Whereas in the previous sections we discussed the things that can present problems only for a website owner, usability flaws will directly impact users. SEO audit also includes usability testing. If a page has a high bounce rate and the technical tests show that hosting, links and everything else is great, check your usability. It is inevitable for quality website promotion.
How to check website usability?
Testing parameters are clear from the very meaning of the word usability. Usability is how easily something is used. However, in terms of website promotion, this term is much broader. Website usability shows how effective, useful, and relevant to the user a site is.
- An Effective website meets, or better yet exceeds, user expectations. It helps visitors to quickly and easily solve the tasks that brought them to the website.
- A Useful resource promptly provides users with the necessary information without the waste of time, money, and effort.
- A Relevant website, at last, becomes the Holy Grail searched online by users. This means that it fully meets their expectations or needs and provides a clear answer to particular search queries.
These metrics, effectiveness, usefulness, and relevance are researched in the process of usability analysis and website audit.
Why do you need usability analysis?
Usability is critical to any website.
- If a resource is inconvenient to users, they will find another website that will be more easy-to-use and can save their time and effort.
- If visitors don’t see the necessary information on a web page, they cannot understand what the resource is about and what it is used for. Predictably, within a few seconds they will leave to find a place which doesn’t cause unnecessary questions.
- If you don’t answer the questions of users but provide a lot of useless and superficial information, they will go to your competitor who can quickly and completely satisfy their needs.
The importance of usability for website promotion can be shown based on the example of two consumer goods stores with professional and unprofessional salesmen. The store that provides visitors with understandable, specific, and complete information about the product will have a new buyer. And the other one, where the salesman will flounder, talk off the point, or even stay silent will get nothing.
Sample usability audit of apple.com
1. The menu highlighted on the image below should be pinned on the category pages since after scrolling it disappears. As a result, users have to scroll up to go to another product.
2. For the Mac category, the website owners need to create an Н1 that would be relevant to the category. There is no H1 header on this page which negatively affects website promotion.
3. The product page has the wrong order of headers. The H1 much go first and then the others. Moreover, the H1 and H2 tags have the same content which is considered a duplicate element.
4. The header shouldn’t include icons.
5. On the category pages, each element of the block is active and has links.
It also includes Learn more with the same links as the block. The apple.com should remove this text or the links it includes for more effective SEO advertising.
6. These elements should be converted to span preserving the styles.
7. These blocks should be active and include the Learn more link.
8. Too large photos and excessive space between the blocks significantly increase the scroll length so much hated by users. Apple.com must add the Up button, which is inevitable with such a scroll depth.
9. The main menu is only pinned on the main page. On the category pages, it disappears once you scroll. Since the scroll length on every page is quite big, users have to return to the top to go to another page, which is pretty inconvenient.
10. The search is also worth attention. It provides various search suggestions. After the SEO audit, we can recommend adding another 10 phrases popular among users.
11. If you go to the cart without adding a product, you will see the message that the cart is empty and will be invited to Apple’s accessories store with a common online store design.
Yet for better conversion, the cart should also display the list of all categories.
12. The H1 header should be added in the Accessories store.
13. The iPad page should include all models, whereas the See all models button must be removed. The thing is that there are only five models, three of which are immediately displayed. It’s better to add two iPads and remove the unnecessary button. Sometimes such unnecessary actions can make users leave and harm website promotion.
14. It would be great to add the link to the Accessories store to the main menu since this section can be accessed only from the cart. This is a thought-out solution based on the idea that users can buy the necessary accessories when they finish the order. However, the users who already have Apple devices and need something additional may face problems finding the Accessories store from the main website.
Usability optimization of the mobile website version
1. The menu should be cropped.
2. This menu is scrolled right or left. It would be much more convenient to users if the icons are smaller and don’t require scrolling.
3. Again, the main menu is unpinned. In the mobile version, this causes the same inconveniences as in the desktop version.
4. This text should be hidden with the help of a drop-down. It’s better to display the first paragraph and show the rest after the Read more button is clicked. This will significantly reduce the scroll length and have a positive impact on search engine advertising of the website.
5. The county selection list should be divided into two columns. This will greatly reduce the page length.
Usability is the face of your website. The look of the face will influence the user opinion about your resource, business, products, and provided services. A regular usability analysis must be based on three metrics – website effectiveness, usefulness, and relevance to user queries.
A regular SEO analysis helps websites stay afloat and not get lost among numerous similar offers. An automatic SEO audit is conducted at least once per month, whereas the full SEO website analysis must be conducted every six months. This allows you to assess your work and achievements.