Google Does Value User Satisfaction, After All?
A few months ago, Cyrus Shepard wrote a pretty awesome blog post on Moz. It was about how user satisfaction affects rankings.
I didn’t plan to test whether that was true, and user satisfaction really had an impact on SERP listings. However, I just got my hands on the results, without having to test it all manually.
This is a case of satisfaction largely due to the uniqueness of the content, that saw a page slowly, but steadily, kill the competition and rank #2-#3 on Google.com for a moderately competitive keyword with around 14,800 exact-match monthly searches on Google.
The keyword is “whatsapp tablet”. Though my content ranks for many other related keywords as well, it is the primary keyword that gets the most monthly searches among all.
As you probably already know, WhatsApp is an amazingly popular Instant Messaging application for smartphones. It doesn’t work with tablets.
The thing is that, a lot of users of these tablets, especially Android users, are geeks, and are ready to take an extra step to ensure that WhatsApp, which is by default incompatible with tablets that have no SIM-card slots, works on their WiFi enabled tablets.This explains why “whatsapp tablet” gets searched around 14,800 times universally in an average month.
One of our 28K forum members posted a topic titled: “[Tutorial] Install WhatsApp in Android Tablets [WiFi] [No SIM Card]” back in May. It was a very simplistic tutorial on installing WhatsApp on Android tablets without SIM-card support. And that kind of made the difference!
There were very few (one or two I think) tutorials on installing WhatsApp on non-cellular tablets the time the forum thread was created. So, that helped the thread get to the #8 or #9 spot on the first SERP soon after it was created. The more interesting part is how it jumped to #2 in a few months, overtaking results from much larger sites like XDA-Developers, the official Google Play Store listing, and PlusDroid.
Page Value Analysis
Just look at the number of clicks on just a portion of that page, found using CrazyEgg’s confetti feature. It’s not surprising, if you consider that it gets more than 10K pageviews per month.
The fact that our forum got 97 new user registrations from that single thread in the past 19 days suggests that a large portion of the users trusted the content, and even went ahead and registered in TechTage forum for downloading just the WhatsApp .apk file that they could get from elsewhere.
The Pogo-Sticking Factor
Another thing I suspect but I’m not sure about, is that page has a really low pogo-sticking rate. AJ Kohn defined pogo-sticking as:
Search pogosticking is defined as going back and forth from a search engine results page (SERP) to individual search result destination sites. The behavior may indicate poor search results since the user hasn’t been satisfied by one or more of the SERP results.
So, basically, when users don’t click the ‘back’ button on their browsers soon after loading an SERP result, that’s kind of a positive signal for that result. The forum topic gets over 10K pageviews per month, 95% or more of which come from Google. So, it’s very possible that its ultra-low pogo-sticking rate actually had an impact on its SERP listing, due to the significantly high amount of satisfied visitors.
No, that isn’t black-hat
So, you might be wondering, what if I built black hat links to it to rank it for a short period.
And it’s not hosted on the most powerful domain either.
- If your content impresses real users, chances are, it’ll do good on Google, regardless of other off-page factors.
- Google is hugely valuing user satisfaction as a ranking factor. A low pogo-sticking rate is a major indicator of a webpage that satisfies its visitors.
- High-quality, unique content eventually comes ahead of the rest of the field (read SERP results) just like Usain Bolt.
- Maybe now you should finally focus on other things. If you’ve got nothing to do, just go to sleep, instead of thinking about backlinks all the time — atleast when you know your content is valuable.