There is a new Google ranking factor that is believed to have been partially responsible for some major movement in the rankings over the past 90 days. This ranking factor is called searcher task accomplishment. Every blogger needs to understand what this is, how it works, and how to optimize posts for searcher task accomplishment.
Let’s talk about what it is first…
Google is able to cross reference a massive amount of data obtained from Google, Android, and Chrome… Google is able to use this information to identify the search results that fulfill the task that the searcher wants to accomplish.
This is a combination of…
#1 Click Through Rate
#2 Time Spent On Page Before Returning to Google
#3 How Many Searchers Continue on Clicking More Results from the Same Search
#4 How Many Searchers Type in a Different Related Search After They Visit a Search Result
#5 The Percentage of Searchers that Visit a Search Result and Do Not Hit the Back Button to Return to Google
The Searcher Task Accomplishment Path
Moz’s Rand Fishkin says that every information transactional Google search query works like this..
Step 1: Expression of Need
This is the initial search result that the searcher types into Google, and it implies a need to be fulfilled.
Step 2: Underlying Goals
The searcher typically has certain underlying goals. The majority of searchers want to find information, accomplish something, or complete an activity.
Step 3: Evaluation of Results
Each searcher will review the Google results to determine which one will produce the answers that will accomplish their underlying goals.
Step 4: Selection
After they evaluate the results by scanning titles and descriptions, the searchers choose and click on a Google result.
Step 5: Evaluation of Task Completion
After clicking through, the searcher will scan through the post or page. If the information looks promising, then they will begin reading it in an effort to complete their task.
Step 6: Discovery of Additional Needs
After reading all the information on the page or post, the searcher will usually realize they need to know more about a related topic. They will either click through to a related post, or they will return to Google to begin a new search.
Here is an example of a search, and the additional needs.
How to Start a Blog
Determine your blog’s topic > choose a domain name > select a web host > identify best content management system > write your first post > how to craft a post title > SEO
This searcher might begin their search thinking about choosing their blog topic and writing, but they will quickly find out that they will need to know additional information on a wide array of topics.
How Searcher Task Accomplishment Works
Now let’s talk about how searcher task accomplishment works….
Google is going to reward results that..
A) Help accomplish the task
Google wants results for the phrase “change a diaper” to quickly explain how to change a diaper.
B) Discover the additional needs and address them
Google prefers results that will go above and beyond addressing the initial task that needs to be accomplished. Most searchers that type in “change a diaper” are parents of their first child.
In this case, the result should recognize this and address the additional needs within the post or by linking to other posts that contain the answers for…
Best diapers for newborn
Amount of time between wet diapers that point to dehydration
Understanding the different types of poop and what they mean
How to keep your baby from peeing on you and the wall
Keeping your baby from getting diaper rash
The Best Searcher Task Accomplishment Optimization Tactics
There are three ways to satisfy Google’s search task accomplishment…
#1 A long form post covering the basics with embedded YouTube videos.
This type of post will be around 2000 words. You will address the primary need with the first 400 words. You want to get to the answer as quickly as possible. This is followed by a proven YouTube video that shows a visual walk through or dives deeper into addressing their primary need. The rest of the post will be broken into sections for each additional need. Each section will have 100 to 200 words followed by another embedded YouTube video. You should pitch each YouTube video with a call-to-action and a bolded title above the video. In case you are wondering what I meant by a proven YouTube video… A proven video would be one that has a strong thumbs up to thumbs down ratio.
#2 An extra long form post covering everything.
For the How to Start a blog search example that I mentioned earlier, you will probably be going north of 5000 words for the post. You have to break it down into sections for choosing the blog topic, identifying your domain name, selecting a host, why WordPress is the best CMS, writing your first post, crafting great post titles, and blog post SEO.
The simple fact is that most topics, like how to start a blog, have books written about them that span 30,000 to 70,000 words. Your five thousand words should be filled with action items and takeaways. This is how you will be able to cover the big topics in 5000 words.
