Many companies aim for their websites to rank high in search engines, but it’s a moving target. Google, for example, updated its algorithm 3,234 times in 2018 to meet the needs of users (with an emphasis on the “optimization” part of SEO). Maybe you remember when Google featured snippet Also, it disrupted the numbered ranking system of search pages. Because the snippet’s goal is to provide a simple answer from strong content, it may come from the second or fourth website that appears on the search engine results page rather than the first. As a result, 34% of desktop users Don’t even click on a web page, as your questions are answered by a featured snippet on the search results page. This may seem like a cheap tactic to hog traffic, but it is not. Prioritizing the seeker’s experience On the hierarchy of web pages, Google ensures satisfied users. Search engine optimization should no longer be your primary goal. The ongoing change in Google’s algorithm over the past decade indicates a new market focus on meeting user expectations. In this post, I will do my best to open the curtain and show you how improving the user experience on your site will also improve your ranking and increase traffic.
Search engine engagement metrics
Before delving into the metrics that are likely to be correlated with a rise in rankings in the age of user experience, it’s worth noting that no search engine is an open book. Google notifies the public when it updates its core algorithm, but is notoriously secretive about this proprietary information. With this in mind, here are some user engagement metrics that Google and other engines seem to prioritize.
In 2015, Google announced that mobile optimization would become a contributing factor to SEO rankings. Half of all searches originate from mobile devices. devices, after all. Google recommends responsive web design that accommodates desktops, phones, and tablets, and rewards mobile-optimized sites with higher SERP rankings. This opens up another potential benefit: placement in Google’s coveted “local pack.” The local package is the set of three companies that appear in Google search results. Formerly Google highlighted seven businesses there, but the number has since been reduced to maintain a mobile-friendly design.
We’ve already mentioned that Google’s algorithm has changed dramatically, especially since the old days of keyword stuffing. The first change allowed Google to judge not only the use of keywords, but also how they are used. During this phase, the keywords and phrases had to appear naturally. If they detracted from the readability of a page, Google would penalize the ranking of that page. After the 2013 Hummingbird update, the search engine algorithm considers the general meaning: it realizes that a page is more than the sum of its keywords. For example, if you searched for “What is the fastest animal?” Before Hummingbird, a page would have to use the keywords “faster animal” in various places to communicate the topic to Google crawlers. Now, with semantic search, Google can compare search intent to content on a page to provide a better search experience. More recently, Google helped search engines by implementing BERT. This technology was designed for users who are increasingly searching by asking questions. Consider search intent by analyzing how a word relates contextually to the words that precede and follow it. Most of the searches performed via speech recognition are questions, so this advance will likely benefit Google in the future (Comscore predicts that half of all search engine queries will be voice searches by 2020).
The dwell time metric is determined by the amount of time a user spends on a page before returning to a search engine. Search engines use this metric to judge the relevance of a page to a user’s query. If a user stays on a page for a long time before returning to the SERP, then that page is probably more valuable than others. Browsers such as Google Chrome, which use 81% of W3School’s 50 million monthly visitors As of August 2020, know how long a visitor stays on a page. Time spent is an important indicator of relevance and quality, so web designers should aim for visitors to stay on a website for as long as possible. Unfortunately, dwell time is one of the many metrics that only search engines have access to. However, you can still use other data to measure user engagement on your own site. Tracking metrics like time on page, bounce rate, and conversions of your landing pages can provide crucial insights into the value your users are getting from their experiences with your website.
4 ways to increase user engagement on your website
Realistically, it’s easy to understand how a great user interface has the potential to boost search rankings, but making it happen is another story. Let’s take a look at several of the best UX SEO practices.
1. Augmented reality
In 2017, beauty and personal care store Sephora released the Visual Artist update on their app. Users can virtually try on lipsticks, eye shadows and other cosmetic products from the comfort of their own home. This small change focused on user experience resulted in a report organic revenue growth of 14% parent company LVMH. Augmented reality is becoming more and more accessible to smaller companies. It is quite common to find eyeglass retail websites, for example, that increase user engagement with AR features that allow shoppers to virtually try on glasses. You can also use this technology to include customers in the experience of launching a product. Jordan Brand did exactly that with the launch of their Air Jordan III Tinker sneakers. Sneaker fans can scan a Snapchat code, shop through Shopify, and have the shoes delivered to local fulfillment centers during the day.
2. Interactive tools
Increasing user engagement is as simple as finding ways to grab a website visitor’s attention. Interactive tools and activities that take up a user’s time (and provide value) are essential when creating a world-class search experience. This could be something simple, like a mortgage cost calculator on a home loan website, a responsive chatbot, or a live user survey feature on your landing page. Warby Parker, for example, has enhanced the online prescription eyewear retail web experience by offering an online questionnaire to choose the right frames. The simple quiz provides personalized fashion advice and guides visitors through their sales journeys. In fact, if you use a tool like SEMrush to identify the pages with the most traffic From a popular website, you will often find that they are interactive. These tools keep users interested. By event tracking facility Within the tools, Google Analytics can report how attractive they are.
3. Video content
Many marketers fear that video content will slow down their pages and cause the bounce rate to skyrocket. This is a valid concern, but it may also be worth the risk. Video is easier for people to process and can encourage someone to stick around 2.6 times more On a website. Well placed video improves dwell time and increases ratings. For example, Toyota used video in its interactive Campaign “Choose Your Wild” for your 4Runner vehicle. Video engages potential customers by allowing them to go virtually “off-road” in the vehicle while allowing the company to gather information on customer preferences in a fun and discreet way.
4. Lead magnets
Surprisingly, some of the most effective ways to ensure that you are providing an exceptional user experience are by no means innovative. Lead magnets with closed content are not a new tool in the digital marketing space, but you will find that you will control your audience well by understanding their needs and producing applicable content. After all, the subtext of Google’s move toward user-friendly web pages is actually ensuring that high-ranking pages are valuable content resources. You will improve the user experience and prioritize conversion optimization at the same time. Bidsketch uses this approach: offer a free sample proposal in exchange for a voluntarily disclosed customer email address. Content-heavy websites like The Oatmeal and BuzzFeed similarly capture email addresses by offering questionnaires (which also improves user engagement and time spent). Try offering various free “benefits” such as lead magnets, such as spreadsheets, tutorials, generators, or calculators. By keeping users engaged with valuable and meaningful content, you will not only create happier visitors (and perhaps brand advocates), but you will also rank high on Google. Whether that engagement comes from augmented reality, interactivity, videos, lead magnets, or some other approach, it can make a difference in the success of a company’s user experience and SEO efforts.