At Radium, we perform a ton of SEO audits. Some are simply a cursory overview of a website while others are much more detailed and in-depth. For the latter, we use a mix of marketing tools to analyze current metrics and provide feedback based on actual website data.
These tools provide a wealth of information but we also use another great tool. One that’s often overlooked in the SEO world…our eyes.
Usability, Design and Interaction
These 3 items are rarely talked about in search circles since they’re not necessary to have a properly optimized website (or at least they weren’t). However, investing in these elements can deliver tremendous value to the overall site and can actually help strengthen more traditional search metrics.
The Human Test
Search engines are increasingly becoming more human and the Google Panda update is a great example of this. With it’s release, Google was able to take feedback from human quality raters, apply it to their algorithm and scale it on a massive level. All of a sudden Google became a much better judge of website quality.
Measuring a Feeling
Now, you can argue that aspects of usability, design and interaction can be translated into quantifiable metrics like browse rates, facebook likes and so on. It’s true. Our audits include these measurements and more like it, but these numbers provide you with the outcome, not the cause. You need to understand what the data is telling you.
Seeing the whole picture
If you’re not using your eyes and reviewing the website for design, usability and interaction, you are missing a huge aspect of the website and its ability to perform well in organic search. Technical aspects, content and information architecture are all incredibly important, but they’re still only pieces of the puzzle. They don’t tell the whole story.
The time to focus on site design, usability and interaction is now! These elements will only increase in importance as time passes and will separate the sites that attract massive amounts of search traffic and those that do not.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Shahan.