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Users: The New Search Engine Ranking Factor

Content No Longer King?

Is content no longer king with SEO?In days of old (you know, like, 5 years ago, that’s days of old right?) the major concern that SEOs focused on was content. When creating a website and optimizing it for search engine optimization the first priority was creating a ton of keyword rich content for search engines to read through and hopefully find the website a credible source. Today, things have changed in a big way. Don’t think that content has been forgotten, it hasn’t. But it isn’t the only key to success with SEO. There is much more to the picture in 2017.

Content + User Experience + Usability = SEO Success

It seems that the things that really do show that someone trusts a website are now true ranking factors for search rankings. As search engines are constantly striving to provide the best search results, it seems they have stumbled over a reliable formula: Content + User Experience + Usability. The user is now, more than ever, helping determine what results other users see in their search results. So when you are building your website, what should you pay attention to so that the user behavior reflects what the search engines expect?

  • Easy, intuitive site navigation
  • Clean, professional design
  • High quality, factual content

Google and other search engines are depending on site interaction factors to determine what is going on with site pages themselves. Since a search engine can’t watch a video or understand content completely, it’s using behavior triggers (that you can gain insights to in Google Analytics!) to help determine rank. By observing factors like bounce rate (when users click on a result and then immediately hit the back arrow bouncing away from your site) or time spent on a page, a search engine can better determine the quality of the page to the user.

Google released the Panda update to the search ranking algorithm in 2011. It has been updated many times since, always changing and bettering the way it can judge content quality. Since then they have added machine learning (scary!) that can “think” like humans can to predict what humans would judge as low quality content.

The moral of the story is to create and optimize a website that is easy to user with quality content. Don’t forget mobile when creating your site. Make sure your site is responsive, and looks great on tablets and phones. Consider that people will be reading content on their phones more and more frequently, so don’t keep them scrolling through content forever. Keep it interesting, interactive, and clean.

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Websites to Impress, Inc is excited about where SEO is going. When we build a website we build it with all of the factors above in mind. If you start with great design and clean code, you can start your digital marketing off on the right foot. With a full service digital marketing company like WTI, you can take right off with SEO, social media marketing, pay per click, and more to expand on your website. We also user all the tools available, including Google Analytics, to monitor the behavior of users on your site. So let’s get started today. From design to digital marketing we have content, plus user experience, plus usability in mind!