How Keywords Can Enhance Your Website’s Friendliness and Visitor Satisfaction

NOTE: the Link Roundup is beneath this post.
This is a guest post from internet marketing expert Emma-Julie Fox. You can learn more about her at the end of the post.

How Keywords Can Enhance Your Website's Friendliness and Visitor SatisfactionWhat’s the first thing that appeals to you about a website? Or, maybe a better question would be what puts you off? It’s when a site’s hard to use and the information you need is hard to find, right?

Having a user-friendly website alone doesn’t guarantee that your visitors will be satisfied.

That’s what user experience is all about! Improving the experience of the visitors to your site means making your them happy — and having a user-friendly interface largely contributes to that. However, that alone.

Think about it: you conduct online searches because you want to know or find something, and would only be satisfied if you’re able to find the information for which you are looking.

That’s where keywords come into play.

Enter Keywords

If you publish content, you need to have keywords! On the world wide web keywords play two very important roles:

  1. Keywords are very helpful in search engine optimization (SEO), and
  2. Keywords can be used to organize the information on your site.

Like it or not, if a visitor cannot easily find the information for which they are looking even the most user-friendly website cannot hope to have their visitors stay for longer than a couple of minutes max.

You need to help your visitors find what they need quickly and that’s where keywords come into play.

You need to help your visitors find what they need quickly and one of the best ways to do so is to use your site’s keywords to organize your content.

In a nutshell, keywords enhance a user’s experience and having them on your website allows searchers to quickly find what they need.

Let’s take a closer look at how this works.

The Role of Keywords in User (aka Visitor) Experience

The image below illustrates a very interesting concept that Peter Morville’s article on user experience design discusses, “The User Experience Honeycomb”:

If you take a closer look at the facets outlined in the model, you’ll understand how keywords can help enhance the experience of your website’s visitors:

Useful

People will only stay on a website if it contains whatever it is for which they’re looking. If a searcher follows a link and then cannot find what they need, then that site is not useful to them.

For example, if a visitor lands on a website looking only for ‘iPhone 4s reviews’ and finds only listings of cell phone stores on the website, she may not find the site very useful and their satisfaction will be very low.

Key takeaway: don’t make promises on which you don’t deliver.

Usable

The best way to understand this is to ask yourself what kind of a website would you rate high in usability? Probably something that’s easily navigable, right? Plus it shouldn’t waste your time making you look for the information you need. Lastly, you would probably hit the back button if the site takes more than 30 seconds to load. So would your visitors!

Making your site usable through both design and organization is one key to achieving positive visitor satisfaction.

Usability even contributes to search engine ranking! There are many simple yet effective strategies you can use to maintain the user-friendliness of a website.

Key takeaway: organizing your site using relevant keywords (i.e. using navigation tabs named with keywords) should make it easier for people to find what they need and explore the contents of your site.

Desirable

The desirability of a website goes beyond the visual appeal. Its measure is directly proportional to the overall visitor experience which in turn is dependent on the ‘findable’ and ‘accessible’ facets below.

Findable

Adding the keywords frequently used by searchers makes it easier for search engines to find your site and show it in their results pages.

After all, what’s the point of creating a user-friendly interface and creating excellent content if it can’t be easily found, right?

Key takeaway: your site can not be desired if your target customers don’t know it’s there! Use keywords to make your site findable.

Accessible

Your site needs to be accessible to the widest audience possible including search engine crawlers and, most especially, to visitors.

Going back to Peter Morville’s article, he extends the measure of accessibility to people with disabilities. For example, he’s right in saying that it’s ethical to make your site compatible with the technology that allows the blind to “read” the contents of your website by having it read to them.

Key takeaway: Enabling your site to serve all visitors increases the size of the audience who will find it desirable.

Credible

Which would you find more credible: a flashy website with no information or a classic website with accurate information presented in a simple manner?

At the end of the day, it’s not the ‘coolness’ of your website that matters but the quality of information it shares and the way it’s organized and presented.

