My first major experience with SEO was back in 2006, I created a microsite about Tumor Ablation, and using SEO I quickly got to the top of the first page of Google searches for Tumor Ablation. Then our sales team was easily able to sell sponsorship to a medical device company that made a Tumor Ablation device. That year we more than doubled online revenue. That was so cool! Since then I have been hooked on SEO.
When comes to the future of SEO, I think focusing on usability is a great way to prepare for the future updates to the Google search algorithm, the Google updates tend to improve the searchers experience and usability. So the best bet is to focus on SEO and usability at the same time.
I read somewhere that someone thought a high bounce rate will lower your search engine ranking. I think bounce rate is more of a symptom that appears along with other reasons for underperforming in search results. I don’t think bounce rate should be a negative thing in itself. What if you crafted your landing page so well that all the info they needed was on that page? And then they convert by submitting a sales lead form contained on the page, without loading a new page? Then they left the page after converting, so they bounced, but it was a successful page. Another reason why I don’t think bounce rate would affect ranking, is because Google wants everyone to use Google Analytics, if they knew your bounce rate because of GA, then penalized you for it, then you would be less likely to use GA on your website. So bounce rate struck me as something that should not affect search ranking, but I would like to know your take on bounce rate affecting search ranking.
An example of usability over page views. For example, NIH vs WebMD. For a similar topic, such information on a specific drug. On WebMD it takes lots of clicks to new pages to get all the information, but with the NIH page, they have jump links to get to all the content on just one page. NIH wins usability. Google already favors content rich pages, and I think this will give NIH an edge over Web MD.
SEO is intellectually stimulating to me. I like trying to figure out how the algorithms work, not just search algorithms. I once created a Pandora station for Britney Spears, then I gave thumbs down to all her songs, and the other songs that I did not like, eventually, I got them to play the Talking Heads. I really enjoy trying to wrap my head around algorithms and test things out.