Google, Organic Search

Google Updates Show Importance of Landing Page User Experience

Twitter: @brettwesterman

0 Comments 14 September 2011

Recent minor updates to how Google interfaces with searchers indicate an increasing importance placed on user experience and avoiding the dreaded visitor bounce (leaving after viewing only 1 page) when arriving through organic search.

Let’s say that you published decent content and Google deemed it worthy of ranking highly on its search engine. Hurdle #1 has been conquered. The next step is persuading a user to click on your listing – you have a relevant keyword-rich title and meta description right? With any luck, you’ve just earned yourself a visitor. The user experience presented on the landing page now makes the difference between an engaged visitor clicking across multiple pages per visit and one who bounces immediately by furiously clicking the BACK button on his browser.

We ran a handful of tests where the query resulted in a desired link on the first page, which we then visited but immediately bounced and returned to the search results. The SERP had been adjusted slightly based on this behavior, which in Google’s eyes meant we were dissatisfied with the clicked result.


The immediate bounce adjusted the search results to now show an option to “Get more results from the past 24 hours” below the listing that was just clicked. Google understands you were dissatisfied with the clicked listing and might be interested in more recent material. In addition to recent listings from the same domain, other sites are offered as well, potentially derailing the visitor from returning to your site. As well, a ‘Block Results’ link is now available for that extreme case.

Step 1: Searched Google for query [man of the house]

Step 2: Received the below listing and clicked-through to the site

Step 3: Immediately bounced from the site, returning to Google

Step 4: The listing has now been modified to include recent results & option to block

Step 5: Expanded recent results include other domains


Two additional SERP tests revealed a “Block Results’ link immediately following the site bounce. This rather extreme action could have major repercussions for your site if the user was extremely dissatisfied with his landing page experience.

Step 1: Searched Google for queries [craig heimbuch] and [push present ideas]

Step 2: Received the below listings and clicked-through to the site

Step 3: Immediately bounced from the site, returning to Google

Step 4: The listing has now been modified to allow blocking the entire domain

Keeping visitors on your site is important for a number of reasons (business objectives, site engagement, brand loyalty) but now we see a potential negative impact on your organic search results as well. Creating a landing page (or just adapting your site in general) that allows a clean and easy user experience can benefit both your visitors and your organic search listings.

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