Usability, User Experience, Quality Content
SEOmoz Beginners Guide to SEO -Ch6 Review
This chapter is more about important concepts to understand than about process or specific tactics and strategy
Usability and User Experience
These two concepts get lumped together to tell you that your site must conform to four main points. They come straight our of the guide:
- Easy to use, navigate, and understand
- Provide direct, actionable information relevant to the query
- Professionally designed and accessible to modern browsers
- Deliver high quality, legitimate, credible content
You want to make sure your site tells the use exactly what it is about at a glance.
Your site must be easy to navigate and easy to use to find information.
It has to work well across all browsers and platforms.
And it has to have the best quality content that is relevant and answers the users need or query.
How do you know if you have quality content?
Well that is in the eye of the user but search engines look for certain signals:
- Engagement Metrics
- Machine Learning
- Linking Patterns
- Transactional Searches
- Navigational Searches
- Informational Searches
Hey, Claude Pelanne here, Affiliate Starting Line, welcome. This is going
to be the continuation of the SEOmoz Beginner’s Guide to SEO, Chapter 6. In
this chapter what they talk about are three really important concepts:
usability, user experience and content. To me, when I first read this the
first time through, a couple years ago, this was very abstract for me, but
let’s take a look and see what it means.
Usability has to do with the ease of use, whether a site is easy to
navigate and whether your site is easy to understand. Do you provide direct
actionable information relevant to the query? So somebody typed in
something, they’re looking for information, whatever their intent was, they
land on your page, and does the information satisfy that intent?
Professionally designed, accessible to modern browsers. They want to make
sure that your site looks good and can be loaded into Safari, Firefox,
Chrome, Internet Explorer, any number of browsers that exist out there,
without any problems. Do you deliver high quality legitimate credible
content? In other words, are you creating that content yourself? Are you
scraping it? Where is the information that you’re getting coming from?
That’s very important.
How does it measure usability and the user experience? That’s what this
next section comes up with. There are a limited number of variables that
search engines take into account directly. That’s like keywords, links,
site structure. Through the linking patterns, user engagement metrics and
machine learning, the engines make a considerable number of intuitions
about a given site. Usability and user experience are second order
influences on a search engine, how they measure your success. They provide
an indirect but measurable benefit to a site’s popularity, which engines
can then interpret as a higher quality signal. No one likes to link to a
In essence, what this means is good sites will have a certain look and
feel, bad sites will have a lousy look and feel. Then through your link
structure, the search engines can judge you by the company you keep. So if
you’re getting links from high authority sites and trusted sites, and
you’re linking back to decent sites, that’s good. If your links are coming
from spammy sites, and you’re linking to spammy sites, that’s bad. There’s
a whole subject matter among SEOs about the tactic of your opposition
sending you bad links so that they can get you into trouble, and that’s a
subject for another video.
Signals of quality content. How do they measure the quality of your
content, and what signals do search engines look for? They look for a click
sequence. When you land on a site, or someone lands on your site, how long
does it take them to click that back button? Or better yet, do they stay on
your site and start linking into your site? The short click isn’t good,
that is, when they come in and click right back out. The long click, if
they spend some time on your site, is very good, and there’s a way for them
to measure that. Engagement metrics is one.
Machine learning. This has to do with whether or not the content on your
site is high quality or low quality. What Google did was they used human
evaluators to actually look at thousands of sites, and the pattern of that
human evaluator behavior was then written into an algorithm. That algorithm
went out and did a certain update that’s better known as the Panda update,
and many sites, especially content forms, got penalized, and other sites
that were judged to have very good content benefited. The only problem with
that is that human evaluators are human. They make mistakes, which means
this algorithm, this Panda business, worked pretty well, but there was a
lot of collateral damage. If you have a website that’s been legitimately
put together, like one of mine, and it disappears, I don’t know that the
intent here has been well served for those sites that suffered collateral
damage. Of course, Google tells you that it succeeded.
There has been another update called the Penguin update that has to do with
linking. The next section, the linking patterns, is an interesting one.
Here what it means is, it looks at the links coming into your site and the
links going out of your site, and what it wants to see is links coming in
from other relevant sites, especially if they are authoritative and trusted
sites, and then links going out to other authoritative sites and trusted
sites coming from your site. In other words, it’s judging you by the
company you keep. You want to make sure that your linking pattern is
natural and not induced by all sorts of artificial means, which these
search engines can now read very easily.
The third part of it is, how can it measure good content? I just told you a
little while ago, content can be generated by you, which really it should
be. If your content reflects your own persona and your own style and you’re
writing it, you have nothing to worry about. If your content comes from
other websites, you better attribute it that way. Some sites syndicate and
do content curation, that sort of thing. As long as the attributions are
there, you’re fine, but the fact that that information’s been indexed
elsewhere will diminish its importance on your site.
It also then explains search intent flavors. We already discussed this in
another chapter. There are different ways that people search. Transactional
searches involve some form of action, not only a commercial transaction,
but signing up for a newsletter, filling out a login form, any kind of call
to action that’s satisfied is a transactional search.
Navigational searches are when you are specifically looking for a piece of
real estate online and you type in that URL directly. I may be looking for
chocolate.com, I just type it in. I may be looking for another website of a
friend, I just type in the URL directly. That’s a navigational search.
Informational searches are exactly what you would think. People are looking
for information, could be local weather, getting a map, getting directions,
finding out about a particular subject matter, looking into health
information, all sorts of motivations for informational searches.
The extent to which you satisfy the intent behind informational searches,
navigational searches, transactional searches, by creating a website that
is easy to use, gives a great user experience, and has content in it that
is relevant, important, and generated, if you’re lucky, by you, then you’re
in good shape. That’s basically what this chapter is about.
There are samples of websites that I can demonstrate here, where you have
in this case, Eric Nagel’s site. The navigation up here will tell you a lot
about what this site’s about, so will the content that you’re going to find
here. People who come to this site are liable to be in affiliate marketing,
and they may have all sorts of different questions about PHP, different
ways that he consults, if they’re interested in him, you can find out all
about him, et cetera. Dale on the other hand, has a website that is very
informational, give you a lot of information about Internet marketing in
general. This one is about podcasting. He reviews a lot of books. He’s been
very successful online, especially with the purchase and sales of websites.
This is another website. This one is about, you can just take a look at it,
it’s about design. It’s pretty clear here what this site’s about if you
just look at just the graphics and the quality of the colors and look at
the headline of the article. Designers are becoming to this website. Here’s
one, another website. If you look at the navigation again, you’re going to
see SEO consulting, and that’s what this site is all about. Among many
other things, but the primary competence of the owner of this site, who’s a
well known expert on search engine optimization, right here, it’s a
That’s what they’re talking about. I just showed you four sites that have
great page rank, highly ranked, and they’re executing all of these concepts
very well. That’s it. I hope this video has been helpful. This is Claude
Pelanne of Affiliate Starting Line. Stay with it, stay well, I will talk to