What is the user-side SEO and How to take advantage of it?


According to Matt Cutts – the head of Google’s Webspam team – Google use more than 200 variables for the ranking score algorithm.

After analyzing a large amount of websites and ranking reports we established that there are 3 main categories of variables:

1) onsite variables – onpage SEO + good server  configuration will result in a high score on this category

2) offsite variables – high quality backlinks on forums, blog articles, news, social platforms + a  good number of followers, Likes and +1es and users reviews ( especially on google maps ) are very important for having a good score

First two categories are well documented on the Internet, and most of the SEO Experts are focusing attention on them. The search engines analyze them from time to time and establish fix score for each URL.

If the SERPs will be generated only based on first two categories of variables then all users will receive the same results all around the world.

The category that makes the difference, by modifying the fix score, is the third one:

3) user-side variables:

  • IP address user location ( not the hosting server IP )
  • search engine.TLD
  • search language ( the HL attribute on google )
  • device type
  • account settings: friends preferences, history, search preferences

Those 5 variables have HUGE impact on changing the SERPs.

You can find the meaning of each variable on my previous article Understanding SERP Reports .

There are exactly the same number of search results rankings as the number of combinations between those user-side variables and for each you can apply a different SEO strategy for a better ranking.

The question is How to take advantage of the user-side SEO as we can not modify any of those variables ?

I will give two examples:

1) For the US you can see on the following report that only by changing the user IP location the results will modify a lot:

US Report on different cities

Now, you can try to think the next way. Which other than location can be changed for US for bringing best value to the SEO ?

An easy approach could be to target the Spanish population from the US, about 37 millions people, on English keywords ( many services and/or products has generic names ) on searches having as default language the Spanish.

2) On other countries than US thinks are even easier. Take a look to the next report . The competition level on google.ro for the selected keyword is high, but many users in Romania does use google.com for searches where the competition is low for the Romanian keywords.

By adjusting the SEO strategy the site can be placed on first google.com positions and get lot of traffic with small efforts.

You can look into mobile results and try to improve the rankings, on another location ( city ) or language results in the same country if there are enough speakers.

Choose the easiest to be approached combination of variables , with the best ( traffic estimation/competition level ) rapport, adjust your SEO strategy according to it and the results will start coming right away.

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Sergiu Draganus

Keyword Search Rankings