One of the most common criticisms hurled at SEO is that is manipulates sites based on what Google or Bing want rather than what users would like to see. Many perceive this as a conflict between SEO and good user experiences, almost as if SEO is antagonistic to an enjoyable website visit.
On the surface, this assumption makes sense, as SEO’s do tend to get wrapped up in pleasing algorithms rather than people, but good SEO and quality user experience don’t have to be mutually exclusive. There are plenty of times where focusing on both aspects of the web page create great sites that are popular for search engines, and many SEO practices actually benefit the user.
Sitemaps, for example, are an essential part of SEO strategy, as search engines do limited crawls, where many sites do not have all of their pages indexed by the engine. Having a well organized and updated sitemap, as well as simple navigation, you make sure the search engines index the pages most important for you.
These sitemaps and navigation systems have the added bonus of making users able to easily navigate a site. Nobody enjoys having to scour a website for the specific page they are looking for, and a well done navigation system quickly erases that issue.
Keyword based SEO practices also help both parties, as long as you keep your readers in mind while optimizing your text. All text-based content should be easy to read, but search engines rely on keywords in the blocks of text to understand what your site is about.
The problem is, this makes some SEOs starting placing the keyword every other word which is going to drive readers crazy. The general rules are to include the keyword in the title, headline tag, and body content, but no more than once in the headline tag and title. You can use it a few times in your content as needed, but not overdoing it is important. In fact, including the keyword too many times could actually hurt your site.
Sujan Patel over at Search Engine Journal has even more ways you can combine SEO and a user-experience focus to make web sites that make both the search engines and your visitors happy.