Is customer experience an important search engine ranking factor? There are a number of different factors that go into how a website will rank on Google. For example, one is the number of links pointing at your site, and another is the makeup of the keywords that you choose to put on your page. But these are only two, and there are a whole range of other factors that determine how your site is going to rank for a certain keyword.
One of these other factors is customer experience, and this factor is very important for a number of reasons. Customer experience is the ranking factor that sense checks the Google algorithm.
So let’s say that you own a chocolate fountain rental company. Google has ranked you high for ‘chocolate fountain rental’ because it thinks that, based on the content on your site (and other factors) your site provides a good response to this search query. However, it is just an algorithm, and so it cannot be sure that your site provides a good response. So therefore by analysing searcher behaviour, Google can sense check whether your site is able to provide the searcher with the response they need.
Source: Search Engine Land
But what searcher behaviour does Google analyse?
Well, if you search for ‘chocolate fountain rental’ and you click on a company that only offers chocolate fountains for purchase, then you are likely to click back and return to the search results to try a different option. This user action is called a bounce, and Google uses it to test whether the results that it serves really satisfy the searcher intent.
All of this means that if people arrive on your website and immediately click back, then this is telling Google that your site should not be ranked highly for that search term, and so your ranking may drop to make way for more relevant results. Equally, if searchers rarely bounce from your site, then your website must be relevant to the search, and so your ranking could increase.
So where should I start?
Make a list of the keywords that are most important to your business. In our chocolate fountain example, this could be:
- Chocolate fountain rental
- Chocolate fountain party
- Chocolate fountain rental New York
Then have a look at which webpage in your site currently ranks for each of these searches (in many cases it could be the homepage). If we improve the customer experience of these pages, then our search ranking for our most important keywords could increase.
How to measure Bounce Rate
All pages that attract search traffic will have some users bounce. However the aim of the game is to get that bounce rate as low as possible (pages with a bounce rate below 50% are doing pretty well).
[For the next part you need access to Google Analytics or another web analytics app]
Open Google Analytics and go to Acquisition and then Channels. The click on Organic Search and switch the primary dimension to Landing Page. Then search for each of the web pages we rank with, and on the right we can see the current bounce rate for each page.
You can return to Google Analytics in the future to see how the improvements you make to customer experience have reduced your bounce rate.
How do I stop people bouncing from my search result?
Now we have a list of pages to improve, we can analyse each page and see why users are bouncing.
One important tip when reducing your search results bounce rate is to make sure your web page answers the search query as quickly and clearly as possible. If the searcher can see that your page is the answer to their search, then they will not click the back button. There are some obvious pointers like:
- Being clear on what the page is about in the title and headings of the web page
- Adding a clear CTA so the user knows how to proceed with their inquiry
- Making sure the page loads quickly, so the user doesn’t get bored during loading and click back.
But for more in-depth analysis on how to improve your customer experience, you need to ask your customers.
Mopinion offers an easy and unintrusive way to collect feedback. The search visitors themselves will give you the most valuable insights into how to improve your customer experience on any given page. The data you collect from your search visitors is also great for use as evidence when proposing site changes to your development team.
Once you have collected feedback, then you can make the changes and then see (using Google Analytics) how the bounce rate has improved, and whether more searcher feedback and sites changes are required.
Customer experience is a crucial part of SEO, and the only people who can really tell you how to make your site more user friendly are your customers. So using Mopinion you can gather feedback from your customers/search visitors on how to improve customer experience, reduce your visitor bounce rate, and improve your search engine ranking!
This is a blog contribution from Jack Saville, an SEO Specialist at Bynder.
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