Marketers have had an obsession ever since the first search engines were launched in the early 90s: How to rank higher than competitors on results pages for a particular query or keyword. But interestingly, ranking and customer experience were not always aligned. In fact, stuffing keywords on a page used to help companies to make it to the top of the web – even though this was totally indigestible and worthless for visitors.
This has now changed notably with the advent of content optimization. According to Gartner, “content optimization is a process by which a content provider is able to use a variety of techniques to improve search results and ranking.” For instance, an excellent design and user interface can supplement high-quality content to improve the experience of customers – enhancing success thanks to a first positive impression.
As you can imagine, this is easier said than done. Optimizing content is a dynamic job which starts with becoming relevant and attractive to consumers at all times. So the first step for businesses is to build and nurture a two-way relationship with their customers – listening carefully to what they have to say, understanding their needs, and responding with individualized content.
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The actual optimization part is then to present that content in the best light possible – e.g. developing engaging aesthetics, minimizing page load time, maximizing uptime, etc. This means that users, not search engines in isolation, should become the priority of brands. Let’s illustrate that point by looking at a key indicator that impacts customer experience as they browse the web.
Grasping the ‘User First’ Logic of Search Engines
As much as possible, Google’s spider and other crawlers indexing results try to see the web through the eyes of internet users. Simply put, their approach is to identify the websites and pages on a given topic that provide the most value to visitors and place those at the top. And they repeat that procedure for millions of queries every day – relying on signals of quality content to guide them through the task.
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For instance, crawlers consider the recorded bouncing rate, which is the % of people entering and leaving a website immediately, to assess relevance. Their rationale is that a higher rate indicates a lower satisfaction.
The objective for brands is thus to increase the probability of a “long click” with users staying enough time to show a real interest in the page visited. And content personalization solutions like Knexus can help to generate such an interest by optimizing content experience with machine learning and predictive analytics.
Redefining Your Content Strategy for User Experience
Content is and remains king. But when poorly presented, even the best content fail to impress visitors and lead to suboptimal results and low conversion rates. It is thus time for marketers to take a step back and switch to a new approach – blending content and user experience right from the start to boost search engine ranking.
Knexus is a content personalization platform which can support your brand to make sense of user behaviors and engagement metrics to deliver the most relevant content real time on any digital touchpoint.