Search experience optimization: Richer, relevant content that leads to user action
The revolution that search engine optimization will bring richer and more relevant content to the user starts with rebranding.
The word “experience” will soon replace “engine,” and the change is more than just cosmetic. The term “engine” conjures up things associated with technology, like machines, meta-tags, and crawlers that select your recommended websites based on cold, hard data. On the other hand, “experience” indicates a more personal connection between the virtual world with the user and his community. While “search engine optimization” is keen on coming up with results derived from a keyword or two, “search experience optimization” will bring out responses based on a more holistic understanding of what the user actually needs.
A report by Forbes Magazine points out that this change starts with the tech leaders’ desire to further understand the human user’s search process. For example, a business executive looking for “snow tires” types those words on the search engine box with a context in mind. He or she does not operate in a vacuum: there is a particular car that needs those snow tires on a particular date. What is really streaming in his or her mind while using the search engine is the question, “What are the best snow tires for a 2008 Ford F150?” Search experience optimization will take into account those questions and release answers that would be more specific and relevant to the user.
In contrast, the typical search engine optimization query, “snow tires,” would just render generic results that would still have to be filtered by the business executive in order to find something useful.
This search experience optimization quest-with-a-context will also affect searches made through apps and smartphones. Business news like those turned out by apps of Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and Born2Invest will become more targeted; the algorithm behind the searches would align not just with certain keywords but with the user’s searching habits. Once the user starts spending more time with the apps, the search experience optimization might even incorporate the user’s “mindset” in responding to his or her queries. For example, a search for “hot tech stocks” would yield not just websites with articles carrying those words, but content that actually reflects the user’s interest, such as “hot start-ups for investment” or “hot stocks in telecom and green tech industries in 2nd quarter 2016.”
Another benefit that search experience optimization gives to the user is the richness of the content. According to Business 2 Community, SEO teams, who understand that the keyword quest comes with a user context, will start writing content that is substantial, interesting, and compelling. Putting in the standard five keywords to lure the crawler in would no longer be enough. Instead, the content that turns up in the search results would be engaging enough to make users stay on the page for more than the usual ten seconds. More important, the relevance of the content they are reading would actually make the readers take action, like sign up for a newsletter or purchase a product.
In the age of social media, content must also be “shareable.” As Business 2 Community puts it, “[The users are] more likely to convert because your content inspires, educates or entertains them. They’re more likely to share your content with their friends and their overall dwell time increases.”
Businessmen, entrepreneurs, investors, and other professionals who are interested in stock investments would no longer be content in simple research. An investor or stockbroker who gets answers on the “hot stocks in start-ups” query might actually be inclined to invest, a few minutes after reading the content.
Ultimately, search experience optimization will help the user hone in on what he is truly seeking. The content he finds will not just remain a mental exercise but a prelude to a productive activity in the real world. By anticipating and responding to the user’s needs, search experience optimization literally transforms our daily internet search habit into a repeatable, rewarding experience.