The terms “user” or “Internet user” denotes a person who use a computer and the Internet. However, the term “user” can have several meanings. It can generally describe a person who uses the Internet, in other words, surfing the net, or uses a user account on a Website. The term can also refer to a person who is a member of a social network or a specific Internet community. Moreover, web applications and software have subtle differences:

For example, a person with above-average knowledge of a particular application is called a power user because of their extensive experience with it. In contrast to this is the concept of the most stupid user imaginable. Such a person has little or no knowledge of the technology they are using. In the development of software and web applications, the SUE (stupid user error) is often taken into account to increase usability especially for users with little knowledge.

General information

There are various terms which relate to the term “user” in term of what they are doing with a web application or how they use them. Usability, user friendliness and User Experience are terms which describe user behavior in some way. Usability or user friendliness are often used to specify the requirements of a website or application, while user experience is more related to the subjective perception of a user. High usability is therefore an ideal that needs to be met in order for users to be satisfied with the application or website, and also so that the website or application can reach its predetermined goals. User Centered Design means that an application has been designed for the user from the outset. The users are the center of attention. Every concept for diverse web applications have to be to be oriented towards them.[1]


Various KPIs are used to analyze user behavior with regard to websites, which combined represent an overview of user behavior. However, these KPIs are only a quantitative consideration. If a web application is to be user-centered, the Architecture must be oriented to the real needs of the users. Concept Designers, programmers, and SEOs need some empathy and common sense.

Important KPIs are:

    • Page impressions of individual visitors (more recently called Users by Google!)
    • Click path: The user’s path through HTML documents
    • Bounce Rate: When a user leaves a website or clicks back
    • Length of Stay: How long a user stays on a website
    • Click-Through Rate: Ratio of page calls to clicks
    • Scroll behavior: Does the user also look at what is not above the fold?
    • What type of search queries? Informative Search Queries, Transactional Search Queries, Navigational Search Queries
    • What could be the user’s intention? What do they want, what do they expect?

What is the importance of users for SEO?

The user’s intention is an important Ranking Factor in SEO. The behavior and the interests of users play a big role for listing in results pages of the search engines. Search engines like Google try to match the results of a search to the user’s needs. Google gets this knowledge by changing the places of a search history and effects on user behavior are observed. Google will rate the fact that a website is not or only rarely clicked, although it is listed in first or second place negatively. The website does not appear to be relevant to users. It can also have the result that the website is removed from the top 10 rankings and slips down. The Click-Through Rate in the search results is thus reduced. The user behavior of clicking the back button and selecting a different search result is particularly noted, because this means that the website has not been of any use to the user and so they quickly exit.[2]

But this is not always the case. If a user is looking for a quick answer to a short question, he will leave a site after finding his answer. The bounce rate can also mean something positive. Search engines such as Google are currently trying to pay less attention to the keywords with which the user has arrived on a website. Instead, user behavior or the User Experience is the focus of attention.

The search engine Google tries to display the user’s preferred search results. The Search Plus Your World along with the Hummingbird Update and other changes such as the Knowledge Graph are an expression of Google’s user orientation.[3]

In order to analyze and understand the behavior of potential customers, factors from Web Analysis and Marketing can be utilized quite in addition to concepts such as Social Proof and insights from psychology.


  1. Notes on User Centered Design Process (UCD). Accessed on 04/23/2014
  2. How Usability, Experience and Content affect Search-Engine-Rankings. Accessed on 04/23/2014
  3. Searcher Personas: A Case for User-Centric SEO. Accessed on 04/23/2014

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