The process of search engine optimization (SEO) has come a long way from a rudimentary click-based system to a cutting-edge, AI-governed marvel. The way search engines work these days is dramatically different from what it looked like only five years ago. The main reason for this improved search experience is that the masterminds of SEO have put a user at the center of their work, creating a user-centric Internet system.
But how do they know what users will search for and how does that help them develop new tools for smooth web searches?
Google’s Ranking Odyssey in Cyberspace
Although most of the Internet users don’t rack their brains thinking about the structure lying beneath the surface, that very structure thinks about them all the time. This structure is called the algorithm, that is, Google Algorithm. This system remembers all the queries searched by Google users, to yield new results and improve the level of expectancy when it comes to new search engine entries.
What makes this powerful tool the predominant force in the SEO field these days is its proactive approach that elevates the entire process to a brand new level – the rapid introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into SEO.
To prepare for the future challenges on the global Internet scale, Google has introduced RankBrain – an AI tool that collects queries from Internet users and utilizes them to enhance future searches. By eliminating irrelevant, black-hat content from relevant and useful online places, RankBrain is the main tool in Google’s crusade against user-unfriendly web content.
Read more about the connection between AI, RankBrain and user experience here.
Traditional SEO Embraces UX
In line with all the exciting and innovative solutions described above, it’s important to analyze how the process of website popularization collaborates with UX (user experience) these days. It’s essential to know that some old-school strategies for improving the website visibility, like PPC marketing, are undergoing some significant changes these days. While they’re here to stay as helpful means of gaining recognition in the online surroundings, they need to be supported by some cutting-edge SEO features. These tools will be helpful for all types of online businesses, especially the small ones, who will be able to improve their online status in a more efficient way.
What is already happening is the process of blending SEO and UX. As a matter of fact, we are yet to see the real growth of this collaboration. Its main goal is providing users with valid and interesting content. The natural, organic growth of a website will play a more important role than its statistic figures. That way users will follow and share websites because of their quality and credibility. This is why Google rewards websites and online marketers who work hard to generate a new value. On the other hand, the black-hat efforts will be nipped in the bud.
Utilizing UX for Higher Ratings
Website owners and businesspeople alike have to follow the newest changes in the SEO industry if they want to get ready for the new landscape. So, in order to join the progressive team of proactive Internet trendsetters, you have to add modern UX solutions to your business agenda. This includes introducing several content-related innovations:
- Change the website paradigm. Treat it like a showcase of your business that has only one specific purpose – presenting your efforts to your visitors and alluring them to “stay tuned” to your frequency.
- Make it a two-way relationship. Encourage your visitors to play an active role on your website. You can’t tell if you’re doing the right thing unless you get feedback from the most important subjects of the entire process – the users.
- Make the website more interactive. Regardless of the type of the website, introducing engaging features to it will help you build a strong community of loyal visitors. For instance, introduce special badges for different accomplishments on your website. Also, those items should lead to some special features. An ecommerce website can offer discount coupons for every new purchase. Moreover, if your website has a forum, most relevant contributors can be awarded, too.
Big Ones – CTR, Dwell Time & Bounce Rate
The major concern a large number of website owners have is that they won’t manage to convince their visitors to stay with them. This is why they should gather data from some informative metrics, such as the click-through rate (CTR) and dwell time. The former shows how many users out of the total number of people who see it click on a specific link. For instance, Google monitors this metric on their search engine results page to learn more about the outcome of various queries.
Dwell time, on the other hand, is a measure that shows how much time has passed from the moment a visitor clicks on a SERP link until the moment he leaves the chosen website and returns to the results page. If the CTR rate is high and the dwell time metric indicates your website grasps visitors’ attention, your content does a great job.
Contrary to that, low CTR rates and short dwell time will result in a high bounce rate, which is a clear sign your website hasn’t managed to deliver user-friendly experience and that you should redo it.
Retaining Users & Introducing Changes
Changes are the only constant in the Internet surroundings. If now the predominant factors in SEO are RankBrain, Hummingbird and Panda, it doesn’t mean the situation will be the same in one-or two-year time. Therefore, you have to implement those cutting-edge UX-SEO solutions in your current online work, but also stay in touch with your loyal visitors and their desires.
For instance, if you’ve made your website more interactive and your customers are delighted with that innovation, don’t stop there. Continue analyzing the tracking data to find out more about your visitors’ habits and routines, to keep improving the quality and relevance of your website.
Moreover, it’s important to see what professionals reckon on the near SEO future and the changes it will bring. According to the visual design data acquired from Liquid Creativity, a brand agency from Melbourne, 94% of the first impression that a user gets from a website pertains to its design and esthetics, which essentially affect user experience. This is yet another reason to be cautious when planning changes on a website that successfully generates high traffic.
Since the nature of the Internet is changing you need to expand your knowledge of the Internet, even if you’re a “mere” website owner. Get familiar with new SEO techniques and apply handy UX features to your content management. Asking professionals when not sure what to do next is also a useful option. Always remember that the global network as a whole is a huge, but fast-changing organism that can offer a better life for millions of people. Do everything you can to be one of them.
About the author: Emma Miller is a Sydney based writer with a degree in marketing. Interested in digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends, she’s a contributor at Bizzmark blog.