Still not convinced of the value of SEO for local news publishers? A new Google user behavior study has uncovered some surprising search insights.
Analyzing more than 1,800 Google user behavior sessions, the data team at Backlinko found that just 9% of Google searchers make it to the bottom of the first page of search results. News publishers who aren’t featured near the top of that first page are being skipped over altogether. Backlinko also found that 50% of Google users click on a result within 9 seconds of searching, and the average amount of time it takes a user to click on something is 14.6 seconds.
Those weren’t the only surprising search insights discovered in this new user behavior study.
As Backlinko’s team investigated how many people click on ads vs. organic results, and the percentage of clicks that go to local, they found that the majority of Google users visit a single page during their search session. Just 6% need to visit four or more pages in order to get an answer to their query.
What does that mean for digital news publishers?
For starters, it signals the need for publishers to do more to keep people on their websites for longer. Publishers don’t want to invest resources into an SEO strategy that just leads to high turnover and bounce rates. And yet, the data suggests that’s exactly what’s happening in many cases. Publishers who implement SEO strategies without simultaneously focusing on methods of engagement are finding that visitors who arrive at their website through Google search are bouncing after reading just one page. That kind of traffic is minimally useful, since visitors who arrive and bounce after reading just one page are unlikely to ever become paying subscribers.
What should publishers be doing to keep those visitors around for longer?
The list is extensive, but a few strategies include adding “Related article” lists at the bottom of all article pages and using popups or overlays to collect visitor email addresses for future remarketing efforts.
Publishers should also be doing everything they can to ensure the content on their webpages is relevant to the keywords that visitors are using to find their websites. Keyword stuffing, spamdexing, and other black hat SEO techniques might temporarily improve a publication’s ranking on search engine results pages, but the lifetime value is poor and the danger of being blacklisted from Google search results is very real.
People who arrive at a website and don’t find the information they need will bounce almost immediately. That helps to explain another one of the surprising search insights from Backlinko’s study, which was that the average search session takes 76 seconds to complete. Half of all search sessions are finished within 53 seconds.
Time is of the essence. Online searchers have never been more hurried. Publishers need to put the information visitors are looking for upfront so it’s seen immediately, and they need to follow it up with engagement techniques like email collection forms and “Related articles” lists.
Google Search for Publishers – 5 Takeaways
If you don’t have time to read through Backlinko’s complete user behavior study, we’ve got you covered. Here are the key takeaways and surprising search insights you’ll want to keep in mind.
- People who conduct local searches tend to click on an autocomplete suggestion more often than those searching for commercial queries.
- 50% of Google users click on their result within 9 seconds of searching.
- 17% of users bounce back to the search results after clicking on a result.
- 59% of Google users visit a single page during their search session.
- Just .44% of searchers go to the second page of search results.