We already know that Google formulates its rankings based on a wide variety of factors and metrics.
Past that, it gets a little less clear cut in terms of which areas to focus on when optimising your site, and Google remains coy when it comes to confirming or denying how important some factors may be.
One thing that is certain however, is that user experience is increasingly important, and your site must continue to engage and satisfy the user, in order to make their online journey as fulfilling as possible.
The key to satisfying users is by measuring user interaction signals, analysing them, and then acting upon your analysis.
In this way, you can make continual improvements to your site and the way users interact with it. Sometimes, these changes can be major, other times they may be as simple as changing a date on a page.
It should be noted that we use the word ‘hacks’ here loosely – these are simple, actionable and ethical optimisations everyone can implement to boost their SEO performance.
Before we get into our user interaction tips, it makes sense to quickly recap on what user interaction signals actually are and how they are measured:
There are lots of different positive user interaction signals to consider and some may be more specific or valuable to you and your business than the next.
The four main measurables are:
- A site or page that is simple and easy to understand, navigate, and interact with.
- A site or page that can provide direct, useable, and relevant information to the user’s query
- A site or page that is attractive, thoughtfully arranged, and accessible from any browser across all devices
- A site or page that serves the user with content that is credible, high-quality, and desirable
These measurables directly influence the three key areas that this guide focuses on improving, which are:
- Increasing your click-through rate
- Increasing conversions and engagement on your website
- Improving rankings and increasing traffic
Let’s take a look at our top eight easy and hugely beneficial ‘hacks’:
Use figures in your metadata
Numbers can be utilised for their eye-catching properties to draw users in and grab their attention. As they tend to stand out against text, adding numerical values to your metadata – as a date, price, percentage or as part of a phrase – can make a big difference to your click-through rates.
A good example of how you can do this is by using promotions and offers, as they usually contain numerical data.
However it’s important that you make sure these offers are kept up to date and relevant – if the deal no longer exists and a user lands on the corresponding page and sees that, it won’t reflect very well on your brand and is likely to have negative consequences.
Include a clear call-to-action in your metadata
A call-to-action is exactly what it says it is: a prompt to get the user to act in a certain way – usually to make a purchase. Without a call to action in your metadata, encouraging users to click through to your site can be hard, and you’re likely to lose out to competitors who have action-focused metadata.
As a general rule, your call to action should contain a simple, focussed verb. The simplicity of this can be doubly beneficial, as not only can it significantly increase your click through rate (and all the bonuses that this can bring), but it won’t take up a lot of space.
Usually, a call to action will be structured in the following way, with adjustments made to your brand’s industry and product: VERB for RESULT
Here are a few examples:
- Buy Today For 20% Off
- Shop Today For Free Next Day Delivery
Sometimes, however, the call to action doesn’t have to be explicitly focused on a result. Instead, the result is implied, as in these examples:
- Speak To Us About Your Claim Today
- Call Our Specialist Advisors Today
Create a sense of urgency in your metadata and site-wide content
As with calls to action, if you don’t actively try and prompt users to interact with you and your product, you’re likely to fall by the wayside. Using focused, urgent copy instead of passive language can determine whether a user makes an immediate purchase or decides to leave it for another day.
A good way to create a sense of urgency is by suggesting that the product or service you’re trying to sell is running out, and that waiting to purchase would likely mean the user ends up missing out. Using short timeframes or suggesting limited stock levels is a great way of implementing this.
One thing to remember however is to keep tabs on whether the copy and metadata is up-to-date – there’s no point prompting people to act quickly for a limited time offer if that offer still exists a month later.
A few good examples of urgent language are:
- Limited Stock Remaining
- Register Before [Date] For A Free Gift
- Winter Sale Ends Soon
Suggest the negative consequences of not purchasing a product or service
As with urgency, suggesting a negative consequence of not making a purchase or using a service can be a good way to get your customers to engage and convert.
Traditionally, a brand would advertise its products and services based on the positives they can bring to a customer – clearer skin, more voluminous hair, etc.
Sometimes, however, it’s a good idea to remind a customer of the struggles they might face should they choose not to purchase. In this way, you are reinforcing the idea that the purchase will be beneficial to them and that they ought to act now.
