Learning why Google includes certain ranking factors into its algorithms is important, since it displays how it is increasingly relying on user engagement metrics.
When Google analyzes how searchers engage with site content, it can tell if the article addresses the searcher’s problem.
For example, I am trying to find “how to find mobile“. In this case, I have lost my mobile somewhere in my house and I am likely searching for the quickest method to recover them. While Google is not a person, it can narrow down search results based on keywords that match (indicating relevance), have links pointing to them (indicating credibility), and have a good loading time and user experience (UI/UX). However, the user must then be able to indicate what is actually valuable.
Below are a few scenarios and what they may indicate for Google:
- Google displayed a map of nearby stores where you could “Find mobile”. Since this is not relevant to your needs, you do not click. This should be true for others who search for “How to find mobile”, so the conversion rate will be below. Google may then drop the page in the rankings if enough people search for “How to find mobile”.
- Clicking on the article entitled “How to find mobile” leads to further information. When you go to the article, you’ll find a list of places where you might have forgotten your mobile. Hopefully, this will solve your issue, but not to the extent that you want. Almost no time is spent on the page after you click the back button. Google gives the page a low ranking if this happens enough.
- When you click the link, you see the phrase “how to find lost mobile when it is silent”. You found what you were looking for. This web page takes over 6 seconds to load. You click back to the front page, knowing there are seven other options there. Eventually, Google will rank this page lower.
- A few minutes later, you finally click on an article titled “How to find lost apple mobiles with the Find My iPhone app” and Perfect! get what you needed. You spent a few minutes on the page, finding the answer to your problem. Then, you close the page or go to Google for a fresh, new query, rather than clicking back. Google will take this as confirmation that your issue has been resolved. Google will rank this page higher if this happens enough.
The Google algorithms are designed to meet the end-user’s needs, so any tricks that do not provide value to users will fail.
SEO is all about thinking about the system from the perspective of the user. With this exercise, It is important to realize that keyword density and linking are not the only factors considered by search engines. You will have a better chance of having Google test your page if you optimize for these factors, but if you do not satisfy the user’s need, your page will not rank well.