Google has for many years been trying to get into the minds of its searchers, ultimately wanting to help users reach the information they need as quickly as possible.
So how are all these changes affecting your SEO and the content on your website? Well, to put it bluntly – a lot! None of us can stand still anymore, and your content needs to be regularly monitored and kept as fresh as possible.
The job of the SEO expert is to understand what signals Google uses to measure the quality of a website, as well as the quality of the user’s interaction with that website.
One key measurement is the pages from a specific site that receive the most clicks – for example, if a user searches for ‘blue widgets’ 50% of the time Google might show your homepage and 50% of the time it might show a category page about the different colours of widget that you sell. If Google sees more people clicking your homepage link, it might begin to prioritise the homepage in its results over other, perhaps more relevant, pages.
The other key is a combination of bounce rate – or how often users click away from your site as soon as they’ve arrived – and the number of additional searches they make in order to narrow down or clarify an initial search before they stop searching and settle on a result.
Where searchers need additional queries to get to the right information, Google may begin to adjust search results to better meet user intent. Where a particular site delivers a high number of bounces, Google may begin to show that site less frequently in its results. This means that having a site that users find simple and which answers user questions directly impacts your performance in Google results.
So having a program to continuously assess usability and improve is as important as building links to gain brand exposure, or adding content to keep your information fresh. Businesses should consider implementing a program of ongoing testing in order to ensure that they are delivering the best possible user experience and at the same time always improving the number of conversions they receive.