User Signals - The Ranking Factor you Should Care About
As years pass, the way search engines rank web pages evolves.
New factors are added regularly and the algorithms become
altogether more complex.
When the search engine optimisation game
started, it was fairly straightforward. All you had to do was list
the keywords that you wanted to rank for, and Bob was your
proverbial uncle. The search engines then evolved to look at the
quantity of content on a webpage, but it was quickly realised that
this was equally easy to game, so content quality factors were
thrown into the mix. Backlinks were then introduced as a measure of
popularity and the pattern was similar. Firstly, weight was given
to the quantity of links, before the algorithms were refined to
consider the quality as well. 2012 saw social signals creep in, and
now there's another new kid on the block; user signals.
The most important user signals to the search engines
are thought to be click through rate, average time spent on site,
and bounce rate. It's true to say that search engines such as
Google and Bing have been using these signals for a number of
years, but their weight in the algorithm has grown significantly
through 2014. In fact, Search Metrics reported click through rate as
the top-ranking factor in this years correlation study:
When you think about it, this makes sense. If
Google knows that the number one organic ranking webpage averages a
click through rate of 32%, but the website ranking number one for a
specific keyword only achieves a click through rate of 20%, then
that's a pretty big sign that the page isn't overly relevant to the
user. But it's not just on a keyword-by-keyword basis that this is
judged. It is widely believed that the search engines consider your
websites overall organic click through rate as well.
So how do you go about increasing your click through
Having compelling titles and meta descriptions
is a good place to start, and simple tactics such as truncating
your meta descriptions can work well. Owning as much of the search
real estate as possible for your branded keywords is also a viable
tactic for upping your overall average.
But there is a much bigger picture here, and that is brand.
Building your brand both on and offline, so customers are drawn to
click on your listing over your competitors and search engines can
relate your brand with the services you offer or products you sell,
is becoming increasingly important to your SEO
Posted By Ben Inder
About the author
Ben has a proven track record of improving the online
visibility of businesses locally and nationally.
Often found with his head buried in analytical data, Ben is a
Google Adwords and Google Analytics qualified Individual.