Here we are to yet another chapter in Google’s ongoing quest to bring the highest quality and relevant content to its rightful audience.
Although not explicitly declared a ranking factor by Google, SEO experts from all over the internet suggest to take Searcher Task Accomplishment seriously, and it makes perfect sense.
What is Searcher Task Accomplishment?
Basically, Searcher Task Accomplishment is the idea that content should give users the best, most high quality and fast answer they need in order to solve the problems they search for on search engines.
As an example of the ultimate goal of Searcher Task Accomplishment, let’s say that I’m searching for “best headphones for running”.
I click on the first search result that seem to answer my question, but end up having more questions than before. Now I’m all about trying to understand whether I should get “earhook headphones” or stick with more traditional ones. Should they be “noise cancelling”, bluetooth or wired? The list goes on.
This brings me to perform multiple searches, for different micro-problems within my main one. Wouldn’t it be great if a website held all the information I needed, instead of having me jumping from site to site?
That’s what Google seems to be looking forward to.
Is Searcher Task Accomplishment important for SEO?
Right now it is not yet confirmed as a ranking factor. Still, both Google Search algorithm’s history and just the number of tweaks and updates that it received in the past few months – focusing on mobile-first indexing, Structured Data, AMP content and more – seem to point towards that direction.
If you know what SEO is all about, then Searcher Task Accomplishment would not only not suprise you, but also feel quite obvious.
If lately the spotlight seems to be hitting harder on the subject, it’s because users change their searching behaviour constantly as technology evolves. Think of Voice Search, just to name one. Users perform their searches as if they were in a conversation, not just by spelling the keywords “best headphones running”.
Providing the users with the most complete answers possible to their questions has always been the main way to optimise your content. Now it’s just even more important.
How to optimise for Searcher Task Accomplishment?
Just like you should do when optimising your content, start with a keyword research.
Google Live Search already suggests us something.
People looking for “headphones for running” might find out that they have to choose either wired or wireless headphones. This means they may be interested in knowing what the actual difference between them is. That’s some quality content you can start thinking about.
Once you pick some other keywords related to your main one, start looking at what results they display in the SERP and visit some of them. By this time Google is already gathering up information on how to give you the most useful answer.
One of the pages ranking for “best wireless headphones for running”, for instance, may introduce something you didn’t know about, such as bone-conduction headphones! Suddenly it’s not just “wired vs wireless headphones” anymore.
See how a simple search may reveal lots of interesting clues on how to write good quality content?
The bottom line, as always, is not to write content just to trick Google’s algorithm into ranking you higher. Write content that answers questions in the most efficient way possible.
All other “SEO rules” apply, of course, and help you perform better on SERPs: page speed, mobile-first approach, backlinks, keyword research, correct headings optimisation, etc.
How to balance SEO and CRO with Searcher Task Accomplishment?
In Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays about Searcher Task Accomplishment Rand Fishkin discusses this issue. At the very bottom of the article he included the slides from a presentation he prepared in 2017: “Why We Can’t Do SEO Without CRO“.
In the last slide he wraps up the discussion saying that “helping users first often leads to better long-term ROI”.
A good Searcher Task Accomplishment leads to Searcher Satisfaction, which leads to users put more trust in your name or brand. More trust leads users to visit you often and, ultimately, leads to better conversions.