Search engine optimisation versus Website usability—conflicting requirements?

Visser, Eugene Bourbon; Weideman, Melius

Information Research

Visser, E.B. & Weideman, M. (2011). "Search engine optimisation versus Website usability—conflicting requirements?" Information Research, 16(3) paper 493. [Available at http://InformationR.net/ir/16-3/paper493.html]

ABSTRACT.
Introduction. The objective of this research was to prove that implementing search engine optimisation elements that are in contradiction to Website usability attributes is essential to improve rankings. Method. Three Websites were use: the control Website was used for benchmarking purposes; the experimental Website was created to conduct additional experiments for Website usability and triangulation purposes; and experimental Website two integrated all on-page search engine optimisation elements but ignoring all contradictory Website usability attributes. Analysis. Quantative statistical analysis was conducted on the data by means of the univariate analysis of variance test, the linear regression analysis and the Kruskal-Wallis test. Results. Experiments indicated that the implementation of search engine optimisation elements is essential to improve rankings and that Website usability attributes are essential to increase conversions (such as purchases) and thus return on investment. Conclusions. We confirm that on-page search engine optimisation elements have a direct impact on how commercial search engines interpret Web pages in terms of ranking. Secondly, search engine optimisation elements that are in contradiction to Website usability were identified. Finally, we conclude that the application of both search engine optimisation elements and Website usability attributes are essential for maximising conversion generation.
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