I just love talking about user experience. Nothing beats opening up a freshly purchased MacBook Pro or iPhone. Not surprisingly, it’s going to be similar for websites. Nothing will beat opening up a website that works intuitively with well written content, that fulfills what you’re searching for.
User experience is going to be the future of everything. Oops. I mean, SEO.
Last year, Google announce their third most important ranking factor. That is: Google rank brain. Simply put, it is a machine algorithm that helps Google further sort out and refine their search results. Google has also officially announced that this was their third most important ranking factor.
Let’s say you click on a page about SEO courses. You love what it’s written, you love the content, you love the user experience of it. There’s no annoying ads, no annoying pop ups, the copy isn’t scam-my, it might even instructive!
Okay, now let’s say you open up a page about SEO consultants. First, the page isn’t mobile friendly. It looks horrible on your phone screen. Secondly, there’s a huge annoying pop up getting your to subscribe to their newsletter. Thirdy, the content is horrible, instead of fulfilling your need of finding a consultant, they go off talking about ‘jet planes and making money online’.
You X it, and next, you’re faced with scammy promises in bright yellow words screaming at you: Google page 1 number 1 within 7 days!
You X it, and never come back again.
Google rank brain is going to take note, and give a rankings boost to the result that you stayed longer in.
Rankbrain Focuses on Two Things
- How long someone spends on your page.
The head of Google confirmed that Google uses dwell time as a ranking signal. The average dwell time for a top 10 Google result is 3 minutes and 10 seconds. If you can outperform that, you’re sure to get a boost in your rankings.
- The percentage of people that click on your result, also known as your click through rate.
It’s researched that if a higher CTR will get a permanent rankings boost. Well, if no one is clicking on your site, why should Google give you a permanent rankings boost? On the other hand, if your site is getting clicked on like it’s the best thing since sliced bread, why would Google keep it buried on the #9 spot?
How to Increase Time Spent on a Page?
- Remarkable, long form content
Useful and great content has been Google’s adage since day one. If you aren’t publishing long form content that is researched and useful, you won’t be ranking anything soon. I can guarantee that.
- Engaging writing
Humans don’t want just technical information. Imagine if I wrote this article without stories or real life examples. It’s as good as reading something out of a text book. You should add in personality, stories, jokes in your articles. You’ll also have to understand the language of your audience.
- Embedding videos in your content
This is a new technique in the book. You can embed a relevant and engaging video in your article, to show or teach you audience something related to your article. This way, you’ll increase your time spent on that particular page.
How to Increase Your Click Through Rate?
- Understand features and benefits
When you write your titles, you need to understand: what’s in it for your audience? They want a clear benefit. They want to get something out of clicking on your result. How can you include a clear benefit in your titles?
- Branding Your Techniques
When you brand your content or techniques, it’s shown to increase click through rates as it creates intrigue.
Instead of just writing a title termed: The steps to getting your dream job. You can write: The brief case technique to getting your dream job. (Credits to Ramit Sethi)
When you brand your content, you paint a picture in your audience’s head and you’re highly likely to increase your click through rate.
User Experience as a Whole
Look, I’m saying that you need to stretch out your content for the sake of publishing long form content.
There are SEOs that take these techniques too far and make you scroll forever just to read their content. This is a negative user experience. Yes, you may get higher time spent on page initially for your rankings, however, you’ll hurt your brand as a whole.
You also don’t want to be scam-my or spam-my with your titles. Yes, you may get a high click through rate shouting: Google Page 1, SEO Results Guaranteed. However, you’ll hurt your brand and user experience on the whole. There has to be a balance to it. Don’t overkill in your marketing.
Think of how a MacBook is designed and packaged. You want your website to work flawlessly and beautifully like an Apple product.
User experience is going to be increasingly a ranking factor for Google. This is especially so in the information economy. There’s a fuck ton of information out there on the web. What makes your content stand out from the rest? Is it the way it’s written? Is it the way it’s package? Is it the way your website works flawlessly?
Oh yeah, did I mention that mobile friendliness, site speed and SSL are all official ranking factors?
Yes, they are all officially announced Google ranking factors and all of them will contribute to your site’s user experience. You want your sites to work on mobiles, load fast and are safely secured.
I personally am HUGE on user experience.
Whenever I conduct any of my courses or services, I make sure I over deliver. I want my courses, services and content to work flawlessly, like an Apple product. I make sure I am my client’s most trusted advisor. When I publish SEO advice, I make sure every piece is personalized. It’s vanilla boring to just write about SEO jargon. I want you to go deep into how I think about SEO and marketing in general.
User experience is going to be an increasingly ranking factor in 2018 and beyond.