Today, searcher satisfaction is the hallmark of a good SEO strategy. The key to obtaining organic high page rankings entails a deeper understanding of audience niches. Content-based SEO thrives best, when it is attuned to searcher behavior.
SEO Trends: Searcher Behavior that Affect Relevancy Signals and Searcher Satisfaction
In this regard, Google determines the relevancy and usefulness of certain web pages based on “clicks and post-click” behavior among searchers. Here are four possible scenarios that happen when searchers do a research on a specific query:
- The searcher clicks on a website displayed on the search results but quickly returns to Google’s results page and clicks on the next few links. This implies that the searcher is dissatisfied with the information on the website he visited. Google sees this as a negative relevancy signal for a certain website, as it relates to that specific query entered by the searcher.
- The searcher clicks on a website and stays longer on the web page. He returns to Google’s results pages and further proceeds to click on the next link. This tells Google that the searcher found meaningful content on the website he landed on regarding his topic of interest and is simply looking for added information on his query.
- The searcher clicks on a website and quickly returns to Google’s results pages. He refines his query by modifying the keywords or entering more specific keywords. This usually means that it was the searcher who made a mistake in inputting his query, and will most likely not affect the relevancy signals sent to Google.
- The searcher clicks on a website, sticks around after sometime, returns to Google search and proceeds to input a new query. This relays a positive relevancy test to Google as the searcher has found what he has been looking for and has most likely proceeded to completing another task.
Factors that Affect Searcher Satisfaction
As can be deduced from the scenarios mentioned above, Google may use three signals to judge the presence of searcher satisfaction:
Higher bounce rate spells bad news. Bounce happens when a searcher clicks on your website and immediately leaves without initiating anymore interaction with your website. The bounce rate, as it is called, details the percentage of website visitors who have ‘bounced off” from your website.
A high bounce rate does not necessarily directly impact site rankings, but it can be reflective of bad page quality. Google thus uses bounce rates as a reliable gauge of searcher satisfaction.
Time spent on a web page
The time spent by searchers on a website is a favored metric among site owners and eMarketers, and is intimately correlated to bounce rates. If a searcher visits a website and spends more time reading through the pages, it simply signals that he has found valuable information that he is looking for. If a user leaves instantly, then it implies that the content offered is of little or no use to him at all..
Site organization and better content are requisites of an extended on-site stay. The longer the minutes spent by searchers on a particular site, the higher the opportunities to engage potential audiences – that is, there is likelihood that the users will sign up, purchase or share the valuable content found with other searchers who belong to their circle of friends.
Increase in search queries
When a searcher leaves the initial site source, returns to Google’s SERP and performs a series of searches relating to the same query, it means that he is looking for more information. This implies that the sites he landed on has not given him full information that he needs, or that he simply is looking for means to augment his original findings.
Searcher Empathy is key to Searcher Satisfaction
Considering that the average Google Search session takes less than a minute, website owners have a little more than a few seconds to make a good impression on their potential customers. The one minute mark is considered the average time it takes a for a searcher to complete his search, from the input of initial query and loading of the search results pages down to the selection of which websites to click on.
While the typical orientation in SEO is to quantify success and profitability based on numerical figures such as site traffic and ranking, one of the crucial components of better search rankings is interestingly deemed to be a subjective one: searcher satisfaction.
Thus, in creating content which induces searcher satisfaction, site owners and SEO practitioners must then use a practical approach, that is, to put themselves in the shoes of the searcher himself.
Sample Scenario: Hannah Searches Places to Visit in Singapore
To illustrate, suppose an online user named Hannah is interested to know more about the best places to visit in Singapore. Hannah enters the keyword “best places to visit in Singapore” or alternatively, “tourist destinations in Singapore” and gets a list of websites on Google’s SERP.
If you’re a website owner engaged in the travel industry, the goal is to get Hannah’s attention, hopefully stand out from competition, and present to her valuable content that responds to her query. To do this successfully, searcher empathy is necessary. After all, it starts with the basic question, “what does Hannah really want to know and what is she looking for?”
How to Induce Searcher Satisfaction
Here are some ideal practices to induce search fulfillment on what you offer on your website:
Craft meaningful, valuable content that is relevant to the query made.
To better respond to Hanna’s search query, craft your content based on the questions you think Hannah would want to pose. Invest in in-depth, accurate research and present the information to Hannah comprehensively and authoritatively. The information must be organized and easy to understand. Valuable content that is well-written and well-researched is already a step in the right direction. It guarantees that Hannah will come back to your website in the event she researches on the same query again in the near future or recommends your website to her social circles.
Generate a pleasurable user experience.
Good content is just the starting point. Next thing you want to focus on is your responsive, interactive design. Meaningful content is king with SEO, but a pleasurable user experience, which ranges from fast page speed, easy-to-use navigation schemes to interactive user interface, can likewise pave the way for a better overall user engagement.
Assist the searcher by providing helpful tools and resource links.
Be proactive and anticipate the next steps of the searcher. After Hannah reads content about the best places to visit in Singapore or the best tourist spots to visit in Singapore, then chances are, she will spend a few days in the City State. This means she will have to book hotels, create a vacation schedule and explore available modes of transportation. To further help Hannah in her online search, you can develop new content on these topics of interest or provide Hannah with helpful resource links and tools. You can suggest a list of hotels with brief reviews on them, suggest an itinerary for three days, and feature the modes of transportation available within the City to and fro the tourist spots earlier described.
The Advantage of Searcher Satisfaction on Rankings
Once Google acknowledges the signals, based on Hannah’s lengthy on-site stay, that your website is giving higher searcher satisfaction, there is a better chance of getting higher site rankings. This is because you appear more credible to Google. When Google acknowledges the relevancy of your site pages in respect to a certain query, it sees you as a credible resource website and gradually puts you on top of the SERPs the next time the same query is posed. Conversely, competitor sites with higher bounce rates and lower searcher satisfaction will likely get pushed down in the SERPS, while your site climbs atop.
To earn that top spot in Google’s site rankings, the trick is simple: understand your searchers better, as well as their searching behavior. Your site content and design must answer all the questions inside the searcher’s mind and enable him to complete tasks with ease.
Let us help you understand your audience better. Talk to us, so we can strategize how to induce searcher satisfaction that positively impacts your site rankings.