Everyone has been scrambling to understand Google’s new algorithms, but it is quickly becoming clear that there is one ranking factor that many SEO experts are not utilizing: engagement.
What Is Engagement?
Most people immediately think of onsite engagement when they discuss the word, but overall web engagement is frequently ignored. In fact, many SEO experts focus exclusively on onsite engagement to the detriment of overall web engagement with sites and brands. For example, branded searches are often ignored in researching keywords, although they are frequently used by those searching for particular products. Overall engagement also includes time on site, browse rate, traffic referrals that you send out to the rest of the web, and non-link forms of amplification such as press releases and social media.
How Does Engagement Affect Ranking?
Because it is difficult to trace a direct, easy to follow relationship between engagement and rankings, many SEOs simply do not make time for this crucial factor. Links are easy to understand and their impact is easy to measure, so it is important for SEOs to be able to show improvement in these areas. However, it is also important for the client’s long-term growth to address other engagement issues as well.
SEO experts do not usually ignore engagement completely. However, they may not be optimizing as well as they could for the subtle factors that make up great results. This may be in an effort to appease the client, as many clients want fast, measurable results. Taking this approach can injure your overall growth, though, so it is important to address this short-sightedness in the context of an overall SEO plan. Additionally, SEO’s must have the right tools to access the data that will make the argument for attention to overall engagement.
How Can I Improve Engagement?
If you are an SEO expert, it is important to make the case for engagement. One of the best ways to do this is to socialize. Contact and talk with others in your field to learn how they are pitching engagement to their clients. The hard work you put in convincing clients to focus on overall engagement will pay off in better results.
If you are a client, listen to your SEO’s talk about engagement. You will get better long-term website development and performance and will receive a much higher return on your investment in the long run.