At the 2012 SXSW conference, Google’s Matt Cutts proposed that “search engine optimization” should really be viewed as “search experience optimization.” Recently, a Search Engine Land blogger went one step further, making the case for changing the acronym SEO to “subject experience optimization.” In this case, “subject” refers to the user. While that may be a little extreme, she raises some points that SEO companies and their Texas SEO clients should consider. This is necessary in order to accommodate the renewed focus Google is placing on user experience.
Prioritize Conversational Search
As we know, Google is now looking at the intent of the searcher when it ranks pages in search engine results. With a greater focus on “conversational search” after the Hummingbird update, Google now attempts to analyze what a user really means when searching, and finds pages that seem like what the user is looking for based on the semantics of the search. For that reason, asking questions is now a highly effective way for users to search; if you can answer their questions in your content, it is a much more effective way to optimize search engine rankings.
Look for User Intent in Other Ways
Another way that Google analyzes user intent: looking at everything but the words typed into the search box. Other factors, such as the user’s location at the time of the search, the person’s search history and the Google+ circles (if any) are all taken into account in addition to the actual words entered into the search. Google now looks at the big picture when it determines what results a user wants to see, and SEO companies can do that too.
While only Google has access to the user’s search history, analytical tools will reveal where traffic is coming from; there are also tools that can reveal whether the search is from a desktop or mobile device. Marketers can use this information to analyze user intent; then, they can target more users with customized content. This is part of giving the subject a better experience – subject experience optimization.
Don’t Abandon SEO Keywords
Some are making the argument that conversational search means the death of keywords. That’s not accurate; no matter how good Google becomes at determining a user’s intent, it will never be able to completely read anyone’s mind. Keywords are still necessary in headlines, sub-heads and the bodies of content in order to get a page ranked in the user’s search engine results. SEO companies and their clients can utilize good keyword placement without compromising on the goal of delivering a better user experience. Subject experience optimization can only work if the subject – your user – can find your page in his search.
To speak with a qualified SEO company that can help improve the experience of your user’s, contact the Texas SEO team at Crest Media. We can help your site improve its visibility and provide a better subject experience for users.