The overarching goal of SEO and SEM is to drive traffic to a company’s website. This can be done is various ways, but they all amount to creating numerous inbound pathways to various pages of the website. Correctly determining and implementing appropriate keywords throughout webpage content is one of the most important things a website owner can do to help promote their site. However, when website owners start to focus on creating a website that is optimized only for the search engine crawlers, neglecting the user-experience, it doesn’t matter how much traffic is pushed to the site, visitors will leave as soon as they arrive. The two components have to work hand-in-hand and receive equal attention for complete SEO success.
Google Analytics can help a website determine what keywords are pulling visitors in and to what page of the site. Keyword research will show a website owner what users are searching for. The goal should be to edit the pages that aren’t drawing traffic and enhance the ones that are by incorporating new keywords with the old ones that work. What website owners need to be conscious of is keyword stuffing. Content should be optimized for search engine spiders but always written for users. It can be incredibly distracting and irritating to a visitor when every other word is a keyword variation. If a website annoys a visitor enough, they will leave and not come back. Driving users away will eventually lower a website’s search result rankings and hinder any other SEO efforts.
To learn how testing can help positively impact your site’s user experience, check out this other SEO Journal post.
A good rule of thumb is to select 2-5 keywords per page based on the content. Website owners should remember that they keywords have to be page specific. The website might sell rain boots, but the “About Us” page isn’t about the products. Therefore the keywords shouldn’t focus on rain boots. Incorporating keywords that have little to do with the page content detracts from the overall user-experience and can be frustrating to a user looking for specific information and not being able to accurately locate it.
User experience also comes into play when working on a website’s link building activities. Blog commenting is a very common and a very useful tool. But just like keywords need to be relevant, so do the blogs being posted on, the comments being written and the links being used. The rain boot company shouldn’t be commenting on an Italian food blog as the two have little in company. Perhaps the comment does focus on Italian food, but the posted link leads to the “women’s rain boot styles“ page of the website. Now a less-targeted user is being drawn—some would consider tricked—to the site and they won’t stay for long. Search engines take into account where a site’s inbound links are coming from. Irrelevant and untrustworthy links reflect poorly on the website.
At the end of the day, SEO means little without good user-experience. Visitors are the ones looking to make a purchase, find relevant information and interact with the company. The two need to work together, not in opposition, in order to produce the best SEO results and overall user-experience to help promote the website, company and online brand.