And it ensures you are speaking your visitor’s language.
Text for rankings? Yep. And it’s also a tool to give visitors key selling benefits.
Website architecture for rankings? Yep. And it helps keep your site operating at peak proficiency.
Better navigation for rankings? Yep. And it helps visitors find what they want quickly.
So before you keep thinking SEO destroys the user experience, you’re either dealing with an old perception of SEO or an SEO that isn’t really concerned about much more than rankings.
It’s time to start using SEO to get rankings AND new customers.