Take a look at government and academic sites, for example. They may rank among the most boring sites visually however, people continue to flock to them because they know they can get the accurate information they need in, hopefully, a short amount of time.

Key takeaway: your site can be fun visually, but don’t sacrifice organization-by-keyword and ease-of-use for design.

Valuable

Lastly, Morville pointed out that the value of a website, which is measured by how well it can deliver its message and compel visitors into action, is also an important facet for user experience.

If people feel that your site is merely baiting them without giving out anything valuable in return for their visit or if finding what they need takes too long, then that’s a very low score on the scale for user experience and they will not take the actions you would like them to take.

Key takeaway: your visitors will value your website (e.g. return again and again) or your business (e.g. sales, leads, e-mail sign-ups) if you value them first by using keywords to make it easy to find the information for which they are looking.

User Experience: It Takes Two to Tango

To be honest, your website visitors themselves also have a responsibility — albeit a smaller portion — in ensuring their own satisfaction when surfing the Web.

Searchers should also know how to communicate with search engines. There are those who complain that search engine results don’t provide them with what they need. The question is: did they clearly state what it was that they wanted to get in the first place?

Though we may wish with all our hearts that we could, we can’t possibly tell our visitors what keywords or search queries to use to find exactly the information for which they are looking!

This brings us back to the importance of keyword research with regards to improving user experience. Let’s say you’ve already worked on your website’s layout and navigational interface. Now all you have to do is make sure users find your site.

This is where SEO practitioners come in: conducting keyword research to find out what words or phrases are frequently used in search engine inquiries. After that, you know the rest of the drill: keywords are included in website content and optimization campaigns.

When your site visitors are satisfied, they’re much more likely to take the actions that increase your desired business results (e.g. sales, leads, e-mail sign-ups).

Now when people are directed to your well-planned site wherein you’ve considered all seven facets in the honeycomb diagram, their visit to your site will likely be much more pleasant and satisfying.

In turn, you will also get the business results you want in terms of the actions satisfied visitors take while on your site (e.g. sales, leads, e-mail sign-ups).

And that’s where the use of keywords really pays off.

Emma-Julie Foxworks as a writer for Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver based company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America. To invite the author to write a guest post for your website or blog please visit www.pitstopmedia.com

Link Roundup

Weekly Link RoundupEach time I write a post, I collect the 10 best reads from around the web and share them with you here.

These posts focus on web-based solutions, online resources and up-to-date news for small businesses.

Enjoy!

10 Key lessons from Content Marketing World 2013: Very insightful – there’s a lot to take note of in this post.

The Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet 2.0: Fine for non-web developers as well, this is a handy, ready-to-use set of SEO reference sheets.

Small-business owners concerned about potential effect of sales tax on Web purchases: If you sell online, you’re gonna’ want to read this article on potential changes coming your way.

4 Ways to Turn Visitors into Buyers Online: A bit text-heavy, but you’ll find solid conversion tips.

10 Free Design Tools for Creating Stunning Visual Content: Great list of tools – have played with most, can’t wait to try the rest!

7 Examples of Innovative B2B Content Marketing: Short but interesting, you can learn a lot from these real-world content marketing case studies.

How U.S. Bank decided to treat social fans just like real-life customers: Nice little real-world social media case study.

Duane Reade and Papa John’s Sales Data Show Promise for Twitter Commerce: Using Twitter to make money? That’s crazy talk (or is it?)!

As your social media emotions go viral, anger spreads the fastest: Not sure I like this….

Infographic: Don’t Drink and Drive in Social Media: To close off your week, here’s an infographic that shows how to tell if you’re too drunk to use social media.

Trackbacks

  1. BizSugar.com says:

    How Keywords Can Enhance Your Website’s Friendliness and Visitor Satisfaction

    Keywords are not just for SEO – when used to design the user experience, they can make your website more friendly and increase your visitor’s level of satisfaction.

  2. […] choose keywords (keywords at Matt About Business) that relate to your […]

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