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The evolution of Google Search: SEO for today
If you consider the information contained within this document, you may well agree with my opinion and take the required steps to improve your ranking.
A simple history of search positioning
The now obsolete Page Rank named after one of the founders of Google, Larry Page was simply an algorithm to assign a score to a page based on a number of factors. These included: presence of the required search terms on a page, the number and authority of links from other websites to that page, the words included in the link and many other indicators.
What was wrong with this?
Nothing for a while, but it was subject to attempted manipulation. People began writing pages for search engines – so adding the right number of expected search terms in the right places on pages, buying links, creating multiple “gateway” pages with similar content to cover every search term envisaged.
This lead to dilution of the result set to such a level that the information a human user was looking for was buried deep in a verbatim of perceived search pleasing filler.
Where are we now?
To cut a very long story short, after a precession of algorithm updates including a Panda and a Penguin, it eventually all comes back to the simple question: Did you user find what they were looking for?
In my opinion, this is where Google is today and they have everything they need to answer this question after each and every search session. The new Page Rank is indirect user interaction.
What is indirect user interaction?
Indirect user interaction or IUI as I will name it can be best explained by describing an example search scenario.
Scenario: rare 2 pound coins
I would like to find out which 2 pound coins are rare, so I enter [rare 2 pound coins] or [which 2 pound coins are rare]
Google begins a search session and returns results based on all current algorithm rules.
I spot a result that may show me what I am looking for and a click it.
Google begins a result session.
I spend some time looking at the page and then return to google results (probably via the back button).
My next action is key, it would seem logical to assume (in conjunction with the time I spent on the page) that if I did not continue moving through search results and I did not enter a new related query into Google, then I have found what I was looking for or my search question had been answered.
It would also be very likely that my question had not been answered satisfactorily if I continue to view more pages of search results and click on more result links.
If you agree with this logic, then consider that Google could well be using this logic. A suggestion that this is the case can be viewed in Google Adwords which already gathers and uses this sort of data to give an advert a “Landing page experience” score.
What should I do?
In the search marketplace of today, it always makes sense to follow Google webmaster recommendations. If you do not have a Google Webmaster Tools account, create one and review all available information and act on the suggestions and guidelines.
The best way to ensure your website pages score well for indirect user interaction (on a per query basis) is to ensure your page meets the users need and answers the question they have asked.
If the user stays on your page for long enough (based on average time spent on other pages for the same query) and stops searching after reading your page, you have done a good job that over a period of time, Google should recognise and reward.
This is all my opinion based on logic and Google Adwords. To prove the assumptions made in this article would be very difficult, but it would be possible to recognise a possible connection between IUI and search rank for a specific query.
I have taken notes over a period of time of the average position returned in Google results for a single page based on the search term [rare 2 pound coins].
To help with this experiment, please go to google.co.uk and enter rare 2 pound coins in the search box. Work through results to find rare2poundcoins.co.uk – make a note of the position and click the link. Leave the page for a few minutes and then close the browser.
In the comments section below, add the position the rare2poundcoins.co.uk result was found.
I will keep track of these results and post any findings on this page.