Website Satisfaction Improves Search Engine Rankings

Web search guru Cyrus Shepard posted earlier this week on MOZ, some great insight into how search engines evaluate and use ‘satisfaction’ in the algorithms that produce the order in which search engine results are placed. With all the attention given to external linking, social media activity and other interactions that can also influence SERP placement, Shepherd really got back to basics. In discussing the fundamentals of user satisfaction he brought up the simple fact that user behavior once on a Web page probably influences future search engine placement – perhaps very significantly.

Understanding that all search engines endeavor to deliver exactly the information the user has requested, it only follows that they will evaluate the activity that takes place immediately following a search engine referral to see if they got it right. Does the user immediately hit the back button and try a different result? Does the reader stay on the page and consume the content and then venture onto other pages within that Website?

The Google sees all!  All this activity is tremendously important to understand. The ultimate Big Data collector, Google captures an incredible volume of search engine activity and interaction from which they can build finely tuned measurement systems to evaluate how readers interact with a given Web page.  The longer readers stay on a page or site after a search engine referral, the more confidence the search engine has that they have properly ranked their results properly.

This brings up multiple areas to look at when trying to improve your Web page and its search engine placement.  Among the considerations for improving ‘satisfaction’ and thus improving SERP placement then include:

  • Rapid page load speed
  • Easy to understand navigation
  • Easy access to content and page value
  • Good quality content (of course!)
  • Depth of content (to keep readers on the page)

This last point – depth of content may indicate a need to redesign or restructure some of the more important web pages on your site to provide more value and give readers a reason to stay engaged.  Landing page development should of course provide reasons to stay on the page, but they should also be easy to use and not inhibit one’s interest in consuming the content (such as an annoying pop up or request for more information).

With so much of the focus of SEO being on attracting natural links, this is a refreshing way to look at the SEO function. After all, what good is it to optimize a site and attract readers only to have them drop off.

In the end building a Website that gives readers what they are searching for is just good business. And… it keeps your site in good position on the search engine results.

 

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