Google rankings are the holy grail for anyone involved in SEO work, and although keywords and keyword groups are still vitally important, being able to assess user behaviour is vital in order to get things right.
Optimising the way user metrics are analysed can help boost your position in search engine results pages (SERPs), which after all is the basic aim of any SEO campaign.
Google engineer Amit Singhal told the Wall Street Journal that “how users interact with a site is one of those signals” that are used by the company to assess ultimate ranking positions.
One of the top user behaviour metrics is the click-through rate (CTR), which Google expects to fall within a range depending on the type of query.
The CTR for the top result of branded keywords is around 50%; for non-branded queries, it is about 33% for top place, 15% for a second and 10% for third.
CTR can be improved by using Google Analytics webmaster tools to find out which pages are falling below the expected hit rate and work out why this might be.
Page titles and meta descriptions might need to be tweaked and keywords optimised.
Dwell time is another important measurement because it shows the amount of time between a searcher clicking through from a link in a search result and how long it takes to go back to it.
A long dwell time means that the searcher has found the result to be valuable to them, with the ideal position being when a search leads to a user landing immediately on a page that satisfies their query.
Tools such as WebSite Auditor can help optimise dwell time favourably by checking for broken links, which can then be removed or repaired.
Creating task-oriented content pages can also be made easier by analysis of queries.
Best practice in terms of SEO means having all the information that you can lay your hands on, and these are only two of the metrics that can play a vital role in making sure your campaign is working.