User Engagement Is the New SEO: How to Boost Search Rank by Engaging Users

User Engagement Is the New SEO: How to Boost Search Rank by Engaging Users

Many businesses aim for their websites to rank highly in search engines, but it’s a moving target.

Google, for instance, updated its algorithm 3,234 times in 2018 to meet user needs (emphasizing the “optimization” part of SEO).

You might remember when Google’s featured snippet addition disrupted the numbered ranking system of search pages. Because the snippet’s goal is to provide a simple answer from a strong piece of content, it might pull from the second or fourth website listed on the search engine result page instead of the first.

As a result, 34% of desktop users don’t even click on a webpage, since their questions are answered by a featured snippet on the search results page. This may seem like a cheap tactic to hoard traffic, but it’s not. By prioritizing the searcher’s experience over the hierarchy of web pages, Google ensures satisfied users.

Optimizing for search engines shouldn’t be your main focus anymore. The ongoing shift in Google’s algorithm over the past decade indicates a new market focus on meeting user expectations. In this post, I’ll do my best to pull back the curtain and show you how improving the user experience on your site will also improve your rankings and increase traffic.

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Search Engine Engagement Metrics

Before we delve deeper into the metrics that will likely correlate with an increase in rankings in the age of user experience, it’s worth noting that no search engine is an open book. Google notifies the public when it updates its core algorithm, but it’s notoriously secretive about this proprietary information.

With this in mind, here are a few user engagement metrics that Google and other engines seem to value as priorities.

Mobile Optimization

In 2015, Google announced that mobile optimization would become a contributing factor to SEO rankings. Half of all searches originate on mobile devices, after all.

Google recommends a responsive web design that adapts to desktop computers, phones, and tablets, and it rewards mobile-optimized sites with higher rankings on SERPs.

This opens up into another potential benefit: placement in Google’s coveted “local pack.” The local pack is the set of three businesses featured on Google’s search results. Previously, Google featured seven businesses there, but the number has since been reduced to maintain a mobile-friendly layout.

local searchSemantic Search

We’ve already mentioned that Google’s algorithm has drastically changed, especially since the old days of keyword stuffing. The first change allowed Google to judge not only the use of keywords, but also the ways in which they are used. During this phase, keywords and phrases needed to appear naturally. If they detracted from the readability of a page, Google would penalize that page’s ranking.

After the 2013 Hummingbird update, the search engine’s algorithm considers overall meaning — it realizes a page is more than the sum of its keywords. For instance, if you searched for “What’s the fastest animal?” prior to Hummingbird, a page would have to use the keywords “fastest animal” in several places to communicate the topic to Google’s crawlers. Now, with semantic search, Google can compare search intent with a page’s content to provide a better search experience.

Most recently, Google has helped searchers by rolling out BERT. This technology was designed for users who increasingly search by posing questions. It considers search intent by analyzing how a word relates contextually to the words that precede and follow it. Most searches made via voice recognition are questions, so this advancement will probably benefit Google in the future (Comscore predicts that half of all search engine inquiries will be voice searches by 2020).

Dwell Time

The dwell time metric is determined by the amount of time a user spends on a page before navigating back to a search engine. Search engines use this metric to judge the relevance of a page to a user’s query. If a user stays on a page for a long time before bouncing back to the SERP, then that page is likely more valuable than others.

Browsers such as Google Chrome, which is used by 81% of W3School’s 50 million monthly visitors as of August 2020, know how long a visitor remains on a page. Dwell time is a significant indicator of relevancy and quality, so webpage designers should aim for visitors to remain on a website for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, dwell time is one of many metrics that only search engines have access to. However, you can still use other data to measure the user engagement on your own site. Tracking metrics like time on page, bounce rate, and conversions from your landing pages can provide crucial insights into the value your users get from their experiences with your website.

4 Ways to Boost User Engagement on Your Website

Realistically, it’s easy to understand how a great user interface has the potential to boost search rankings, but making it happen is another story. Let’s take a look at several UX SEO best practices.

