With customers having the power nowadays, you could arguably say that SEO success is no longer about simply being found online. You also need to create the right impression with your online content. It is no good to be languishing on page ten of the web search results telling your audience how amazing you are – you need to show how amazing you are. But how? Ranking on the first page of the search results for your industry is a big step in the right direction for moving forward with your SEO but how do you get on page one of the search results?

SEO is getting harder and harder to understand. Just when you think you have got to grips with what you need to do to rank higher in the search results, algorithms and trends change.
Moreover, you come across contradictory advice about what works and what doesn’t. The more you read, the more confused you get about the future of SEO. Is it slowly dying with Google becoming more and more advertising focused? Is it going to change to favour in-app optimisation?

Where to start?

It is safe to say that currently you’re still OK to invest efforts in SEO. Why? Because content is still king! But the only way to compete is to be ahead of everyone else.
Up to this point marketers have been obsessing about keyword targeting, quality of content, uniqueness, crawling and mobile friendliness. You’ll be familiar with the usual best practises such as optimising your URLs, using relevant headlines and content, including alt texts, meta descriptions and so on. That’s all good – keep that up. The problem is….everyone is using these tactics now. So, what’s the next move to get ahead?

With Google’s deep dive into machine learning, you could arguably say that we are facing a new kind of algorithm. Search engines are finding that they no longer provide the most effective results to their users, only based on the above. So they are starting to create and use some success metrics through which they analyse and measure where content should be ranked.
Search Engines started focusing on long to short click ratios. How many people click on your page and actually find what they need? A short click is simply defined as an immediate click on the back button to the search result page. For example, search engines would analyse these metrics like so:

Image to show the average time on swebsites and how this affects the return to web search results

What else should you take into consideration?

Other important metrics to consider are page user engagement and domain user engagement. How many people from those who clicked through to your page actually did something? Moreover, how many people engaged with related content on your site? Did you spark their interest? Are they like a kid in a sweet shop and digesting all your content?

The rate of searchers conducting additional, related searches will also become more and more relevant. How complete and informational was your content? Did the user need to go back and look for more?

Click Through Rate (CTR) versus other results has always been relevant but popular results are becoming more and more of a focus. If you tick all of the boxes mentioned above by offering complete, relevant content and you obtain a good average of long clicks then you’re on your way to SEO success.
On the topic of popularity, let’s not forget about the sharing rate. Depending on the industry and audience focus, certain shares will ‘weigh’ more than others giving you better SEO results.

Building your roadmap to SEO Success

In conclusion the new SEO metrics will cover things like relative CTR, short vs long clicks, content gap fulfilment, sharing, loyalty and task completion success. So start optimising and work on the following:

• Try and build content that fulfils the searchers needs.
• Compel your visitors to go deeper into your site by using CTAs, offers and related content right underneath their noses
• Page speed seems to be a deal breaker/maker when we talk about short and long clicks.
• Optimise your titles, meta-descriptions and URLs for keywords of course, but also for more clicks
• Earn more shares, links and loyalty per visit
• Enjoy the results, and don’t stop!