Does SEO Help Or Hurt User Experience?

19 Oct
2011

Does SEO Help Or Hurt User Experience

With the obsession over making sure web sites are ranked in Google, many times choices are made that compromise the user experience.

While all efforts should be made to optimize all content found on your site, when it comes down to deciding on whether or not something should be done for the readers or the search bots, keep in mind one thing that should always be your guide – search engines aren’t going to buy your products or services, your readers will.

Seems fundamental in principle but soo many times it’s very easy to see that the choice of design was made to favor the search engine bot and not the readers. Some arguments could be made that the increase in traffic to the site will make up for the lack of user design, but what happens when Google makes a change to the algorithm and your search-friendly design takes a hit in the search results?

No site should ever assume it will retain it’s top rankings by staying the course. Constant tweaks, link campaigns and great content are all needed to retain those positions. But a great user experience and design can easily make up for a site with less traffic, since the readers enjoy the time they spend on your site.

So, does SEO help the user experience? Some times it does since it helps create a template that’s easy to follow and provides a guide for any content publisher. Other times it gets in the way of a fantastic design if the seo initiative is enforced.

If a side has to be picked, always opt to increase the user experience for your site – your readers will reward you with return visits and conversions on your site.

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Paul
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Get his thoughts at his blog (www.ranksurge.com) or follow him on Twitter (@semconsulting) G+ (https://plus.google.com/+PaulBliss3)

2 Comments

  1. Rich | November 3, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Webmaster, I am the admin at SEOPlugins.org. We profile SEO Plugins for WordPress blogs for on-site and off-site SEO. I’d like to invite you to check out our recent profile for a pretty amazing plugin which can double or triple traffic for a Worpdress blog. You can delete this comment, I didn’t want to comment on your blog, just wanted to drop you a personal message. Thanks, Rich

  2. Ben | November 12, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I definitely think SEO can improve the user experience and vice-versa. The problem is – most SEO’s don’t take it into account AND most design types don’t take SEO into account. If the two never talk – you leave it up to chance. I just did a presentation on this topic at the Seattle Interactive Conference along with a few other panelists. Would love your thoughts. Check out my presentation here – SEO + User Experience: Like Peanut Butter & Chocolate”
    Cheers!

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