The cosmetic and beauty industry often uses this technique, using examples such as:
- Fight Blemishes
- Avoid Dry, Lifeless Hair
- Treat Wrinkles, Dark Spots, Sagging, And More
- Prevent Gum Disease
Employ emotive language in your metadata
Are you seeing a bit of a trend with the last few tips? Emotion is a key motivator in the buying process, so wielding it with care (and responsibility) can really boost your engagement levels.
It’s easy to see this as potentially exploitative, but it isn’t – what’s actually going on is you’re tapping into your customer’s desires and emotions, and presenting your content and product in a way that really resonates for them.
As we mentioned, taking a step back and thinking about your customer base can give you a good insight into how you should present your products. For instance, there’s a wide variety of reasons to be searching for a car, and a number of stages a customer might be at in the buying process.
They may be looking for:
- A simple, reliable, and economical car to get from A to B
- A luxury car to drive as a hobby and to impress friends and family
- An estate car to transport the equipment they need for work or hobbies.
Take this example of how not to do it, from Porsche:
Instead of emphasising the luxury lifestyle aspects owning a Porsche can bring, Porsche took the slightly confusing route of talking about their profitability and company size. These facts don’t exactly scream quality or luxury, despite Porsche’s reputation for high-end products.
It’s much more likely that someone who’s thinking about buying a Porsche wants to hear about their sleek lines, powerful engines, luxury interiors, and exclusivity. Remember, you’re helping the customer construct a mental and emotional image of what their life would be like with the product.
Play to your USPs and your brand’s benefits
Failing to actively try and make people aware of your brand’s USPs can make it hard for you to stand out in the crowded, competitive business landscape.
Even if your brand offers products or services not entirely unique to the marketplace, you can still promote the elements that might stand out to a prospective customer.
Tell them what makes you different, whether it’s that you provide particularly good customer service, offer particularly high quality products or services, or can make deliveries within 24 hours.
The best part about including these messages in your metadata is that they can usually be communicated in only two or three words, saving you precious space. Check out the examples below to get an idea of the buzzwordy quality markers you might want to shout about:
- Free Delivery
- Expert Service
- 24/7 Support
- Same Day Consultation
Repurpose successful Pay-Per-Click (PPC) copy
If you’re running a paid search campaign, there’s a good chance you’re using multiple ad variations in each group, monitoring and comparing their success against one another.
There will usually be one ad with a higher click-through rate than the rest, and even if the difference is just a few percent, across hundreds of impressions this could make a big difference.
In this case, it would make sense to examine that particular ad to see what’s making it so successful, and then use this knowledge to boost the copy in your organic listings.
Since you’ll be informed by measurable statistics, stealing USPs, phrasing, and CTAs from the top performing ads and repurposing them for your metadata can certainly give you an edge against your competitors.
Use ‘Bucket Brigades’ to boost time on site and decrease your bounce rate
Kudos to Brian Dean at Backlinko Blog for his top tip of using ‘Bucket Brigades’ – a technique that uses strategically placed phrases to hold the reader’s attention. Using this method (as well as a few others), Brian has managed to increase his site’s average user time to four minutes.
So, what are ‘bucket brigades’? Historically, they take their name from the human chains that would form to pass buckets from a water source to a fire.
In copywriting terms, however, they describe phrases that lead a reader from one section of text to another. They can help hold a reader’s attention by implying the next section of text is worth sticking around for.
A few good examples of ‘bucket brigades’ are:
- What’s more
- As it turns out
- It gets better/worse:
- And that’s just part of the story
- Want to know the best part?
Careful and appropriate use of so called ‘Bucket Brigades’ within copy will keep your readers onsite longer, ensuring increased exposure for your content and reduce drop off.
And there you have it, eight quick and easy user interaction hacks to boost your SEO performance. Some of these take just a few minutes to add into your existing efforts and can make a significant, measureable difference.
If you’d like more tips on quick and easy hacks to boost your SEO, you can download the complete guide from the Search Laboratory website (registration required).
If you’ve got any tips of your own, feel free to let us know in the comments below. Have a question or not sure you agree perhaps? We’d love to hear your opinion too!