1. Augmented Reality

In 2017, personal care and beauty store Sephora released the Visual Artist update on its app. Users can virtually try on lipsticks, eyeshadows, and other cosmetic products from the comfort of their homes. This small user experience-focused change resulted in a reported organic revenue growth of 14% parent company LVMH.

Augmented reality is increasingly accessible to smaller businesses. It is quite common to find eyeglass retail websites, for instance, boosting user engagement with AR features that allow shoppers to virtually try on glasses.

You can also use this technology to include customers in the experience of launching a product. Jordan Brand did just that with the release of its Air Jordan III Tinker sneakers. Sneaker fans could scan a Snapchat code, purchase through Shopify, and have the shoes delivered by local fulfillment centers within the day.

2. Interactive Tools

Increasing user engagement is as simple as finding ways to capture the attention of a website visitor. Interactive tools and activities that occupy a user’s time (and provide value) are essential when creating a top-notch search experience.

This could be something simple such as a mortgage cost calculator on a home lending website, a responsive chatbot, or live user survey feature on your landing page. Warby Parker, for example, has enhanced the online prescription glasses retail web experience by offering an online quiz for picking out the right frames. The simple quiz provides personalized fashion advice and leads visitors along their sales journeys.

warby parker quizIn fact, if you use a tool like SEMrush to identify the most trafficked pages of a popular website, you will often find that they are interactive. These tools keep users engaged. By installing event tracking within the tools, Google Analytics can report just how engaging they are.

3. Video Content

Many marketers fear that video content will slow down their pages and cause the bounce rate to skyrocket. This is a valid concern, but it also may be worth the risk. Video is easier for people to process, and it can encourage someone to stay 2.6 times longer on a webpage. Well-placed video enhances dwell time and boosts rankings.

For example, Toyota used video in its interactive “Choose Your Wild” campaign for its 4Runner vehicle. The video engages potential customers by letting them go virtually “off-road” in the vehicle and, at the same time, allows the company to collect customer preference information in a fun, unobtrusive way.

4. Lead Magnets

Surprisingly, some of the most effective ways to ensure you’re providing an exceptional user experience aren’t particularly innovative at all. Lead magnets with gated content aren’t a new tool in the digital marketing space, but you’ll find that you’ll command your audience well by understanding their needs and producing applicable content.

After all, the subtext of Google’s movement toward user-friendly webpages is really just ensuring that high-ranking pages are valuable content resources. You will be improving the user experience and prioritizing conversion optimization at the same time.

Bidsketch uses this approach: It offers a free sample proposal in exchange for a voluntarily disclosed customer email address. Content-heavy websites like The Oatmeal and BuzzFeed similarly capture email addresses by offering quizzes (which also enhance user engagement and dwell time). Try offering various free “goodies” as lead magnets such as spreadsheets, tutorials, generators, or calculators.

By keeping users engaged with valuable, meaningful content, you will not only create happier visitors (and maybe brand advocates), but you will also rank highly on Google.

Whether that engagement stems from augmented reality, interactivity, videos, lead magnets, or some other approach, it can make all the difference in the success of a company’s user experience and SEO efforts.

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7 Examples of How Commercial Businesses Create Engaging Blog Content

7 Examples of How Commercial Businesses Create Engaging Blog Content

Content marketing is more important than ever before. Brands in every sector recognize that creating excellent content is the key to winning over customers. In 2019, their content marketing strategies still hinge on the quality of their blogs. One survey showed that 53% of marketers felt that blogging was the most important form of content marketing.

If you are planning on revamping your own blogging strategy, it is a good idea to learn from companies with a great track record. We decided to create a case study on some of the best blogs in various industries, so you can use them as inspiration for your own website. Here are seven great examples to follow.


Coca-Cola has dominated its industry for over 130 years. The company’s success isn’t attributed so much to its product innovation, as to its ingenious approach to marketing.

Coca-Cola has always evolved with technology to make the most of its marketing strategy. It started the Coca-Cola Conversations blog to engage with its customers in a unique way.

