10 Easy Ways to Combine Usability & SEO to Increase Conversions

by Kimberly Krause Berg June 24th, 2011 

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The more you learn about human " computer interaction and reaction, the more likely youll understand why organic search engine optimization techniques and user experience design techniques work so well together in increasing web site conversions.

Organic search engine optimization is favored by search engines because its based on natural language and human needs, reactions, desires and goals. Usability testing and research contribute by aiding in the understanding of what those needs, reactions, desires and goals are. Sure, you can run lists of keywords from your favorite tools, but the deciding votes on what words and phrases work the best are always your customers and targeted audience.

Rather than a division of two separate camps, Ive learned over the past 15 years that attention to small details is a powerful method for marketing and web design. Keywords are needed for rank. Theyre also needed for user understanding and what called scent of information. We want to know weve found the right product or page were seeking. We want to trust that our searches bring back accurate responses and not some marketing runaround.

10 techniques that combine SEO and usability goals

The more of these that you implement, the better your pages will rank and your site visitors will be satisfied. The ultimate goal is always increased conversions.

1. Be sure your product pages contain content in addition to cart elements and product description. Treat each product page as a standalone landing page. User instructions, picture captions, and text link labels help.

2. Add text captions, with at least one keyword, to your images. (Very easy to do in the WordPress media library.)

3. Add content to the homepage and landing pages that contain embedded links. The anchor text on these links should go to key pages on the inside of the web site and be keyword oriented and descriptive. Limit two embedded links per 250 words. (This doesnt mean keyword stuffing!)

4. Use embedded targeted links to guide customers towards making a purchase. Act now and get 30% off [product], Free shipping on [product] with our one-click shopping.

5. If your target market/audience may not be all English-speaking, insert variations of leading keywords in other languages in text links and content.

6. Signal to search engines where important content is by using header tags (h1, h2, etc.). Add keywords to headings and sub-headings (but be natural about it!)

7. Play with verbs! Go. Find. Order. Buy. Search. Describe the task or topic along with it. Read more about [insert topic], Buy [product name] now. Meet the [company name] team. Order 3 cases of [product] today, get another one free. Add trigger words too! Free, New, Limited time, etc.

8. Add your business address, including zip code and telephone number, to the footer. It helps search engines understand where to rank you for local searches. And not only does it help visitors understand where you are, literally, but it helps convey the message that you have nothing to hide; "here's our real physical business address " we're really here, nothing hidden, come and see us if you want."

9. Always look into your logs and analytics to find all the ways people are finding your web site. Experiment with their search terms by adding them into your content, headings, and captions and embedded text links. If you discover they ask questions to get to your web site, include that exact question phrase into the content of your homepage or landing pages. Look for how-to questions and where do I, for example.

10. Show off your team. Add bios. Give each person their own page that acts as a landing page that comes up on a search for their name or area(s) of expertise. Make sure that page links to a key task!

The underlying theme of combining usability and search engine optimization is motivation. Theres tremendous competition on the web. You want to engage your visitors immediately and keep them motivated. Thats the secret to increasing conversions.

Kimberly Krause Berg

Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, search engine optimization and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, and persuasive design. Human Factors and Usability and how it blends with Search Engine Optimization have been her passion for over a dozen years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998 and was a self-employed usability and search engine marketing consultant for Cre8pc.com since 1996. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability and persuasive design in her role as Usability and User Interface Analyst.

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