SEO: Users First
SEO: Users First
SEO is search engine optimization. The ultimate goal of search engine companies is to have the best site win the result race (aside from selling consumer data, of course.) The best result gives the user the best answer, and delivers it in the best manner. Defining either of these qualities is a very difficult problem that our search engine friends spend a lot of money accomplishing.
Human Friendly Content
“Users first” concretely means designing your site for human visitors first, because in theory a good site for a human is a good site for the internet. This seems obvious, but with the cutthroat nature of SEO, any edge means the traffic is a secondary goal to being the top result itself. Content managers may create awkwardly phrased content to squeeze extra keywords, or simply not attempt to create a readable, coherent article for humans. To put it in other words, the real goal of the optimize stage is to optimize for human readers versus googlebot, or the other web crawlers that scan online content.
Readable, Interesting Content
Our first goal is to create a good blog to read. We try and keep topics short and interesting. Interesting, varied content that people actually want to take time out of their busy day to read is the apex of what search engines want to reward. The theory is that great content should be it’s own reward. Is blogging about blogging interesting? Wait don’t answer that...
User Behaviour As A Signal
Recently, Google has made attempts to measure user activity as a barometer to the quality of content. Do users return? Do users stick around? Increasingly user behaviour is a factor in how search engines determine the quality of a site. Sites need to be more aware of users and how their experience might be affected as it now plays a critical role in how relevant their content is perceived to be by search engine organizations. Spammy sites without content will in theory have higher bounce rates, lower time on page, and other user behaviours will signal weak content and/or relevance.
Quality Content is Golden
“Just put out good stuff” is what Google has been saying since day one. Now turning to their trove of user data, they are starting to use the reaction a user has to a page as an indicator of quality. While I expect this trend to increase, there are interesting problems where a user that gets the answer immediately leaves the page, causing a bounce. SEO will firmly remain a “thing you do on your website.” Hopefully this serves to punish weak content.
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