Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has always been a balancing act between writing for search engines and writing for users. In the early days, stuffing keywords into your content and across your site was rewarded with top rankings in the search engines. As Google and other search engines strive to bring people the best results in the top positions, the push has been towards high-quality Websites and content.
Don’t know what SEO is? See our What is SEO Questions page.
Have you ever clicked on a search result and seen something like this (forgive my shameless keyword stuffing; it’s in the name of science!): “Webolutions is a search engine marketing company located in Denver with awarded web design and development services.” While this writing style is great for search engines, not only because it tells the search engine what your Website is about, it also tells them which page talks about what. From a user’s standpoint, however, this is a nightmare. Nobody talks this way, and two links right next to one another go to the exact same page. Using this type of language can cause users to leave your site (bounce) right away, which makes the search engine look bad for sending their users to that site.
In order to prevent this, search engines are putting more and more emphasis on the quality of your content. You may be asking yourself; “how can a robot know the quality of your content?” It’s simple, really. Whether or not you are tracking the analytics of your site, the search engines are. While there are social aspects to these changes (how much a page/blog/article/video gets shared through social networks) as well as the link-building aspect of SEO, analytics metrics are getting more weight and focus in the search algorithm. Here are some of the metrics they are looking at:
- Bounce Rate – A “bounce” is considered someone who goes to a page on your website and decides from looking at it that they do not need to see any other pages on your site, then leave without clicking to another page. If you have a high bounce rate, the search engines are getting a large clue that your content is not up to par. On the reverse side of this, if people are viewing a lot of pages on your site before they leave, you are going to get a boost from the search engines because your content clearly catches people’s attention. This goes along with another metric, “time on site”, where the longer someone stays active on your site, the better it looks to the search engines.
- Click-Through Rate – (CTR) from the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). If you’re in a good position on the SERPs yet not a lot of people visit your site, it is going to negatively impact your ranking. This goes to show that having high quality meta data (title tags and meta descriptions in particular) is still important.
- Diversity of the Traffic to Your Site – If you have a lot of direct traffic (people going directly to your site, not through a search engine or a link) it shows you are already known and trusted. It will also look at whether or not your traffic is returning to your site once they leave. If you have a low amount of returning visitors, it shows the search engines that your site is either stale or the content is not worth coming back for. If you have a high amount of returning visitors this will help your rankings, as it is just another sign that people trust your site and want to read your content.
This by no means is an all-inclusive list of analytics that search engines are using to rank your website, but it makes up a heavy portion of it. Having a well-designed site with high quality content is now an important factor to your rankings. If you want to learn more about what makes a high quality website or if you want to learn more about SEO services please contact Webolutions.