There is a lot of talk going around about what it will take to rank your website this year in 2016. New updates to Google’s algorithms and Panda and Penguin are coming, and SEO experts can only “guesstimate” what will change and how it will effect rankings. One thing that we can do is look at how SEO has evolved and the trends over the past few years to get a better understanding of what is to come.
Throughout the SEO world, there are a couple of things that everyone can agree on that will impact a sites ability to rank – Quality Content and User Engagement.
So lets look deeper into this, good quality content that the user is looking for, and will keep them on your website. It’s important to understand that user metrics do have an influence on your rankings. If a person lands on your site from Google search, doesn’t find what they are looking for and hits the back button to return to search, this is a negative ranking factor. It tells Google the searcher did not find what they were looking for on your site and returned to search to continue looking at other websites.
7+ Ways to Attract Searchers and Boost Your SEO Rankings
Optimizing your content for search engines means optimizing it for readers: Quality content wins in rankings as Google refines its algorithms to give searchers what they want.
While SEO tricks and shortcuts only serve to get your content penalized in the long run, that doesn’t mean that marketers should ignore how to use the underlying algorithms that cause quality content to be rewarded.
New findings about how Google incorporates user metrics to rank quality content can help you create content to achieve and measure specific key performance indicators. These KPIs help you place priority on the human perspective while still keeping Google’s methods in mind.
The good news is that since you’re practiced in creating content for readers first, you’ll find it easy to aim for these new KPIs to help rank your content even higher, reaching a wider audience with little additional effort.
Read on as I share which user metrics Google considers to determine rankings, and the steps you can take to optimize your quality content to reach the users who are searching for it.
What user metrics influence rankings?
If you ask Google directly how user metrics influence rankings, you’re not likely to get a straight answer. But a little digging makes it clear.
Google’s employees, including its former search quality chief and another member of the search quality team, have stated publicly that user metrics influence rankings. Many of Google’s patents mention user behavior as a ranking factor. Google has a patent dedicated to modifying search result ranking based on implicit user feedback, which states:
“User reactions to particular search results or search result lists may be gauged, so that results on which users often click will receive a higher ranking.”
But don’t take Google’s word. Many experiments indicate that user metrics directly influence rankings (in one particularly convincing case, Moz’s Rand Fishkin mobilized his Twitter followers to temporarily boost the rank of a link).
From the available evidence, we can determine that Google evaluates and ranks your content based on three main user metrics:
1 – Click-through rate – ratio of the number of times a given search listing is clicked vs. the number of times it was displayed
2 – Dwell time – how long searchers spend on the clicked-through result before returning to their search results
3 – Pogo-sticking – how frequently users click search results in succession (presumably because the result they clicked on didn’t satisfy their search)
It’s also important to point out that the dwell time spent on your site is also an important ranking factor, just like Aleh’s, results. We also see better results when people go to several different pages on the site and then the contact page, then close out the browser. This is a positive sign to Google that the searcher found what they were looking for, there for your site deserves to rank higher for that search term.
Some of you “do it yourself” site owners may not have any idea how to create a nice landing page and being able to engage your site visitors. We found this article from Stoney G deGeyter on Search Engine Journal that can help you build awesome landing pages that are engaging:
How to Make Every Web Page a Freakin’ Awesome Landing Page
Web marketers talk a lot about how to build the perfect landing pages. Do any search and you’ll find dozens, if not hundreds of articles on how to build landing pages that kick butt. You will undoubtedly find some great nuggets of information and wisdom.
But too often, these articles focus on building specific landing pages for a specific task. That’s great, but what’s missing is the reality that you don’t need to build new landing pages for your website. Rather, you need to make sure that every page on your site is a landing page.
That’s important enough to say again.
You don’t have to create a bunch of landing pages for all your marketing efforts. Those can be valuable, but not always necessary. What is always necessary, though, is making sure that every page on your site functions as a landing page of its own.
Every Web Page Must Have a Purpose
To be a good landing page, every page on your website must have a true purpose. That’s easy, you think. After all, who would add a page to the site without a purpose? (Asked the guy who never met an SEO.)
It’s true, every page has a reason for being added to a website, but that’s a far cry from having a purpose. It’s not enough to have pages designed to get top rankings for search engines. Heck, it’s not even enough to have a page to talk about a different avenue of your product or services. Both of these are good reasons for a page, but none of them really addresses its purpose for being there.
The question that has to be asked is, “How will this page help the visitor?” Again, disseminating knowledge is nice, but knowledge isn’t always what the visitor is looking for. In fact, I dare say that even those looking for “knowledge” are truly looking for something deeper than that. They want more than useful tidbits to shove into their overly crowded brain. What they really seek is something that will help them better their lives. That means they need to be able to use the information you’re providing.
Finally, while reading our extensive list of SEO blogs that we follow, we came across another article that had asked 77 SEO experts about what it would take to rank in 2016. Many of them stated that visitor engagement through good content was definatley going to be a factor, as well as site speed and social media. Here is a some of what Nikolay Stoyanov wrote about on his blog NikSto.com:
Top Penguin ranking factors in 2016 (as voted by 77 SEO experts)
Overall improvement of link quality
Quality of content
Real time features
Technical aspects, architecture and design
It’s a rather long article with short snippets from all 77 SEo’s. It’s well worth the read! If you really look at that list, 4 of them all end up pointing to Content on your site. Only link quality in the list is outside of this formula and doesn’t have anything to do with your site.
We’ve said it before, and here it is again. Long gone are the days of just throwing out content to get ranked in the searches. You must have good quality content that will engage the visitors to your site, keep them there (dwell time) and ultimately get them to close out their browser and call your business or SEO client.
Here is a quick video that will help you write your next post –