Can Human Behavior Affect SEO?

When developing a website it is important to take into consideration of how your users are going to interact and navigate around the site, and what possible effects can be had on the websites search engine results. This has a growing importance for Search Engine Optimization. 

An overly heavy design-focused site may look great, but it might be slow to load and difficult to navigate. Where as, a more simply designed site may be quick to load and easy to navigate, but it may lack the appeal of users and fail to capture user’s attention, lacking a professional first point of contact for businesses.

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This is important to take this into consideration when designing a site, as in the end it is going to be the users who end up deciding whether the site is up to par; and soon major search engines will as well.

Google is making a push recently to turn its results “live”, and changing the algorithm. Soon with the help of AI computing, Google will be using the new algorithm and the AI system to help push the results real time. Using more metrics google has (whether analytics is installed or not on a site) to adjust results as necessary.

Metrics of a site like its Time on Site (ToS) and Click Through Rate (CTR) and Bounce Rate are going to factor more prominently into the new algorithm. Having a poor CTR for a set of keywords may mean that you will eventually drop in the results for those set of keywords. A high bounce rate may mean you’re not as relevant for certain key terms and a low Time on Site might mean you are not providing users with the information they are searching for, or the quality of the information may be not up to user’s expectations.

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All of this can seem like bad news; as when the new algorithm updates (probably mid-January 2016), sites that used to rank highly for certain terms may not anymore if they do not meet these new experiential criteria. This new update is the biggest set of changes to be brought to the Google search algorithm since 2012; making many in the online marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) realm nervous as to the implications this could have on their websites.

At the end of the day Google (despite its various side businesses) is in the business of delivering useful and relevant results to searchers using their service. If searchers are not happy with the results, Google soon will be able to adjust for those results in real time. Taking the human element into account while delivering good results to users will keep users coming back to use Google as their main search engine of choice. Web Designers and Developers should take notice and make the adjustments necessary to adjust to the new algorithm before it is launched.

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