Focus on user satisfaction and conversions
Those pages rank at the top that implement Google guidelines and guidelines. And according to the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, the current focus of the search engine is on user satisfaction: The user should get the best result – as precisely as possible the content that he was looking for and that corresponds to his intention. If you satisfy your users, you rank above.
So it is not enough to make the page look good, it also has to be useful. The higher the Page Quality Score, the better the ranking. Marketing and sales can use the generated traffic to to boost conversions: If the user feels well informed and picked up, he will sign up for the newsletter or order a product directly from the connected shop. Good content therefore offers added value that can be translated into an increase in sales for companies.
But when is the user satisfied? A number of needs should be met by the page that the search results page redirects to. Central to this are a clear page layout, structured content and working technology. This must fit if the user is to be held: The page needs good page speed, i.e. fast loading times, and must be optimized for mobile use. Buttons must be clickable and videos must be playable.
SEO trends: focus on readability and ease of use
The content and information must be relevant and offer added value. Ideally, they are complete, current, and accurate. Readability and user-friendliness must be guaranteed – also and especially on mobile devices. The Navigation must be clear advertising should not overload the page or limit its usability. Trust and security also play a role: For example, the encryption must be correct and the backlinks must be trustworthy.
From the author’s point of view, it makes sense to deal with the following questions in detail in order to pick up the user even better: Which questions does he have on which topic? What is his intention and where does he stand in the customer journey: does he want general information or is he about to complete a purchase? It depends on how he can be guided to achieve his goal.
SEO Trends: Find Search Intentions
Comprehensive research makes it possible to find out the search intentions of its users. Google’s tools – Analytics and trends – provide important information about user behavior and provide an outlook on expected search queries and histories. W-question tools cover search queries and their nuances across the board, and an eye on the competition also provides suggestions and can reveal gaps in content. Longtail keywords can be found via strategic search queries on Google. This creates a helpful list of topics and keywords with shorttail and longtail keywords.
The better pages provide answers to user questions, the more satisfied the visitor is and the user signals are correspondingly positive. With his behavior he sends direct feedback as to whether his expectations are being met or not. The following user signals are common:
- Time on site and bounce rate – how long does a user who comes from the search results page stay on the page?
- Does the user use longtail searches with more than one word?
- Does the user leave the page immediately and click on another result (short clicks)?
- How often is a page clicked (clickthrough rate)?
- What is the scroll depth?
Google evaluates user satisfaction based on the previously mentioned metrics. Important: There is no generally valid value for a good length of stay or a bad bounce rate. The benchmark is the search results of other competitors with which you compete. This benchmark therefore takes place at the keyword level, not at the branch or domain level.
SEO trends: interpretation of user signals
User signals are not necessarily unique, but must be seen in context. For example, if a user comes to a page from the search results page and clicks back into the search results a little later, the two key figures Time on Site (time spent on the page) and Bounce Rate (users who jump off without interaction) are not very meaningful. The intention of the user is more important in order to correctly interpret the short duration of the stay:
Was he put off by the side and left it immediately because of that? Or did he find answers to his questions at first glance – and did the site satisfy his needs within a very short time? The return-to-SERP rate, on the other hand, allows more specific conclusions to be drawn about the page quality: if a high percentage of users actually return to the search results page immediately, work should be done on the structure and content.
User signals and social signals = ranking factors?
The importance of user signals for the ranking, whether direct or indirect factors are involved, is not entirely clear. Around 200 factors influence the display of Google search results – in addition to content and user experience, the core areas of on- and offpage also play a role. It is clear that Google uses its own Chrome browser to measure user signals. Therefore, they are probably included in the ranking and are therefore SEO-relevant. Signals from social media such as comments and likes should not affect the search results of the SERP regardless of the platform. Nevertheless, one should not focus too much on Google – it is important to satisfy the user and not the search engine. And this is exactly what user signals provide feedback for.
SEO trends: levers for better user signals
There are a number of levers to satisfy users and to collect positive user signals. A first is to optimize snippets, the teasers that the user is shown on the search results page. If a high incentive was created to click, the site must also satisfy him afterwards. Content optimization with adequate text lengths, a clean structure and a holistic approach is user-friendly. This allows the visitor to quickly grasp the essential information – an important tip here is to provide the answer to the user question in the visible area, without the user having to scroll endlessly.
Checklists or body text – which is better for the reader? To answer that, you have to know your target audience. The content should illuminate a topic comprehensively and be interesting enough to keep the user. Google is a text search engine – that’s why text still belongs on every page. Appropriate illustrations, good photos or clear graphics or videos complete the picture, insofar as they complement the written word. This means that these media should express things that can be grasped on a visual level both cognitively and motorically faster.
So it is worthwhile to make both the user and the search engine equally happy. An online marketing agency like Leap Digital Marketing can help with this. Relevant content, a clean structure, good usability and suitable technical equipment: These factors will also influence the SEO trends in the second half of the year. The user signals can give site operators valuable insights on how well they are doing their job and whether the users are satisfied or not. Because even in 2020 SEO means meeting the needs of the user and answering his searches as best as possible. (sg)
About the author: Thomas Gruhle is the founder & CEO of Leap Digital Marketing GmbH in Berlin.
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