Secret sauce of search engine rankings
Gone are the days of writing content specifically targeted at search engines. The mantra “Content is King” has officially been replaced with “Relevant Content is Godly.” Relevance is extremely important these days because focus has shifted from creating content that search engines understand to creating content that results in high-quality end-user experiences. Engines have their secret sauce, but it has become abundantly clear that search engine algorithm changes are now increasingly prioritizing great end-user experience.
What does that mean to content creators?
Search engines also use web analytics. They can measure inferred and direct user interaction with your website and their search results pages. For example:
- Engines can infer user experience by measuring bounce rate:
If a user clicks on a link to your site and eventually comes back to the same results page to visit another link, the engine may use that information to either favor or hinder your website’s rank in future results pages for that specific keyword.
- Engines can infer user experience by measuring search refinement rate:
If a user isn’t sure of what they should be searching for to get relevant results, they may test different keywords. If a search user clicks on a link to your website but comes back to the search engine and refines the keywords they used, that may affect the positioning of your site for the original keyword, and the follow-up query as well.
- Engines can even directly measure user interaction on your site:
Many browsers support toolbars, some built-in and some as add-ons. If users don’t opt-out of “anonymous usage statistics,” these toolbars can feed metrics back to search engines for potentially all web pages visited by an end-user.
Remember how I said “gone are the days of writing for search engines”? It’s true. Search engines can sniff out a bad egg; there are hordes of people that try to game the system . So, when you’re designing websites and crafting web copy, make sure you are designing and authoring for great end-user experience that’s relevant to search queries you want that content to rank for.