We use Google for everything. From finding the next restaurant we will eat at, to hiring a plumber (and everything in between) these journeys often start with a simple web search. But what factors affect the results shown to the user? Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a huge role in what pages platforms show first, but what about the aspects that are out of a company’s control? Read on to learn about 4 factors that influence your search result.
If you’ve ever searched for a restaurant , chances are your location has had a huge impact on the results you received. Google uses location services to determine where a user is, then returns results that are relevant for that location.
For example, if a user in Chicago were to search for “Thai restaurants,” they would have a vastly different result than someone entering the same query in Los Angeles. This is even the case between different neighborhoods. Google pinpoints the location of the device you’re searching from and shows you the most relevant results, prioritizing those nearby. Savvy searchers can use this to their advantage by adding the term “near me” at the end of a query. For example, if a user were to search for “Thai restaurants near me,” Google would create a prompt to allow location access, and hyperlocal results would populate along with a convenient map.
It’s no secret that Google stores your search history unless you specifically opt out. Google uses this information to learn more about each user in an attempt to provide more accurate search results. In other words, Google tracks your online behavior to provide you with more relevant content. Often, cookies stored on your web browser inform search engines of your online behavior, providing key data that can affect your search results. This comes with its pros and cons, however. As one would expect, search engines can learn a lot about a user by their browsing history. Some factors include demographic information, political affiliation, interests, location, and more. Some users have criticized Google, stating that the engine’s job is to stay impartial. In any case, it’s clear that your history affects the results shown on searches.
You may have searched for a product and seen a photo of the item featured on the top of Google’s SERP (search engine results page) displaying a price and the word “sponsored.” As you can guess, advertisers pay for this content, hoping to sell you an item by displaying an ad for it. This type of advertisement is called a Google Display Ad and operates on the concept of “Pay Per Click” or PPC. This means that advertisers have paid for their product to appear when certain keywords are entered into the query. Based upon your search term and history (Google prefers to show ads to those it thinks will be receptive) the results on the SERP change. Think of it this way: advertisers are essentially bidding for your click. Based upon which advertiser won the bid, your search results will change.
We use smartphones for everything nowadays. As a result, Google has given priority to mobile-friendly sites, favoring them over their desktop-only counterparts in search. This means that if you’re searching on a mobile device, you will likely have different results than on desktop. Because the majority of users search on mobile devices, it’s become imperative for webmasters to create sites that are optimized for mobile. Factor in the fact that your mobile device likely has different web history and location than your desktop, and search results could be significantly different, even with the same keywords.
There are many factors that can affect your search result. Although content creators influence a number of these (through SEO, mobile-optimization, etc.) it’s impossible to ignore user’s role. In their attempt to serve the most relevant content, Google and other search engines customize results for the user. While these aspects do have an effect on the results a search engine serves the user, a solid search marketing strategy – paid or otherwise – is still most important regarding search.
If you’re struggling to reach users through search, our team at Traffic Jams can help. Call us at (855)-599-3999, or email [email protected].