The blog mostly focuses on talking about Coca-Cola collectibles. They make sure that every blog post is short and to the point. While longform content works in some industries that need to educate their target customers, Coca-Cola recognizes that its customers don’t want to read long walls of text when looking at old Coca-Cola products. They have made their blog more engaging by keeping the posts more concise. This strategy has paid off for them, because they have already earned well over a million visitors. The blog has been growing steadily since, which is especially impressive considering Coca-Cola had one of the largest brands in the world before this campaign started.


Grammarly is a company that publishes software products to help people improve the quality of the writing. They serve a number of different types of customers, including college students, law clerks and copywriters.

Grammarly manages a blog that provides basic writing tips. This helps the company into ways:

  • The blog helps Grammarly brand itself as an authority in its market (after all, who would want to buy a grammar checker from a company that didn’t understand the mechanics of the English language?)
  • They use the blog to generate more exposure for their brand
  • By helping customers develop basic writing skills, Grammarly is able to help them get the most out of the product

Grammarly covers a large number of topics on its blog. It helps customers with a variety of challenges that they face with writing.

WayKen Rapid Manufacturing

WayKen Rapid Manufacturing is a company that uses prototype manufacturing services from China. They have a great blog that talks about amazing innovation breakthroughs in their industry.

Sweet Leaf Tea

Sweet Leaf Tea is a lesser known company, but it has clearly mastered the art and science of blogging. Unlike most brands in various industries, Sweet Leaf Tea recognizes that the effectiveness of a blog is not limited to the quality of its articles alone. They have created a holistic blog design that clearly conveys the company’s core branding message.

Sweet Leaf Tea uses older fonts. It also has a color scheme and pictures that help convey an earthy message. They do a good job cultivating the warm, nurturing emotions that they want customers to experience.

Nuts About Southwest

The airline industry is not particularly well liked by many customers these days. Southwest seems to understand that, so they have created a blog that helps change customer perception.

The Nuts About Southwest blog discusses customer experiences with both Southwest and the airline industry as a whole. They have done a good job getting customers to engage with them through social media. The blog has a social feed that any customer can reply through. The Southwest blog is optimized to share content through social media, so customers can spread the word about new developments at Southwest and events affecting the airline industry.


Intercom is a messaging software publisher that provides a variety of different types of products for various customers. Intercom recognizes that each classification of customer has unique needs. Therefore, it creates blog posts around different categories of customers.

What lessons can we learn from these successful blogs?

These examples show that brands in a variety of industries can get a lot of traction through blogging. Creating blog content is a great way to expand reach and position a company’s brand image in a positive way. Here are some lessons that we can pick up from these companies.

The length of your content should be based on customer expectations

If you read blogging guides, they often propose a lot of rigid rules of thumb when recommending the length of an article. Since the Google Panda update, they tend to recommend writing longer articles (ideally over 1000 words). These articles often are based off of those bloggers’ own experiences, which may not be universally applicable. The problem is that these bloggers often fail to consider that customers of different companies have their own expectations when reading blog content.

The blogs listed here all do a good job understanding the expectations of their customers. Coca-Cola writes much shorter blog posts, because they realize that people don’t want to read a couple of thousand words of content when they want to learn about a simple, fun topic like Coca-Cola collectibles. Meanwhile, other companies like Grammarly and Intercom write longer posts, because they have to educate their customers about complex topics.

Make the layout of your blog match your branding message

There is another commonality between the blogs we covered here. They all have optimized the user experience around their core branding messages. These companies realize that customer perception is determined by more than the content of their articles. The color schemes, font styles and header images are also very important.

Have a clear goal in mind

One of the biggest mistakes that brands make his writing content without a clear direction. You need to establish a list of objectives first. Every blog post needs to be written with these goals in mind and you need to make sure that it advances them in some way. Southwest has made sure that its blog posts improve the perception of the airline industry. Grammarly wants to educate customers about writing better and make sure that they have the necessary foundation to make the most of their product.

Make sure that your content warms readers up for future calls-to-action

You don’t want to take an ad hoc approach to writing content. Too many content marketing. They believe that as long as they get readers onto their website, they will be able to visibility for their brand. They believe that is all they need to do to get a future sale.

