UCD vs. SEO - responses

Following my blog posting (and email to uk-usability) regarding search engine optimisation (SEO) and user-centric design I have had some thoughtful emails and just wanted to take the opportunity to respond to a selection of the issues raised.

‘Looking for’ vs. ‘expecting to find’
There is an argument that these are one and the same, that people search for what they want to find on the page, but is this always the case. Anecdotally I know I often search for things in Google when I don’t really know what I’m searching for … today, for example I searched for “networked external storage” but when the results came up and I clicked on one I realised I should have been looking for “ethernet ide drives”. Alastair Campbell of
nomensa also mentioned this frustration when searching in an area who’s terminology is unfamiliar. Site developers thus need to consider not just what their page contains but the quite different ways in which people may look for that content.

A similar frustration was cited by Lola (from Agency.com) – the effect of being dumped on a landing page rather than directly at the point where the searched-for content resides: “if I search for something the last place I’d want to land on is the home page or some other page where I have to navigate and think a bi more to find the info I want” … and earlier “when a user comes to your site intent on finding a keyword she has in mind, you’ll be meeting her needs more readily if her keyword is easy to spot”. I have found the Google bar ‘highlight keywords’ feature invaluable in this instance.

The Team Issue
My original post was concerned with whether putting the SEO team and content development teams together was counterproductive. Ashley, CEO of
e-consultancy asserts that we need to “achieve the optimal balance of what is right for the user AND the search engine” and in this regard “usability people need to understand SEO better and SEO people need to understand UCD better” which is a pretty decent summary and points at a collaborative blend of skills.

Ashley also exposed my naivety in terms of the way that spiders actually work (and thus indicated my need to work closer with spider-savvy SEO colleagues) by informing me that they actually “try to be as human-like as possible”.

Other SEO and usability mutual benefits can be seen by taking a look at “
What’s good for the search engines AND good for the user?” and the more recent (but broader in scope) “From paper to page – what’s the ideal web design process?”. Both of these articles were produced by Ashley.

Many thanks for everyone’s responses to the question.

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1 comment:

Web2earn said...

Hi, nice blog and thx for the info.

Does anyone know where I could find THE BEST search engine optimization guide online? I am mostly looking for a guide that shows how you can SEO your site or blog without spending a fortune. I need the info to create a similar step by step guide on my website, Web2earn.com – online moneymaking opportunities

Another question: does anyone here have success with automated link exchange websites?


Michael Rad