How people interact with your site affects your SEO and search rankings. As you implement your search engine marketing (SEM) strategy, consider the usability of your website, the user experience, and the content you’re publishing.
Characteristics of Top Ranking Websites
When reviewing top-ranking websites for a query, you’ll notice they share similar characteristics. For example, the search results are easily understood and motivate users to click, user friendly, easily understood, highly relevant to the keyword query, accessible from desktop and mobile browsers, and include high-quality and credible content.
SEO is complex because no algorithm can understand a website precisely like a human. This makes it more difficult to predict which websites will rank highest in search results. However, analyzing the highest-ranking sites gives us clues as to how search engines attempt to decipher and rank websites.
User Experience Metrics
Usability and the user experience have a significant effect on rankings. Sites that provide a better user experience are more likely to rank higher in SERPs (search engine results pages). The affects are difficult to measure directly, but the evidence is nonetheless seen on the results page.
Much of the user experience is dictated by the content on the site and the ease of use.
The Role of Content Creation
Quality content has always played a significant role in SEO. The classic advice for content marketing is to create high-quality content to succeed. With SEO, the quality of the content impacts the site’s net positive or negative ranking.
Algorithms cannot discover the quality of content based solely on the content, so they look for different markers that indicate whether the content is valuable and worthwhile for visitors. Google’s algorithms use several signals to judge content:
- Engagement: Search engines may measure how long a person visits a site when clicking on search results. The longer the person stays on the page, the more relevant the page is to their search. After clicking on a search result, users who quickly abandon the page may signal that the page did not meet their needs.
- Machine Learning: Google, in particular, uses machine learning with their algorithm to predict the quality of a page relevant to search queries. Computers recorded the results of human evaluators who separated poor content from good content. This information was used to develop Google’s RankBrain, which was launched in October 2015.
- Linking: What may have started as a measure of the total number of direct backlinks has turned into a vastly complex system for ranking based on a wide variety of link factors. Sites with better content generally attract high-value backlinks organically, earning a higher spot in search results.
Search Intent and SEO
Each user has a different motivation for their search. The role of the content creator is to make content that fits the needs of their target audience. First, you need to understand what those needs may be. Why do people perform searches – Do, Go, Know?
- Transactional Searching (“Do” ): These searches are done in order to help the person complete a task. This can include direct transactions like making an online purchase or non-financial transactions, including finding a business location or checking if an item is in stock.
- Navigational Searching (“Go” ): Many people may not know the direct URL of the site they want to visit. Many searches are performed to help the person find a specific website.
- Informational Searching (“Know” ): These searches are preformed when a person wants information, but is not necessarily intending on completing a transaction. Quick, in-depth informational searches are for the purpose of finding an answer to a question or learning more about a topic. Examples include searching for a weather forecast or learning about the universe.
As a content creator, fulfilling the needs of a searcher is paramount to ranking high in search engines. Furthermore, the entire user experience, including all forms of content, must be positive for visitors coming to your website via clicking on a search result.
Image Building Media
Image Building Media is an internet marketing company based in Tampa, Florida, and serving clients in various industries throughout the U.S. We specialize in internet marketing, including SEO, social media marketing, website design, content marketing, video marketing, email marketing, SMS marketing, mobile web marketing, online reputation management, CRM integration, and more. We also provide consulting services, including conversion analytics.