Friday, May 02, 2008

What SEO/SEM Professionals Should Know About Website Usability - Part 2

Jakob Nielsen's formula for website success ...

"In part 1 of What SEO/SEM Professionals Should Know About Website Usability, usability experts Peter Morville and Susan Weinschenk answered the question, "What should SEO professionals know about usability?" For this installment, website usability guru Jakob Nielsen and Kim Krause Berg share their observations and perspectives. Enjoy!

Jakob Nielsen's formula for website success

"The main thing SEO professionals should remember about Web usability is the formula for website success," said Jakob Nielsen, Principal at Nielsen Norman Group.

What's the formula?

B = V x C x L

Where:

* B = amount of business done by the site
* V = unique visitors coming to the site
* C = conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who become customers); note that the concept of conversion applies not only to ecommerce sites, but to any site where there is something you want users to do
* L = loyalty rate (the degree to which customers return to conduct repeat business)

"Narrowly considered, SEO might be thought of as the goal to rank as highly in SERPs for important keywords," Nielsen continued. "While important, these rankings are only half of the 'V' element of site success. Besides ranking high, you also need users to click the listing, so clickthrough provides the other half of 'V.' Clickthrough is determined by usability considerations; more specifically content usability, in form of the guidelines for writing for the Web."

"The page title is the most important: it must be written to provide strong information scent and to extrude usefulness," he said. "The article summary and the URL are viewed less, but are still important to help users determine whether to click a top search hit or to proceed to the next one."

"After V comes C: It does no good to drive traffic to the wrong page that doesn't convert visitors into customers," said Nielsen. "Conversion rate, of course, is determined by usability: do people understand the landing page, does it speak to their concerns, and can they find their way around the site to solve their problem and understand your product line?"

"Finally, I believe that L is the most important variable for long-term website strategy: It is imperative that websites liberate themselves from being overlydependent on search engines and regain the positioning as the place users turn for the type of problem they address," he said. "Right now, the best loyalty mechanism is the email newsletter, so it's important to balance the site design in such a way that it encourages newsletter sign-ups at the same time as it also drives conversions."    (Continued via Search Engine)    [Usability Resources]

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