KEO Marketing

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Usability and Organic Search Rankings

Although not all search engine optimization practitioners agree, many SEO practitioners feel that usability should be the primary organic search ranking factor used by search engines as opposed to some current metrics which are more easily manipulated such as link popularity.

Many practitioners believe that search engines are using outdated and dysfunctional algorithms. These practitioners believe that search engines have some much user information at their disposal that it irresponsible to still rely so heavily on link popularity metrics to determine what is relevant. These practitioners believe that search engines are placing too much value in what happens before the click as opposed to putting value on the data gathered about how users behave after the click.

The common driving factor for this school of thought is the belief that if a user finds a page with useful information relevant to their search and the site easy to understand and navigate the user will remain on the site and actively engage in the content. Alternatively, if a user lands on a page then immediately returns to the search engine  this should notify search engines that the user did not find this search relevant. Proponents of usability factors believe search engines should place more value in bounce rate, engagement time, time spent on the site, actions taken and subsequent searches.

If search engines were to implement these changes it would have major implications for B2B Web sites. This change would mean that businesses’ marketing efforts would have to go beyond simply driving traffic to their Web site. It would mean a concerted effort on in creating quality content that engages the user as well as no more time spent link baiting/swapping/buying.

Although usability is not yet the driven factor in search engine ranking it is still extremely important. B2B marketers should consider the Web site user and do their best to ensure a quality user experience. Usability improvements not only helps businesses maintain customers, they can also help search engines provide users with relevant search results. A smooth and intuitive experience from search query to conversion is a sure way to guarantee a user will return to a search engine.

For more information about organic search rankings, contact KEO Marketing.


With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.