Between link building, title tags, cross linking, pushing out fresh content, and optimizing your copy with your keywords it’s easy for the main goal of search engines – to produce satisfying results to the user – to get lost in the shuffle. Yet Google uses satisfaction as a ranking factor. In fact, Moz.com speculates that this is one of the top measures used to judge and reposition search results. Let’s review how Google quantifies this seemingly relative metric and how you can boost your user satisfaction.
Understanding Google’s Definition of Satisfaction
Satisfaction seems rather vague and relative. So how does Google take this element and make it measureable? They look at user behavior after they click on an item in its search results. Satisfaction results in “long clicks,” which indicate that users chose a search result, clicked off to its website and did not go back to the list of search results. Essentially, this shows that the users found what they were looking for; they were satisfied.
However, when users are not satisfied with a website they found in a Google search, they click back to the search results, sometimes almost immediately (known as a “Short click”). When they continue to click through search results, popping back and forth between the search pages and the resulting websites, it’s known as “pogosticking” and it’s a clear sign that they are not satisfied with the search result. Another surefire way to determine that users are unhappy with the results their search produces: they abandon it altogether and try again with a new search query.
Ultimately, Google’s goal is to maximize the number of “long clicks” that its search results produce and minimize or eliminate “short clicks.”
What Happens When Users Aren’t Satisfied
As one might imagine, Google increases the rankings of satisfying sites and drops those who are not producing satisfying results. However, they have taken this one step further with their Panda update, which can predict user satisfaction and use these predictions to create their rankings. Google then re-indexes every few weeks, giving them updated data to push less satisfying pages down in their search rankings.
Boosting Satisfaction: Everybody Wins
When you make efforts to boost your visitor satisfaction, not only do you stand to improve your search rankings, you know that you are providing information that your visitors value, creating viable leads for your business. This becomes a positive cycle: you create valuable content that satisfies users, these users complete “long clicks” on Google search results, Google pushes less satisfying sites down in favor of your site, and so on. Google is happy because they are producing satisfying results for their users. Users are happy because they’re finding the information that they are looking for and you’re happy because you’re generating more web leads. Everybody wins!
Answer Their Questions:
When you create and optimize a page on your website, ask yourself if the information on that page answers the questions users will be looking for when searching for those key phrases. Do a quick Google search for the keywords on the page. Does the content you provide match up? If not, either adjust your content or reconsider other key phrases that are a better match for your content.
Make Information Easy to Find:
Web users aren’t patient. If the information they are looking for isn’t obvious, it’s on to the next search result. Make sure that the answers to users most important questions land above the fold on a standard computer monitor (or mobile screen).
Don’t Block Your Content
Hiding your content behind registration walls is a great way to produce short clicks. Again, web users are impatient. If they blindly land on your site without any prior knowledge of your company and are prompted to register before they can see any content, they will likely return to their search results to look for more accessible information.
Monitor your Loading Times:
Say it with us one more time: web users are not patient. If your site takes too long to load they’ll search for one that doesn’t. If your site takes just 250ms more to load than your competitor’s, users will jump ship.
Work with a Full Service Digital Marketing Team:
A full service digital marketing team is not only concerned with how Google perceives your content, but how it is received by your target audience as well. Working with a team of professionals who understand both how to reach and connect with your customers and the technical side of SEO leads to satisfied users and search engine success!