UX Signals and Why They’re Important

UX Signals and Why They’re Important

Reading Time: 3 minutes

UX signals are how your users tell you whether or not they’re finding the content on your website valuable. UX stands for user experience, which has been Google’s primary focus since its inception back in 1998. Google’s early updates, including Panda and Penguin, were designed to improve user experience and discourage the black hat SEO tactics that were making the Internet a great place for shady marketers but a discouraging place for users.

Google Is for Users

Google didn’t stop updating its algorithms with Panda and Penguin. Every update since has been intended to improve the online experience for users. SEO has thus had to change its focus over the years.

In the early days of Google, SEO was, for many, a way to manipulate the search engines and game the system to be the top results. Users and websites who were focused on providing high-quality content for their users were left behind. Google has since made a lot of updates to change this and to punish such black hat SEO techniques while rewarding sites that provided a good user experience.

User experience is the most important factor in SEO. The better your UX, the more users will visit it, the more Google will reward your site by moving it up in the search rankings, and the longer users will stay on your site. But how do you know that your website is really providing a good user experience?

What Are UX Signals?

This is where UX signals come in. They’re the Internet’s way of letting you know whether your users are happy with your content or not. UX signals are behavioral patterns, which are used by Google to affect your page rankings. The most important two are click through rate (CTR) and bounce rate, which Google takes the most seriously. These two UX signals definitely affect your page rankings.

Click Through Rate

Click through rate, or CTR, is the number of users who click on your snippet on the SERP, or search result page. If your CTR is high, that’s a good sign and Google will bump your page higher in the search results. If your CTR is low, it will rank lower. Google wants to display at the top to pages that users click on the most, trusting users to click on the best pages.

It’s important for your SEO that you monitor each page to see what its CTR is. Those with a high click through rate are definitely doing something right. For pages with a low CTR, check out the meta-description of the page and model it after the pages that have a higher CTR. Having a more engaging and appealing snippet will help draw more users to that page.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the rate at which users click on the SERP link to your page and then bounce, or click back to the search results page again. A high bounce rate indicates to Google that while your page’s snippet may be enticing, the site itself isn’t engaging or valuable enough to users to keep them on your site.

It can be tricky to determine whether or not your bounce rate is high because there are different measurements of it. Whether or not users visit other pages on your site counts, as does how long users spend reading your page. Your bounce rate can also vary depending on the type of website. An online store may have a lower natural bounce rate than a blog, where many users read just one article.

Pay Attention to Analytics

Google Analytics will be your best friend when it comes to measuring your UX signals. Not only can you monitor your CTR and bounce rate, but you can also see how long users stay on each page. Look at how many return visitors you have. If it looks like users aren’t visiting very much, don’t stay for long, and don’t look at anything else you have to offer, pay attention to that. Your content may need an update to be more appealing to your target audience.

How to Optimize Your Keywords for Voice Search

How to Optimize Your Keywords for Voice Search

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Voice Search

There was once a time when voice search was firmly in the domain of science fiction. You’d see space ship captains or superheroes search by asking the computer, usually an AI, a question. However, that future is now a reality. More and more searches are voice-based searches every day.

Google Voice Search has been around since 2012 and has been increasing in popularity ever since. Mobile devices have their own built-in voice search as well, including Cortana and Siri. Then came Amazon Alexa and Google Home and the other dedicated voice search virtual assistants.

Ever since 2017, voice search has been one of the top trends in SEO. It’s therefore essential for SEO marketers to take voice search into account when planning any SEO strategy. In particular, keywords are affected by the new voice search trend. So what do we need to do to optimize for voice search?

Google Voice Search

Modern Artificial Intelligence

Imagine artificial intelligence in science fiction. When people interact with it, whether it’s a computer or a robot, it’s always via voice. For the most part, people speak to these AIs exactly as they would a person. The format of any query is conversational.

People don’t usually search for single-word keywords when they search for something using voice search. They ask a question. Keywords should, therefore, be designed to respond to this type of search.

Answer a Question

Say you run a pizza restaurant in Winter Springs, Florida. The keywords that you’d want to rank for would probably be pizza, Winter Springs pizza, best pizza restaurant or something similar. But if people are looking for pizza using voice search, they’re not searching for pizza. They’re asking “What’s the best pizza in Winter Springs?” or “Where can I get pizza in Winter Springs?”

Your keyword strategy should seek to answer questions that your customers are most likely going to be asking.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are going to be an important part of your SEO strategy. These are key phrases that are generally three or four words or longer and has a head keyword. A head keyword is a short general keyword (like “pizza”) that the long-tail keyword is based around.

The advantage of long-tail keywords is that they more accurately represent how people actually talk. They can answer a question or mirror a question that users are actually asking. Single keywords are nice and easy for typing on a computer but longer key phrases are necessary to respond to users’ voice searches.

Long-tail keywords have the added benefit of being easier to rank for. You’re competing only with other pizza restaurants in Winter Springs for “best pizza in Winter Springs” instead of competing with the entire world for “pizza.”

Optimizing for Voice Search

Answer the Public is a great resource for key phrase inspiration. If you enter a short keyword into its search bar, it’ll provide you with a chart filled with questions that users ask about that particular word. You can look through their list to find the questions that you think your users might want to know the answer to. Then, you can use Google Analytics to see what has the best results.

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