Search Engine Optimization is an industry that was born out of the modern web and search engines like Google. Its entire focus is the constant and unending pursuit of understanding what makes one site rank higher than another. It’s exhausting, and just like search results these days, there’s a lot of options.
The future of SEO is dependent on the people who are using it and what they want from platforms like Google. There’s a science to everything, but the more sophisticated search algorithms become, the more they think like people. It’s time to start thinking like people as well.
The Future of SEO: Turning Metrics into a User’s Experience
SEO has never been about one thing like keywords or backlinks. It’s always been a giant jigsaw puzzle that everyone is scrambling to fit together. One thing that has risen above the noise in recent years, is the need to address the user at every level.
What do they want from their results? How can we answer their questions or meet their needs in a way that no one else can? These are the questions at the heart of Google’s ever-shifting algorithm, and it represents the ultimate goal of both SEO and search engines. We’re both searching for the perfect answers to our user’s questions.
Successful online businesses know that keeping customers happy is the key to long-term viability. If you ask a USA-based SEO services agency to help you get your site to rank higher, it involves improving that core user experience through everything they do. Even something as innocuous as keywords can contribute to the experience by giving you relevant topics of discussion around a broader subject.
A study done by Harvard Business Review found that a simple 5% increase in customer retention resulted in a 25% boost to profits. This retention is based on their experience, and that’s what Google is focusing on in ranking search results.
Not the most keywords, not the most links, or even the most words. No, they’re ranking based on the experience.
So, how do you know what user’s think of you website’s experience? Keep a close eye on these three metrics:
1. On-Page Time
The amount of time people spend on your page is a clear indicator of how satisfied they are with the content you’re providing. If you matched their search intent exactly, then you’ll find that they stayed long enough to read everything before they left.
If they only stayed for a few seconds, then it’s clear you didn’t have what they were looking for. In situations like this, it’s important to look at your keywords that you’re targeting and the search queries you rank for. How can you better serve the needs of that user’s search intent? What do they want to see when they hit the page?
Questions like these have long been the foundation of SEO, but they will become even more important in the future.
2. Bounce Rate
When a user visits your site and then leaves before visiting any other pages, you’ve got yourself a bounce. The bounce rate is the percentage of times this happens. In many cases, people will start with a higher result and “bounce” to a lower one looking for the content they need.
This is another indicator of how well you’re serving the needs of your users. You can use this metric in conjunction with the one above to better understand how your content and your design is serving the needs of your users.
3. Click-Through Rate
Finally, we have CTR, which is important because it shows Google that people choose your site over the others in the results. Believe it or not, this rate isn’t affected by your use of keywords. It’s actually more affected by how persuasive your title tag and meta descriptions are.
The average user doesn’t care what position you rank in, they simply want to see your title and meta description contain the content they’re looking for. A Strong and persuasive approach to these elements can give you the click over a higher site every day of the week.
While these are normally generated by pulling data from your page, you can customize them using the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress.
The future of SEO is something that no one, not even Google, can predict with perfect accuracy. The internet and the needs of users are constantly evolving, but if there’s one thing SEO will always focus on, it’s the user experience. Keep these metrics in mind as they become more and more important. How do you prepare for future changes to SEO? Let us know in the comments!