User engagement is described as ‘the interaction visitors who come to your website have with the content on your page’ and, quite simply, there are two reasons why you would want to increase this engagement:
- It means you are creating content that is more valuable to your visitors,
- It sends a signal to Google that you have great content.
When Google thinks that it sees user engagement with your page and it thinks that you have great content, maybe better content than your competitors, it’s going to rank your content higher in the search engines, you get higher rankings. From higher rankings you’re going to get more clicks and more visitors to your site so that’s why you want to do it.
First thing I want to talk about is video
When I put videos on my pages and I track visitor clicks using a tool like Hot Jar, I almost always see that people are clicking that play button in the middle of the videos. This is where a high percentage of my traffic comes from.
Lots of people love to watch videos and they may continue to scroll and listen to the videos and read the content at the same time. The good thing about video is that it increases time on page and that’s a signal to Google that you have better user engagement.
Another tool I want to mention is audio
Audio files are less common than video files, especially on blogs, but I’ve seen positive results from my audio listening options to the order of around 15 to 20 percent. This translates to better time on page and all it takes is five to eight minutes to read the text of your article, record an audio file and then add it as an audio file in WordPress, it’s an easy thing that you can do.
Using inner-linking and surprising clicks
These are links between articles on your website from one article to another article. The more contextually relevant your links to other articles on your site are the more you’re going to be increasing those all-important metrics.
When you inner-link, one thing to keep in mind is that you’re going to get a lot more clicks on links if they are surprising to users. If you have a link on an article that says something like ‘Why you should be watching more TV.’ Yes, it’s click bait but it’s going to increase the number of clicks on articles and keep visitors on your site longer.
I’m not saying you want to deceive and lie to people, not suggesting that, but you want to be very interesting and surprising for users and that’s going to keep people on your pages.
With respect to inner-linking, you can use WordPress plugins that will put related links into the format of your pages but the most valuable kind of inner-linking is the inner-linking you do yourself where you strategically put those links within your article.
Images can make or break
Another way that you can make your articles more engaging for users is the appropriate use of images, very plain ordinary images aren’t going to do a whole lot for you but if you can use interesting images then it’s going to tempt people to scroll down farther on your page and also visitors will spend time looking at the images as they’re going by or sometimes click on the images to see what’s behind the images.
Format for impact
One more item that maybe isn’t as obvious is article formatting itself. If you break your paragraphs into smaller chunks, if you have more bulleted lists or more check marked lists, if you have call outs with quotes or definitions, if you have more titles and subtitles, these will make your pages more attractive and inviting.
You will have better user engagement metrics if your articles have better formatting and it’s so easy to do you can start today.
Here I am talking about dividing your article into different blocks so that the user needs to click through to the next page to finish reading. From a purely metrics perspective it looks great but you have to balance that against the idea that Google is looking for broader topic coverage which usually means more text linked to your article versus having multiple articles.
Pagination doesn’t work for all websites so test it in a particular arena and if it works for you then roll with it, it works for the Mayo Clinic and I’ve seen it employed successfully for WebM.D. as well.
Make them stay until the end
Another thing I believe Google looks at, I’m not sure exactly how it measures it, is whether users scroll all the way to the bottom of the page or whether they stop at the beginning or stop in the middle of the page.
Clearly users that scroll to the very end send a signal to Google that people are interested in consuming everything that you have to say.