Unfortunately, it is rarely this easy. Your visitors are going to evaluate the entirety of your brand when deciding whether or not to make a future purchase. Inconsistent messages are not going to solidify your brand image in their mind. Low quality content is going to make your brand less appealing as well.

Whenever you are creating new content for your site, you need to think about brand positioning with the goal of future conversions in mind. This means that you need to think of future calls-to-action while generating any new content.

You need to make sure that your content sets the stage for future landing pages, so readers know what to expect. Here are some things that you will want to keep in mind:

  • The general layout of your content should not be too different from your other landing pages. You might need to trim the length of the content a bit, but you are going to want to otherwise make the presentation as similar as possible.
  • You need to think about the types of CTAs that you will have on your sales pages. Are you going to use buttons with a specific color? Then you might want to use similar colors in other images on your blog posts. That is going to help readers get used to those colors. When they make the transition to your landing page, they will be more comfortable interacting with them.
  • Your other content should reinforce the key points on your landing pages. If you are emphasizing the importance of affordability and accessibility on your sales pages, then you want to discuss them in detail on other pages as well.

There are a lot of other factors that you might need to consider, but hopefully this gives you a good idea of what you need to keep in mind. Before you start creating any new content, you should ask yourself how it will support the rest of your strategy.

Don’t be afraid to change course if your content isn’t resonating with your readers

Consistency is one of the most important aspects of any content marketing strategy. However, it doesn’t make sense to be consistent about following a template that isn’t working.

There is a lot of testing involved in any online marketing strategy. You will probably start off with some preconceptions about the types of messages and content that will appeal to your readers. However, your data is probably going to show that a lot of your assumptions missed the mark.

Your content marketing strategy is going to be a work in progress at the beginning. You will need to pay close attention to your analytics to see what content your readers are most interested in. Don’t be afraid to stop writing content that they aren’t engaging with. Otherwise, you will just be wasting your time and money.

Go after a broad range of keywords

You can learn a lot from major blogs like these by looking at their general layout, but you can see even more when you look under the hood. Take a look at the keywords that these blogs are ranking for.

You will see that Grammarly, Sweet Leaf and Coca-Cola are all getting traffic from a lot of different keywords. They have taken a very broad content marketing strategy, rather than focusing a few select keywords.

There are several benefits to this approach:

  • You can attract a lot of traffic from less competitive keywords. This is especially important for new blogs, because they don’t have a high domain authority yet. However, it is also beneficial for large blogs as well. They can receive a lot of traffic from random, long-tail keywords that they might not otherwise have thought to focus on.
  • You may find that some of the less obvious keywords actually convert better. By targeting a wide range of keywords, you can find a number of hidden gems.
  • Targeting a wider range of keywords can help you expand the demographics that you want to target.

You may be surprised by how much traction your blog will get by focusing on a large number of keywords.

Use a strong internal linking strategy

All of the blogs that we reviewed here have done a great job with their internal linking strategy. They often have at least a couple of links on each page. This is a good way to improve SEO. However, it also improves navigation and helps readers find the content they are looking for.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a great logo

Creating great content is important, but it is not enough by itself. Every blog needs a great logo. Some companies have spent millions of dollars on their logos, so you don’t want to overlook it.

The blogs we reviewed all have excellent logos and they are prominently featured. You want to keep this in mind.  You can always reuse the logo elsewhere, such as with branded water bottles.

Use These Blogs as Your Guide!

It is a lot easier to create a successful blog if you follow templates from others that have been successful. The blogs on this list have become very successful, because they have an excellent layout and a well-thought out content marketing strategy. You should keep this in mind while developing your own blog.


3 Tips to Create More Engaging and Fun Poker Resource Sites

3 Tips to Create More Engaging and Fun Poker Resource Sites

Poker is one of the most popular games in the world today. Not just from a gaming aspect and a way to make money, but also just to have fun with friends and family as well. With so much attention on the growing sport of poker, there are now more websites and blogs popping up on the topic as well.

