Website Visitors

Website Visitors

Google is constantly working to improve its algorithms for ranking sites in search engine result pages. With the most recent Panda and Penguin updates, there were several changes made to the way a page rank is calculated. There were 7 ranking factors that stand out from any of the other factors that are used: backlinks, social signals, author rank, branding, on page SEO, age/time signals and website visitors. Just how the website visitor metrics are used has been the question.

How is Traffic Calculated in Rankings?

There are two ways that Google includes traffic in its algorithm for assigning rank. One is the bounce rate/time on a site as described below. The other is similar to the way links are viewed by Google analytics. On one hand, having more site visitors is viewed as a very good thing. It’s better overall to have 100 hits a day as opposed to 10. But just like links, they must be legitimate rather than just generated. It will do no good to purchase or solicit a lot of hits from your friends. Increasing the number of legitimate hits on your site will help determine the site’s popularity level which is something that Google will take into account. The other way having relevant hits on your site helps site ranking is that it helps establish the authority of the site.

Google’s Bounce Rate Analysis

Bounce rate is a term that is used in analyzing web traffic. It refers to the percentage of site visitors which come to the site and leave the site without exploring or interacting in any way. For Google it is a way of analyzing traffic quality on a site. The average bounce rate is between 40 and 60%. If your site or a page on your site has a bounce rate of 95%, then it is considered to be a low quality page. Google will not rank it high in search results because it is likely that it does not contain enough relevant information to engage visitors. When there is a low bounce rate, it shows that the site is effectively delivering information to site visitor,s so that they are willing to explore and continue on the site. Google can tell a lot about a site by how long it keeps the user engaged and this can be used as a real time ranking factor.

What is Google Looking For?

There are several website metrics used by Google. For one thing, they will look at how long a visitor spent on the site. Spending 10 minutes on a site is better for ranking purposes than visitors who spend only a few seconds. Basically, the longer a visitor is on the page the better it looks to Google. Analytics will include using the bounce rate to determine a site’s authority and relevance. If users hit the “back” button, enter another URL or close the page it is considered a bounce. Google assumes that the site is not engaging or informative enough and therefore too many bounces indicate an ineffective site which will not achieve a high ranking in the SERPs.

The best case scenario for a webmaster is that a visitor clicks on the link from a search query and then spends some time looking at several pages on the site. Google will recognize a site such as this as a legitimate and trustworthy site. The more pages a user views before they go elsewhere, the better it is for the metrics and the site ranking. And repeat visitors are also a plus according to many experts.

Achieve Better Ranking

The bounce rate for a site is a concern for any web marketer besides the fact that Google uses it to determine the site’s rank. By analyzing the bounce rate it can help an SEO or webmaster refine the pages on the site which have higher bounce rates instead of going through to refine all of the pages on the site. Looking at the bounce rate, or adjusted bounce rate can help you determine the quality of your main landing pages from organic searches. And it can help a webmaster better understand the quality of their traffic. Ultimately you do want conversions to come from campaign traffic, but it is also important to have users actively involved and engaged. And the bounce rate can help you with troubleshooting any SEO problems that are related to the Panda updates. When a Panda update yields a blow to your site, it gives you the opportunity to analyze the content to see what might be considered to be of low quality.

Since we know that Google does consider traffic when ranking a site, it is imperative to incorporate best practices for web design into an SEO campaign. The old saying from Field of Dreams was, “build it and they will come” comes to mind. But there is much more to a successful SEO campaign or a web marketing campaign than just building a site. It must engage the visitor and give them information that is relevant enough for them to check out the rest of the site. Improving site content and navigation are essential to achieving a higher rank based on Google analytics of site traffic for ranking purposes.