In the land of online marketing, perhaps no three letters hold more weight than SEO. Long known as Search Engine Optimization, this acronym means, in a nutshell, how to configure your site to show up in search engine results to drive user traffic.
Yet, just as companies were beginning to figure out the algorithms behind optimizing their SEO rankings, the game is changing.
Thanks to a growing and increasingly tech-savvy consumer base, SEO now also stands for Search Experience Optimization.
What does that mean, exactly? For companies looking to make their sites more visible and searchable, it means thinking outside of how their links, keywords, and profiles are designed (one of the aims of the other SEO).
While these elements are still vital parts of the SEO equation, they’re no longer the only parts. Now, the consumer is fully in the driver seat. Companies that want to keep up should embrace the new way to get their attention.
Interested in learning more about search experience optimization? Let’s dig in. Here are a few reasons behind the name change:
1. Less Calculation, More Consideration
Sure, there are researching ways to increase your chances of pinging on a search engine. There are advanced calculations to tell you exactly how many keywords and links you need. They will also allow you to figure how long they should be, and how often you should repeat them to get the maximum number of clicks.
While these formulas are often proven and sound, what they provide in efficiency they lack in personality. It can be difficult to appeal to the user when your site’s content is fully designed off a spreadsheet. Today, consumers crave customized, personalized, and tailored content. Search engines are looking for the sites that provide just that.
One example? Start with the way people search. For example, if you wanted to appeal to users searching “microwave oven,” you would use that as your designated keyword.
That’s a basic tenet of SEO and one that has proven successful for companies around the globe.
Yet, search engines are now seeing that users are using their sites in more advanced ways. Now, they’re moving from searching on just a few words to actually asking questions, many of them in full sentences.
This means that instead of searching for “microwave oven” by itself, they may ask “What type of microwave oven should I buy for my new home?” or “Which microwave oven is the most energy efficient?”
That said, rather than inserting as many keywords as possible, forward-thinking companies will focus on creating content that answers their user’s most asked questions. This way, they can increase their odds of matching a response to an inquiry. This is new criteria that search engines are considering.
2. Mobility is Now Key
In 2016, Google introduced an update to its search engine algorithm. This update prioritized sites optimized for mobile over those that were not set up to support it.
Online marketers referred to the move as “Mobilegeddon.” It shook the industry and reminded everyone involved just how important and invasive mobile is becoming.
This move carried significant weight. At the time of the announcement, more than 40% of Fortune 500 websites weren’t optimized for mobile. As such, many fell from the search engine ranks and experienced a financial upset.
The takeaway? Mobile is here to stay and companies seeking to boost their Search Experience Optimization should get on board. Consider this: More than 80% of Internet users now have a smartphone.
This means that when designing your site for promotion, a visually stunning page is a great way to draw consumers in. Yet, it can turn them away if it’s not mobile-friendly.
Consider your load times, image sizes, animations, and data amounts when optimizing for mobile. If you don’t, as Google proved, it could cost you.
3. Data Analyzation is Evolving
Until now, SEO analytics were concerned primarily with who was accessing a company’s site at a given time.
While data such as this is still relevant, Search Experience Optimization now requires companies to employ analytics in a more detailed, intrinsic way. Now, in addition to figuring out how many clicks you got, you’ll need to follow those clicks.
How are users interacting with your site? How long are they spending on each page? What’s their return rate?
Tracking data such as this and more can provide you with valuable insights into the type of user experience you’re providing. Another incentive to start? Search engines are taking a look at the very same metrics, tracking user activity on websites to identify trends and patterns.
One major search engine already announced its intentions to follow the activities of its users across not only its search site but its affiliated sites as well. Through moves such as this can start a conversation around user privacy and confidentiality, the overarching intent is to deliver ads that better suit consumers’ tastes.
That said, ranking high in their new Search Experience Optimization formulas will require more than just a popular website. It will require a website that truly caters to its customer base and encourages exploration.
Another advantage to this tracking is that it can more easily cut down on malicious bots and malware that can upset the SEO flow. Now, activities designed just for traffic alone will fail to be as profitable. Sites will be required to actually deliver on the promises they offer.
Search Experience Optimization: Guidance You Can Trust
As you navigate the world of Search Engine Optimization, as well as the new territory of Search Experience Optimization, we’d love to be your trusted resource.
We’re experts in both types of SEO and we’re here to guide you every step of the way. From our 15-second SEO overview to our glossary of key terms, and our industry-relevant blog articles, we are dedicated to providing the most comprehensive SEO resources available.
If you have any questions, or if you’d like more information on SEO, let’s chat. Feel free to contact us or leave us a comment below to start the conversation!