Clients often ask what is the #1 SEO ranking factor they can focus on for solid search engine results, the answer seems less technical than they expected.

As Cyrus Shepard of SEOMoz points out in his recent blog post, user satisfaction is at the top of his list. And, it’s at the top of mine too and for some reason, that always catches people off guard.

It all comes down to providing an good answer to the user’s search query. Whether it is a recipe, a tutorial, a red dress, a comical aside – whatever your niche is – get good at satisfying your audience and you’ll enjoy more traffic and higher search ratings naturally.

It won’t occur over night, but a steadfast focus on user satisfaction will definitely make a noticeable difference. Below is an excerpt of Cyrus’s article, you can click through if you want to read the rest.

Posted by Cyrus Shepard

You know the numbers Google uses over 200 ranking signals, updates its algorithm over 500 times a year, and employs thousands of engineers. We often get so caught up in the minutiae of the algorithm that we forget all this effort serves a single purpose:

Satisfy the user.

This isn’t a touchy-feely post that says “Make great content and visitors will come” or “Delight your customers and magic will happen.”

It’s not magic. Satisfaction is an actual ranking factor.

Unlike other ranking factors, this one is hard to measure because it’s based almost entirely on search engines’ own internal data — something they don’t share. We do know search engines both measure and reward satisfaction in very significant ways. In fact, I highly suspect satisfaction is one of Google’s most important metrics used to judge the performance of its own search results.

It’s easy to tweak a keyword. It’s much harder to stop visitors from clicking the back button on your website when they don’t find what they were looking for. Satisfaction is very difficult to game; perhaps that’s why search engines place so much emphasis on it.

How Google measures and predicts satisfaction

User behavior in search results

Stephen Levy’s excellent book In the Plex describes how Google engineers figured out how to improve search results by mining their user behavior data (bold added):

“Google could see how satisfied users were… The best sign of their happiness was the “long click” — this occurred

[ Read original: SEO Ranking Factor #1 is Satisfaction ]

When you think about it, it honestly make sense. Happy, satisfied users tell others. They share your content on social media – they link to it on their blogs. So, the next time you are thinking, “What can I do to get better traffic on my website?” Ask yourself instead, “How can I make my visitors extremely satisfied?”  Then you’ll be moving in the right direction.

Of course, if you can’t answer that question – give me a ring or drop me a line.  I’m confident I can help you out!

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