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Regardless of the industry you are working in, Google and their SEO guidelines are becoming ever more important when it comes to the surfacing of your content to potential users. With these guidelines, many questions and concerns have been raised, especially when it comes to personalization and the impact it can have on overall SEO scores. This blog post will show how personalization can help to boost your overall SEO and subsequent user experience while also debunking some of the most common myths pertaining to personalization and SEO.
At its core, SEO is focused on making sure the user who searches for something in a search engine is seeing the most relevant content to their search, and the engine decides which content to show based on their specific set of criteria. This includes things like: bounce rate, page experience, high quality content & how trustworthy your domain is.
Bounce rate is commonly defined as the amount of visitors who navigate off the site after viewing only one page, typically expressed as a percentage. Bounce rates of news websites are typically pretty high as many readers come from search engines only for one specific article and tend not to continue browsing after that. With content recommendations well presented on the article page, you can motivate readers to read at least one more article, which will substantially decrease your bounce rate and therefore positively influence your SEO score.
Having had a positive first interaction with the website, the user is more likely to explore other pages on the website, further nudged by personalized content recommendations. As a result, the number of pages visited per session will also increase along with time spent on the website, which will be two important factors in improving and maintaining your SEO.
Knowing that the amount of time spent on the page and the website will increase as a result of a personalized experience, the Dwell Time (the time between a click on search result link before they again return to the search page) will also increase. This will give the search engine the feeling that the user truly found what the user was looking for in your website, significantly impacting your ranking in the search results.
Similarly, the chances of Pogo-Sticking (an incredibly short dwell time resulting from clicking on many different search result links) should also significantly decrease as the user spends more time engaging with your site.
Personalized content recommendations will also activate the long tail of content that you have which in return will save your team time and resources when it comes to internal linking.
A great example of personalization leading to an increase within these metrics is our recent collaboration with Medienhaus Aachen focusing on session length. Through the implementation of a “Continue Reading” module on their article pages, they realized an increase of 4% in “media time”’ (equivalent to time spent on the website) compared to pages without personalization.
One component of a website that can impact your SEO along with user experience is the loading time of a page. Depending on how the personalization has been set up and integrated into your website, will determine if your speed is impacted or not.
However, we find that the majority of publishers prefer to integrate through their back-end to keep control & optimize the end to end page loading time. This method also easily complies with the Google Page Experience update because all changes are made on the back end server, before it reaches the browser.
Cloaking is when you present one version of a web page to search engine bots while showing a different version to the users who visit it. Search engines can interpret this negatively and it will impact your overall SEO score.However, vendors like Froomle treat search engine bots the same way they treat your readers, so your personalization efforts will not be seen as fraudulent.
Duplicate content refers to having substantive blocks of identical or similar content that appears on a single domain (like your website) or across domains. Typically this is not with malicious intent, which is why Google does not issue a penalty to your account.
When it comes to personalization, it is important to understand that implementing this solution does not create duplicate content. However, for Google’s crawlers that are visiting websites repeatedly and seeing different content each time, there are procedures in place to ensure that individualized recommendations are not seen as duplicate content. At Froomle, through the use of modular personalization, we make it possible to balance static and dynamic content distribution throughout your website, placing recommendations in strategic locations dependent on your business goal.
Examining the actual recommendations themselves, Froomle ensures that there is no duplicate content being shown in our recommendations, meaning you should not see the same article twice within the same block. As an extra measure, for publishers using server side integration, Froomle actively detects these crawlers and configures static recommendations specifically for these users.
With the lightning fast changes happening across major platforms like Google & Apple, it is only natural to have concerns around the sources of the traffic that bring customers to your website or digital channel. With SEO and personalization, concerns around cloaking, loading time speed and duplicate content are all valid, but as demonstrated through our experience, personalization when done correctly can resolve these concerns, resulting in even better SEO and user experience.
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