Make a User-Focused Website to Improve Your Search Ranking

By Bruce Clay

When designing with SEO in mind, you may want to focus on making your site user-focused. The process of building your website so that it functions in a way that caters to the specific needs of your customers is called building a user-focused website, or designing for usability. A user-focused website is just as it sounds — a website that is created with a focus on users and their needs.

Designing a user-focused website means thinking about the preferences of your personas when you make decisions about your navigation, search functionality, visual elements, shopping cart flow, and any other elements of your website.

Whether you’re building your website from scratch or making improvements to an existing website, always keep your user’s preferences and needs in the front of your mind. Think:

  • Will this placement confuse the user?

  • Will this placement/font size/color/and other design aspects make my user happy?

  • Can I alter this design in any way to improve my user’s experience?

Keeping usability in mind keeps your end user happy, often resulting in more sales and conversions that in turn keep you and your boss happy, too.

Remember that SEO and usability are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they actually work hand in hand because many of the things that are good for human visitors are also helpful to search engines.

Usability may even make the search engine happy: Google lists “Focus on the user and all else will follow” as the number one item in its “Ten things we know to be true” company core values documentation. Keep in mind that you can never confirm the exact factors the search engines evaluate to determine rank, but you can look for clues and make educated guesses. Google’s listing of “focus on the user” as the number one priority in its core values is a pretty good clue.