In Don’t Make Me Think, Steve Krug gives a spot-on guide to website usability— all that stuff that helps visitors to your site find what they’re looking for. What Krug’s book doesn’t touch on is the relationship between usability and search engine optimization (SEO) —how visitors actually find your site in the first place.
I really don’t fault Krug for this (too much) since it’s not his area of primary expertise, and there’s plenty written elsewhere on SEO. Still, a nod to SEO might have been nice since some principles of usability that Krug advocates can appear to be in conflict with best practices in SEO.
If you’ve read Krug’s book along with a few guides to SEO, you probably know what I mean.
The current maxim for SEO is “content is king” with textual content sitting high atop the searchability throne. If you want search engines to find your site, you need good copy. A picture may say a thousand words to most of us, but to bat-blind Web crawlers, a picture only whispers whatever you can squeeze into its alt tag.
In contrast, to make sites more user-friendly, Krug suggests you “Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.” (Cue hearty shouts of approval from graphic designers everywhere.) Read the rest of this entry »