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Search Engine Optimization is Changing Alongside User Behavior

November 22, 2019

Traditionally, search engine optimization has been strictly preoccupied with getting results into the first position on a search engine results page (SERP). But the latest research suggests that this isn’t quite as important as it used to be.

In 2006, just over half of all clicks went to the top spot on any given SERP. But today, that amount of traffic is distributed across roughly the top three organic search results. The change in user behavior reflects differences in how search engine results are displayed. And it may also reflect the fact that web users are just savvier about finding the information they want.

Search engine optimization techniques need to take into account both technical and behavioral changes. And there is every reason to believe that these changes will be ongoing. While there’s often value in sticking with a local SEO company over the long term, that company must demonstrate readiness to evolve. Today’s strategy cannot be the same as in 2006, or as in 2022.

Academic research can reveal a lot about how user behavior is changing in general. But on-site analytics can also teach an SEO company about the behavior of specific users. The overall takeaway from recent research is that search engine optimization should focus as much effort on making results eye-catching as on making them first. But the best means of accomplishing this may vary from site to site, and from keyword to keyword.

Some search engine optimization strategies might still depend on securing the top slot in organic results. Others might call for finding a place in the video or image search carousels that show up on many SERPS. And still others could entail paying for sponsored links instead of relying on organic clicks.

This all goes to show that there is no one size fits all solution for search engine optimization. There never has been, but strategies need to be more varied today than ever before. This trend will surely continue, and the lesson for site owners is that it’s becoming ever more important to make sure that your local SEO company will give you the attention you deserve.

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