The 2 User Metrics that Matter for SEO

of Dr. Pete posted

As part of Google’s Panda updates, there is a lot of fear in terms of user metrics and how they are SEO. Many people are afraid that “bad” signals in the Analytics data, especially high bounce rates and low time-on-site could damage, possibly their rankings.

I do not think Google Analytics data directly in touch (I’m defending later), and I do not think they need it. There are two user-metrics that both Google and Yahoo! Search have direct access to: (1) SERP CTR, and (2) “dwell time”, and I think both of these metrics, they can tell a lot about your site


Google Analytics (GA) & SEO

placement . Regardless of whether you think that’s entirely up to you, and I’m not here to argue about. I will only say that it is rare to hear …

Matt say something emphatically. I think the arguments against the use of analytics directly as a ranking factor is much more practical in nature

(1) Not everyone uses GA

Usage statistics for the GA are hard to grasp, but a large 2009 study put the adoption rate at about 28%. I have figures as high as 40%, seen quoted, but it is likely to have somewhere around 2/3 of all sites no GA data. It is hard for Google to penalize or devalue a website on a factor, it is only based on 1/3 of all sites. Worse yet, some of the largest sites of GA are not data, because these are the sites that traditional Enterprise Analytics (WebTrends, Omniture, etc.) can afford.

(2) GA Can Be Mis-installed

Even for companies with GA can not control Google, as it is installed. I can give you the advice and Q & A from here on SEOmoz that GA is often installed hard to say. This can shorten raise bounce rates, time on site and usually add a lot of noise in the system.

(3) GA manipulates


Of course, there is an evil version of (2) – you can mis-install GA on purpose. There are ways to manipulate the most user metrics, if you want, and there is no scalable way for Google to double-check everyone’s installation and setup. After the GA-tags are in your hands, they have lost a lot of control.

To be fair contradict other and think she is no data that Google can get their hands. Some have even indirect evidence that bounce rate is produced in the game . I will discuss a simple point – that Google and Bing do not need Analytics data or bounce rate. They have all the data they need from their own protocols.

1 reason why I do not buy,

One argument you hear is all the time that Google can not possibly be something like bounce rate as a ranking signal, because there is bounce rate is very location-dependent and unreliable by itself. I hear it so often that I take a moment to say that I do not buy this argument was a simple reason. ANY signal ranking, by itself, is unreliable. I do not know a single SEO who argue that the title tags play a role, for example, and yet TITLE tag would be incredibly easy to manipulate. On-page factors can generally be spammed – this is why Google links added to the mix. Links can be spammed – so they have to add social indicators and metrics are users. With over 200 placements factors (Bing says more than 1,000), no single factor has to be perfect.

Metric # 1: SERP CTR

In Google Webmaster Tools you can find data CTR “Your site on the net”> “searches”. It looks something like this:

Google Webmaster Tools screenshot Bing webmaster tools screenshot

p> Of course we also know that Google CTR factors heavily into its paid search quality factor, and Bing has followed suit last year. While paid search algorithm is very different from organic search, it stands to reason that she CTR value. Relevant results drive more clicks.

Metric # 2: Dwell

“, and referred him something called “dwell time”:

Your goal should be that when a visitor on your site that answers all of their content needs, promoting their next action to stay with you. If your content is not encouraging them to stay with you, they will leave. The search engines can get a feel for this by observing the retention get . The time between when a user clicks on our search results and when they come back from your site tells a story potential. A minute or two is good, because it is easy to show visitors your content consumed. Less than a few seconds can be considered a bad result.

dwell in a sense, is an amalgam of bounce rate and time on-site metrics – it measures how long it for someone on a SERP after clicking a return result (and it can be measured directly from the search engine takes its own data).

Google is not quite as transparent, but there is one piece of evidence that strongly suggests that retention and use it myself (or something very similar). Last year, Google tested a feature where, if you clicked a list and then came back quickly in the SERP (ie, your stay was very low), you get the chance to block this site:

Screenshot of the Google site-block-option


This feature is currently available to all users – Google has temporarily with the launch of social personalization. The fact that low residence time in a position to block a website triggered, though, clearly, Google is factoring in residence as a quality signal.

1 + 2 = A Killer Combo

long residence time, it is nearly always have a quality, relevant results.

Do other metrics Matter?

“, and why dwell time may be an improvement on bounce rate. I’m sticking to traditional user metrics from analytics and omitting broader metrics such as speed and location of social signals that bind to well above the user behavior.

What I want you to do is take a wider view of the user to take these metrics, the search engine’s perspective, and should not be obsessed with the SEO effectiveness of your Analytics data. I have seen people remove and even manipulate GA-Tags in recently, for fear of SEO questions, and what it is usually end up doing just the destruction of the reliability of their own data. I do not think either Google or Clusty are using direct analytics data, and even if they do down the road, they are likely to combine that data with other factors.

So what should you do?

You should

search snippets of clicks go to relevant pages and build pages that make people stay on your site. At the end of the day, it sounds pretty obvious, and it is good for both SEO and Conversion. More specifically, think of the combo – Drive Clicks is useless (and probably even harmful for SEO), when most people to leave immediately click your Web site. The work to find the balance and relevant keywords to drive the right clicks.


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