#3 Create a series of posts
The third and final way to address the searcher task accomplishment ranking factor is to create a series of posts that address the primary and secondary needs of the searcher.
Let’s stick with the example of the search “how to start a blog.” You can address the primary and secondary needs with a series of seven different blog posts.
Post 1 – How to Choose a Topic for Your Blog
Post 2 – Choosing the Perfect Domain for Your Blog
Post 3 – The Best Hosts to Use for a New Blog
Post 4 – Why WordPress is the Most Used Content Management System for Blogs
Post 5 – How to Write Great Blog Posts Everytime
Post 6 – Crafting Blog Post Titles that Drive People to Click
Post 7 – Optimizing Your Blog Posts for Google SEO
The series of posts allows you to create multiple posts. Each post will target different points of the process of gathering information on how to start a blog. Every blog post will include links to each of the posts that are part of the series. At the end of post 1, there will be links to post 2 through 7. At the end of post 2, there will be links to 1 and 3 through 7. And so on.
The series of posts accomplishes the following..
It allows you to have multiple posts that will be optimized for different keyword phrases.
It drives the visitor deeper into your blog. There is a direct correlation to the number of page views per visit and conversions. This is true for products, courses, and email subscribers.
I recommend using the multiple post format over the other two formats.
Each post can be between 800 to 2500 words. It all depends on the topic. If you can cover all the juicy parts in 800 words, then do not try to push it any further. Remember you are trying to answer the initial question in a concise manner and have them go to the next post in your series that addresses their additional needs.
Optimizing Past Posts for a Searcher Task Accomplishment Series
Everytime Google shakes things up with a significant new ranking factor, you need to go back and make some changes to your old posts.
Here is the four step action plan to make timely adjustments to your past posts so they do not get buried in the Google rankings.
#1 Identify existing blog posts that rank in the top 30 in Google results
Since it can take some time to bring old posts up to speed, you want to make sure you invest the time into posts that will pay off. If you are not ranking in the top 30 after six months of publishing a post, then it is probably never going to get high enough to produce significant traffic.
#2 Discover the Additional Needs for Each Post
You can start by typing in the main keyword phrase into Google search and scanning the related searches at the bottom of the first page of results. This is going to show you the additional needs that Google wants you to address. You can expand on this by clicking on each of the related searches and repeating the process of reviewing their related searches. At that point, you should have a good idea of the additional needs of the searcher.
#3 See if you have other posts that already address the additional needs you identified
There is a good chance that you may already have posts on some of the additional needs. In this case, all you will need to do is fill in the blanks to complete a series of posts. These blanks are going to fill up your post planner with posts that your audience wants and needs.
#4 Add Your Call-to-Action Links to the entire series at the bottom of each post
I recommend limiting your call-to-action to text only. Since more than 50% of your visitors will be using mobile devices, images can reduce the effectiveness of a series call-to-action. Start with a strong intro sentence and list out the entire series with numbered links. Use the title of each post for your call-to-action.
Example of a Numbered Series Call-to-Action
Here is an example of an intro sentence with numbered links for a series on how to start a blog…
Choosing the topic for your blog is just the first step. Here are the other six vital components to starting a blog that will be read by thousands.
Choosing the Perfect Domain for Your Blog
The Three Best Hosts for a New Blog
Why WordPress is the Most Used Content Management System for Blogs
And so on…
Example of a FAQ Call-to-Action
You could also structure the call-to-action as a set of frequently asked questions.
Here is an FAQ example for the how to start a blog series…
It will start with a bolded header that reads…
Most Common FAQs on How to Start a Blog
Then it is followed by the six questions that are linked to each of the other six posts in the series.
How to Choose the Perfect Domain for Your Blog?
Which Are The Best Hosting Companies to Use for a New Blog?
Why is WordPress that Best CMS for a Blog?
What do I Need to Include in My First Blog Post?
How do I Craft a Post Title that Will Get Clicked and Shared?
How do I Optimize Blog Posts for Google SEO?
Both of these techniques work great at addressing the additional needs of the searcher, and it will help move all the posts in your series up in the Google rankings.