Understanding Search Usability – Part 2

search engine land logoThe second article in this series by Shari Thurow – the first was called Understanding Search Usability – looks at what is described as “search behaviour realisation”, and understanding this “is a big step as it has multiple components applicable to SEO.” These steps are described as:

  1. Identifying types of search behaviour
  2. Understanding how these search behaviours are all related
  3. Designing a web site that addresses all or most of these search behaviours.

The article continues:
Search-engine friendly design has never been as simple as making a crawlable web site. Then again, some web designers/developers do not always create crawlable URLs, you know?

The next big step, in my opinion, has to do with the degree of objectivity in understanding searcher behavior–not only the SEO professional’s objectivity, but also their clients’ objectivity.

The article looks at understanding the searcher experience and gives three things to remember during search usability evaluations. These are:

  • You are NOT the user
  • Even if a user fits a profile, persona, or role, a user is not objective or accurate about evaluating his own behaviour
  • Users are not always right.

Shari’s article concludes:
Search usability is a complex subject. There are many types of search behaviors, and plenty of elements on a web page that need to be formatted in such a way to accommodate these behaviors. At the forefront of understanding search usability is to observe and listen to users objectively. Focus groups, web analytics, and A/B and multivariate testing are all ways in which search engine marketers try to understand their target audience. Don’t rule out usability testing.

To read all of Shari’s article, go to Search Engine Land at searchengineland.com/080110-145013.php