Optimize For Search Engines or For Users?

I am redesigning my website, {site removed} Which is more important: optimizing for the search engines or optimizing for the user?
Thanks,
Kurt Blackwood

Hello Kurt, and thank you for your question.

The great part about optimizing a website well is it is beneficial for both search engines and for the user. A great optimizer does not sacrifice search engine design, or a call to action for search engine placements. Instead, all elements should work together to produce a site that is search engine friendly AND user friendly!

A search engine’s job is to produce the best results for a user’s query. Sites that have a fast load time and contain quality content that is unique and informative are will place better based on search engine’s algorithms, AND those same qualities are helpful for the user of the site as well.

The same holds true for other SEO factors: a well optimized Title Tag (the title that is displayed as the headline in the SERPS) is one that will use your main keywords, which is good for search engines, and it should also be written so that it will drive traffic. Users are more apt to click on an enticing, well-written Title Tag that contains the keywords they were researching. This is true for the Header text, Meta Description (which sometimes pulls into the text the SERPS displays under the Title). alt tags, etc… The examples could go on!

The key to all this is the optimization has to be seamless and integral to the site, be well-written and informative. Optimization that looks like this in the title tag: keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword, or nonsense content in the body of the pages that uses the keyword awkwardly over and over is NOT considered a well-optimized site. Users will be turned off and turned away — and the SE’s might not think much of it in the long run either.

In short, a search engine wants the best site for a user’s search query to appear at the top. A user wants the information they are looking for ranked towards the top. The goal of your site is really one and the same.

About Sara Mannix

Sara Mannix is the CEO of Mannix Marketing, Inc., a Digital Marketing Agency headquartered in Glens Falls, NY. She founded Mannix Marketing in 1996 with a goal to get clients "found" on the web through organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The company now serves over 1500 clients worldwide and employs a team of nearly 30 specialists, still operating under the tagline "We Get You Found On The Web." This multifaceted company is an industry leader, specializing in organic SEO, Conversion Rate Optimization, SEO-friendly Website Design, Online Advertising, Social Media and more. Mannix Marketing also has one of the largest portfolios of tourism and city guides in Upstate New York. These guides, which include Albany.com, Saratoga.com, LakeGeorge.com, GlensFallsRegion.com, CliftonPark.com and Adirondack.net, reach over 10 million visitors a year. Corresponding social media profiles for the region extend this reach to millions more on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and more.