The two are inextricably tied together. How is it that SEO can make a site less user-friendly when our primary work is making the site attractive to visitors, potential linkers and search engines? These groups all have the same desire – high quality content, descriptive title tags and text & a usable experience.
Here’s the thing though – not all SEOs are the same. Not all SEOs are out there trying to make site more attractive or producing higher quality content. Some SEOs are real new to optimization and really don’t know any better. So as long as there is an SEO out there employing doorway pages, keyword spam, html spam – we’ll still be having this debate.
That’s why I feel it is important to talk about basic issues like conversions/tracking/analytics, if only to teach newer SEOs to continually think about how their optimization efforts are affecting the website as a whole. SEO is not conducted in a vacuum.
Make sure you drop by Rand’s entry and read up on the comments. There’s some good discussion going on over there.
Some quotes from the comments:
I think that a lot of people associate traffic with conversions. The belief is that the more traffic, the more potential to make a sale. The problem is that many shady SEO’s (so called SEO’s) prey on the business owners that believe in the traffic = revenue theory. Because of this I think that SEO is looked upon by many as a shady industry. Full of deception on both the user and the search engine level.
Keep in mind that not all high-traffic terms are convertable. The idea at that point is to build a site that is a resource and will have the viewer coming back so they make the purchase through you when they are ready (adds a bit to the concept of first impressions, don’t you think?).
Bottom line. You can’t focus on traffic. You need to be greedy and want the traffic AND the conversions.