How Content and Usability Impact your Search Engine Rankings
Search engines are consistently working to improve their performance by ensuring that visitors can achieve the results that are more suitable for them. Though deciding which results are the “best” for any given person can be complex, search engines typically have a good idea of which sites and pages can satisfy their searching users. Usually, these specific sites will have a number of important factors in common:
- They will provide information that is directly relevant to the query entered
- They will be easy to understand, navigate and use
- They will delivery legitimate, credible, and high-quality content
- They will be accessible for modern browsers and professionally designed
Although technology is constantly evolving, search engines cannot understand how to view images or video in the same way that a human can. Generally, to rank and decipher content, they must instead rely on Meta information about how users interact with pages, giving them an impression of the quality of the pages themselves.
User Experience and Usability
There are various variables that search engine algorithms take directly into account, including links, keywords, site structure and more. However, through user engagement metrics, linking patterns and other methods of learning, engines can make a number of assumptions about any particular site. User experience and usability are incredibly influential when it comes to SEO success. They provide search engines with a measurable, yet indirect method of measuring a site’s external popularity, which can then be translated into a signal of high quality. Crafting a useful, engaging user experience can help to make sure that your visitors perceive what you have to offer in a positive light, encouraging bookmarking, sharing and return visits.
Recognizing Quality Content
- Metrics of Engagement
When an individual receives a page as a result of their search through an engine, that engine can then measure the success of the given rankings by seeing how users engage with such results. If you automatically click on the first link that you are given, then hit the back button straight away, to try another link, this may indicate that you weren’t happy with what you found first of all.
The Panda algorithm was introduced to change the way that Google judged websites in terms of quality content. Originally, Google started using human evaluators who manually rated thousands of different sites. Soon, they began to incorporate learning machines to act in the same way as the human evaluators.
- Linking Patterns
Search engines found relatively early that the way the web was structured through links could provide an insight into popularity. Higher quality sites providing better information would typically earn more quality links than their less useful counterparts. Today, the algorithms for analyzing links have changed and advanced dramatically, focusing on quality over quantity, but the importance of links remains the same.