Seo, usability and web analytics: an integrated approach

Those who work in the online space have heard of SEO, usability and web analytics. What’s more, many of us have carried out some optimizations related to these disciplines.

But how often do we think about how they are interrelated? It’s common to worry about being well positioned in search engines for specific searches (SEO); however, we often neglect to analyse the usability information or how our users behave on our website.

This article aims to focus on the multidisciplinary character of web professionals (webmasters) and suggest how these subjects can be integrated in order to achieve the final objective; maximizing income, be it by means of sales, advertising or commission through affiliation.

We will start with some definitions, which will help us to understand the context;

-          SEO.  A discipline that consists of obtaining top positions in search engines, for a specific search. The main aim is to attract qualified traffic to a website. By qualified traffic we mean relevant users; users aligned with our business objective and with the relevant section. For example, if I carry out a search for “computer discounts”, the user should be directed to the “discounts on computers” section and not to a generic “discounts” one.

-          Usability. The discipline that endeavours that a website is user-friendly and that objectives are fulfilled; it involves maximizing effectiveness (achieving objectives) and efficiency (doing it in a quick and easy manner).

-          Web Analytics. A discipline that consists of compiling and measuring information on the use of a website and more importantly, explaining and understanding this information, with the aim of carrying out an improvement and optimisation process.

But, how do we integrate these three disciplines? We can break down the relation with a customer into three phases. Firstly, the acquisition phase, in which we attract potential customers. Then, the retention phase, during which we must convert potential customers into real customers, and make them return. And finally, the optimization phase, in which we want to ensure that every customer’s visit is as profitable as possible (more items purchased, more pages visited…).

So, at the beginning of an online project, the acquisition and retention phases are key and as the project advances, the optimization phase gains importance. However, the three phases are all absolutely necessary: it is of no use to find customers if they don’t return or if they don’t carry out activities that provide income.

Now it becomes more interesting. Each one of the disciplines we have mentioned performs a clear function in respect to our users/customers. The SEO helps us to make ourselves known and to find customers (acquisition); usability helps our customers to complete tasks with ease and helps them to have a positive user experience. As a result they will return to our website (retention). Finally, web analytics helps us to understand and consequently select these customers in order to maximize our profits.

seo-usability-web analytics

Of what use is attracting web traffic if the user leaves the page just after entering it? What page of my website do my users usually leave? Could this page be improved? Does my users’ behaviour have a different pattern according to the source of traffic? The different disciplines we are dealing with provide answers to these questions, and allows us to reach the common objective: increase the revenue of our website.

The ideal situation in large companies is to have professionals specializing in specific areas, with one person in charge of coordination (it could be the “Product Manager” or a “Project Manager”). In smaller companies such specialization is difficult; however, it is useful to know what each discipline can provide. For this reason tools such as Crazyegg (usability) or Google Optimizer (web analytics) exist. They are easy to use and produce very interesting information.

About the Author

Sociologist, Web developer, blogger, SEO specialist and digital marketing expert. Jose Llinares has worked in different fields such as business development, online education and online marketing agencies. He also has a Master in Digital Marketing at Instituto de empresa. He works right now at the digital adgency Nurun as SEO and Social Media strategist.