Guide to SEO - Searcher Satisfaction

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Historically if we were doing a guide to seo in the past, we probably wouldn't even be talking about searcher satisfaction. But Google has made such a significant number of advances in the last five to ten years that searcher satisfaction is now a huge part of how you can be successful in SEO. 

Let's look at a scenario to understand this better. Arlen is thinking about going on vacation to Italy, so she goes to Google and types “best places to visit in Italy” and she gets a list of results, Google classifies those results in many different ways. They could be classified by the most comprehensive or most authoritative. They use links and link data in a lot of different ways to try and get at that, they use content data, like what's on the page and keyword data. They use historical performance data about which sites have done well for searchers in the past and all of these things sort of feed into certain searcher satisfaction. 

So when Arlen searches on Google she has many questions, like a list of Italian vacation destinations and a comparison of those locations, I want to know the best times of year to go, and probably dozens more questions. But as a content creator and as a search engine optimization professional are creating and crafting content and trying to optimize that content so that it performs well in Google's results you need to consider what are all of these questions. This is why searcher empathy or customer empathy or being able to get inside your customer's head and understand what they want and what they are looking for is one of the most effective ways to create content that performs in search engines because many of people don't do this. 

So when creating or planning your page, think about what is the best page you could craft to try and rank for keywords like “best places to visit in Italy,” which is a very popular search term, it is extremely competitive. Your priority should be to answer the searcher's primary questions comprehensively and authoritatively if you can do that you are in a good place. You will be ahead of a lot of the pack.

Next you should provide a great user experience that means, easy to use, fast loading, and well designed web pages. You should make the the experience of a visitor who lands on this page to be wow, it should be much better than the typical experience that users get when they land on a lot of other sites. 

You must try to solve the searcher's next tasks and questions with either content on your own site, or tools and resources, or links, or the ability to do them right on your website. So they do not need to go back to Google and visit other websites to try and accomplish the tasks. For example, using Arlen’s case things like figuring out a good hotel or the weather forecast. Not many sites do this comprehensively today, which is why it's an advantage if you do.

Consider some creative elements like, interactive tools, an interactive map, or sorting and filtering options that could give you a long-term competitive advantage. Something that is difficult for many others who want to rank for this search term to build. 

The biggest goal of searcher satisfaction is to make sure searchers do not have a reason to click that back button and choose someone else. Search engine literature calls this pogo sticking. Basically if you do a search for “best places to visit in Italy” and you click on US News find that page does not do a great job answering your query or it does a fine job but it's got a bunch of annoying pop overs and it's slow loading and it has all these things that it's trying to to sell you because of which you click the back button and choose a different result. Over time google will figure out that US News is not doing a good job of answering the searcher's query and providing a satisfactory experience, and they will push them down in the results and they will push other ones that are doing a good job up in the results.

You should try to be the result that satisfies the users search intent, answers their questions, and helps them solve their task. Doing this will give you an advantage over time in Google's rankings.

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