Typically, when people think about search engines, they imagine a relatively simple algorithm that merely crawls the web in search of keywords that correspond to a user’s search terms. And while this is how search engines once worked, the modern engine has been transformed into a behemoth taking in millions, if not billions, of data points. That being said, if you don’t want your website to merely be lost in the vast sea of the internet, then you must take into account all the factors that optimize your website for search engines. One commonly overlooked component of this process is the impact of usability.
The modern internet user, needing to quickly sort through pages of search results, has developed the skill to quickly and effectively determine if a particular website is what they are looking for. The primary factor in this decision is the illusive trait of usability. Usability is the metric to measure how easily a user can navigate your website in order to find the information that he or she wants to discover. But you may be thinking, “How could a search engine possibly know how usable my website is?” Primarily this is done in two ways: Human use and Machine use.
Search engines, wanting to provide the best results for their users, rank sites based on how useful they have been to other users. So a site that lots of people like will be more often suggested than one with mild success.
But how can they possibly know what people like?
The first method is by monitoring how much time a user spends on a site before hitting the back button (if they press it at all). If users are constantly viewing a site, then quickly deciding that it isn’t what they wanted and returning to their search, then this is a good indication that the website is poor. However, if your website can consistently deliver the sought after “long click”, then the engine learns that you have a great website.
Another method often used to determine the usability of a site is through linking patterns, which is a measure of how many and what kind of sites often link to yours. If a whole bunch of highly creditable websites are constantly sending users your way, then it’s probably a good sign that your site is credible as well.
Back in 2011, Google announced that they had programmed a bot which could reliably predict how users would react to a site. Using this, Google began determining how usable a website was before anyone even accessed it!
This only makes the criteria of usability even more crucial as search engines can now rule out your site before it is even viewed!
That is why we at RivalMind specialize in making your website attractive to both your customers and to the search engines that provide those customers. So when you’re ready to streamline your website and accumulate those “long clicks”, contact us.