However, with more than a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today, we are all just simply overwhelmed with a massive amount of content online… while also finding it very hard to come across content that really provides value, or sets us in the right direction for whatever it is we might be looking for.

To help with this process, today we are going to cover seven tips and content creation methods to create better content for our audiences, while also keeping them engaged in the process.

After all, if someone is looking for news and information on poker, you want to be able to provide them with the best resources and information as possible. If not, they will likely visit your site once and never come back again.

Here are some tips to implement today to make sure that never happens.

Make Sure Your Site is Mobile Responsive

As technology continues to change the way we live and consume information in our everyday lives, it’s also changing how people use the internet as well. Gone are the days when someone sits at their home desktop computer all day and only browses the internet that way. Now it’s all about tablets and mobile usage.

With mobile and tablet usage on the rise, site owners and bloggers need to make sure their sites and content are accessible on all of these platforms as well.

In fact, it’s not just about accessing your site content and information through such devices, it’s also about making sure your site is fully optimized for viewing on different devices as well. Whether it’s an Android or an iOS device like iPhones, iPads, and iPods, your content needs to be easy to reach and navigate through.

With this in mind, the same holds true for larger gaming brands that might have mobile poker apps that users can download and play on. The good news is, if you are already running a WordPress site, most of the recent and premium WP themes are already updated with responsive themes. If not, then you just need to download a free plugin like JetPack or WP Touch and this can be set up in a matter of seconds.

All in all, one of the first and most important tips to creating a resource site that provides value to everyone, is making sure it’s accessible by all — no matter what device they are using to access your site.

Create an Explainer Video on How to Play Poker

Along with the massive rise of mobile and tablet usage, we can throw video into the mix as well. We can also thank social media for this increasing demand as well. With thousands of updates posted to our social feeds every few minutes, the attention span simply isn’t there anymore to read loads of written text content.

Now that we’ve touched on the importance of video as a better form of content, it’s time to also discuss how video can be used to improve content consumption and engagement on your site as well.

Keywords and search phrases in reference to how to play different card games are being searched for thousands of times per month. As great as some of the content might be that top sites and blogs write up, sometimes video just works a whole lot better.

To improve this tutorial and instruction process, an explainer video would work wonders!

One such solution, mysimpleshow, allows bloggers and content creators to make professional looking explainer videos through the use of a simple drag and drop editor. All one needs to do is write up a quick script on what poker is, how to play it, and what hands are best — and then you have a great explainer video for your audience, which can also be shared on social media.

To see a live example of an explainer video using this concept, check out the example below. Explaining how to do something step by step through an explainer video is simple, effective, and fast. Just think about the different ways you could improve the content and user experience on your poker blog through the use of a similar video.

If the idea of creating an explainer or animation video for your gaming site sounds great, but isn’t something you have a lot of time to invest in, the option is always there to hire a professional design team or freelancer to complete the work for you.

Design a Nice Infographic to Show the Best Poker Hands

Sticking with the concept of content creation and using visuals, it would be a huge mistake to not talk about the power of infographics.

Say for example that you already have a super detailed article on how to play poker. Then you also put in the time and effort to create a great explainer video for it as well. Next on the list should be a custom designed infographic that displays the best winning hands and the odds of getting them.

You can see an example of something like this already through each of the visuals below from various sites. You can run a quick Google search and find a whole bunch of designs and concept ideas if you are running blank.

The great thing about infographics is that they are visual, eye catching and the data is easy to consume. They are do very well in reference to getting social shares and backlinks from other websites.

In reference to creating infographics, this is something you can do through a graphic designer like Canva, or you can outsource the process to graphic designers on Fiverr.

How to Create the Best Gaming Resource Blog Possible

At the end of the day, with more content on the internet than ever before, it’s not just a matter of creating content for your audience but instead to make sure it’s the best content possible.

This isn’t even true just from a content creation aspect, it’s also in relation to your marketing as well. It’s much easier to continually promote one amazing resource article time and time again, versus trying to promote ten different smaller and lower quality articles.

Take the time to run through each of the recommended tips above, and you will soon be on your way to having one of the best gaming resource sites on the internet today!