Why is a Quality User Experience an SEO Ranking Factor? Here’s Why with Mark & Eric


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Giving your site visitors a great user experience can actually result in valuable positive signals for search engines. Providing valuable and unique content to your visitors is key to preventing them from leaving, or bouncing from your site. In this episode of Here’s Why, Mark and Eric will explain what it takes to create a truly great user experience.

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Full Transcript:

Mark: This place is sure nice, but I’m a little hungry, I could go for something to eat. Woah, that’s nice! Hmm, how ’bout a cold drink? How ’bout a COLD DRINK… ahh! Nice! That’s what I call a great user experience. Now, giving your site visitors a great user experience can actually result in valuable positive signals for search engines. Why? I’ll ask Stone Temple Consulting CEO Eric Enge to explain in just a moment.

Mark: Eric, what do we mean by a “quality user experience” on a website?

Eric: Great question Mark. There are of course a lot of possible definitions for quality. But here’s an easy way to think about it. Let’s imagine one hundred people come to one of the commerce pages on your automotive site.

They got there by searching on Google for a phrase like auto parts. Now, how many of those people end up being happy with their experience on your page? We all know it won’t be 100%. After all, no matter how good your page is, it won’t have exactly what some people are looking for, and they’ll quickly leave.

Others might like the products, but something is lacking about the page or site that causes a lack of trust, and they leave. The list of what people were looking for on your page might look something like this.

Mark: So, what are some of the reasons a visitor to the page might not be ready to buy?

Eric: You know that’s another great question. It may be several things. Some may be in comparison shopping mode, just looking or researching. Some may not like the way your site looks or find it baffling. Maybe you don’t have the specific product they were looking for, or perhaps they just got distracted by something else and wandered away. Hey Mark! Come back!

Mark: Oh sorry! I got distracted.

Eric: Anyway, my point is that there are many reasons people might leave your page, and not all of them are bad. But you should treat the percentage of satisfied visitors as compared to your competitors as a search-ranking factor.

Mark: Really? Why would user satisfaction be important to Google?

Eric: You have to always remember that Google is a business. They only make money if their users are happy and keep coming back. If people click on a Google result and have a bad experience on the page they land on, they tend to blame Google. That could mean loss of both users and revenue.

Mark: But how would Google even know users had a bad experience with a site?

Eric: Well, we’re pretty certain that Google measures things like how quickly someone bounces back to the search results after clicking on a result. And they probably really pay attention if a person comes back to the search results, and then clicks on something else.

We call this “pogo sticking.” Google can also do a content analysis of a web page and pick up if its too one-dimensional or missing key features that an ecommerce page should have; such as related products or a link to a privacy policy.

Mark: What other elements on an ecommerce page might contribute to a higher quality user experience?

Eric: Well, there are many. Some I could mention include showing related products or categories that anticipate the breadth of the needs someone arriving at your page might have. For example, somebody searching for motor oil might also be looking for oil filters or a funnel. Or a user might need to filter down the choices after doing a broad search.

Mark: Great examples Eric. So search engines are getting better and better at judging what makes for a quality user experience on a page or site.

Eric: That’s right, and that’s one more reason why we need to care more about providing a quality experience for our visitors. Of course the best reason of all is happy users on your site are more likely to convert, more likely to tell their friends about your business, and more likely to return.

Mark: Well said Eric. Eric has a lot more on how to create a user experience that makes both search engines and customers love your site in his Search Engine Land column at the link on your screen.

Be sure to check out the Here’s Why page on our site for more videos where Eric and I explain the why behind the what of digital marketing. Thanks for watching.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eric Enge
Eric Enge is a partner at Stone Temple Consulting (STC), which has been providing SEO Consulting services for over 5 years. STC has worked with a wide range of clients, ranging from small silicon valley start-ups, to Fortune 25 companies. Eric is also co-author of The Art of SEO book.


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