What Does Relevance Really Mean?

We can all understand whether content is interesting or not – but how exactly do you measure something’s “relevance” online? Let’s discuss.

When it comes to your website, there are endless reasons a visitor will leave early in the user journey – whether it be bad design, being served too many ads, or difficult navigation. One of the most important reasons visitors leave is a lack of interesting and relevant content. We can all understand whether content is interesting or not – but how exactly do you measure something’s “relevance” online? Let’s discuss.

What exactly is relevance?

It is important to know what your visitors are searching for and finding successfully. It is equally important to understand what they are searching for and NOT finding. You can design a beautiful website with a pleasant user experience, but none of it will matter or keep visitors engaged if the content is insufficient. This is where relevance comes in.

Relevance (n): the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate

In the search world, relevance refers to how relevant the search results are to a given search. When determining relevance, search engines like Cludo consider hundreds of factors, including:

  • Semantic signals (what is the meaning or intent of the content)
  • Linguistic signals (what words are used on the page, and in what context)
  • Prominence factors (which words are most prominent on the page, and how is the content structured)
  • Length
  • Publish date
  • And more

Each time a search is completed, our machine learning goes into effect to determine the intent of a user’s search and decide which piece(s) of content on your site would be most applicable to their search.

If you want to improve the relevance of your content for both external search engines like Google and your on-site search engine, ask yourself: is my content designed around what my users care about? Or is it designed around what I think they should care about? You would be surprised by how many organizations, large and small, fall into the trap of the second.

When a visitor enters your site, there is a 43% chance they will go straight to the search bar to navigate. These search queries can tell you everything you need to know about your site and how relevant your content is.

Why does relevance matter?

So now you understand the basics of search relevance. But you may be asking yourself: how does this really affect me? SEO can seem like a mysterious and confusing mountain to climb, but it’s not as hard as you may think. Search engines like Google and Bing invest millions of dollars into trying to think like people. Luckily you have a leg up: you are a person for free!

Take a look at your content with a human eye. How relevant is it to the keywords you want to rank for? If you’re writing about a certain topic, like potato chips, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How often do you write about potato chips as opposed to other related topics?
  • Are potato chips mentioned in prominent page sections like the headers or titles?
  • How long is the article? How comprehensive is it compared to competitors’ content?

Here’s a basic rule of thumb: keep your customers top-of-mind when you create content. Do your research and make content you think your users would like to read, and you are much more likely to be relevant to search engines.

How Cludo can help improve your relevance

Cludo enables you to maintain relevance across millions of site search queries by learning, refining and improving as it goes along. Our solution has many features to enhance your site relevance, the three most important being: page rankings, custom page rankings and dynamic re-ranking.

  • Automated page rankings are automatic rankings based on visitor patterns. If one link in particular is repeatedly clicked over others, it will be moved to the top of the rankings. Same goes for less popular links – if a link isn’t getting much response it will be moved down the list.
  • Custom page rankings are your way of customizing what shows up after certain words and phrases are searched. Page rankings overrule all settings, controllable on a per query basis.
  • Dynamic Re-ranking is a way of promoting parts of your site while deprioritizing others. Customize your engine settings to boost search results that provide more value or decrease the value of less important pages or files.

By utilizing Cludo’s site search solution and analytics, you can gain insights on what your visitors are looking for. From there, customize your page rankings, boost the parts of your website you want seen and create new content inspired by your customers searches.

Ready to find where your content is lacking relevance? Request a demo now!

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