How does Google use the user signal in its ranking?
Google receives messages from user behavior that they call the user’s signal. The user’s signal is one of the most important factors in Google’s SEO ranking.
Google’s algorithms have a unique and hidden way of operating and no one really knows the direct impact of these signals. Google’s algorithm may vary. So the signals that affect site rankings are constantly changing and updating. Even though these algorithms have a hidden mechanism, Google has identified some pointers that are important in website ranking:
- Perhaps you could say the website’s content can be the first and most important factor. Because Google’s algorithms read your content and recognizes it.
- Having a strong link and backlink(s) is another factor.
- Thirdly, user experience. The easier the user can access your site’s pages the easier the user’s signal will help your ranking.
- Lastly, let’s forget about the importance of mobile SEO. Because if your website is not mobile responsive/mobile friendly then you are a step behind your competitors.
We are living in a world where technology is very valuable for us and we all depend on it. Therefore, searching the internet to calculate the number of calories in a cup of coffee that we’re drinking and finding out the closest galaxy to Earth has become a daily routine for many of us. Thus, finding out these answers require a mobile phone or a laptop.
Sometimes when we’re searching for a particular article and clicking on a website we realize that it’s not what we are looking for so we hit “back” to go back to our search result page. This is where the term user’s signal takes place. These signals are behavioral patterns that Google uses to help with their website ranking on the search result page.
Why the user’s signal is important for Google?
There are several factors that determine the quality and user experience of your website. the most important ones are the quality of the content and the technical side of your website.
Google and other search engines gather important information about user experience through user’s signal. This means, with the help of user’s signals, search engines can identify the right search results and rate websites based on those signals.
So when you are reviewing your Google Analytics, you should pay extra attention to return rate, time spent on your website, click-through rate (CRT) and return rate of search engine results page (SERP).
What indicators show the user’s signal?
The exact number of user signals is unclear to us and Google has never officially confirmed nor denied their impact.
We will talk about four important indicators in this article, CRT, bounce rate, time spent on the website and return rate. Google pays extra attention to these indicators because they directly show user’s experience therefore, they are very important for your SEO.
Click-through rate (CRT)
CRT is a ratio showing how often people who see your link or ad end up clicking it. This means if your title and description of the content displayed on the search results page are interesting, your link with have a higher click chance.
By clicking on your link Google receives a message that your website is relevant to the search and this will increase your Google’s ranking.
Google snippet will help you to describe your website better on the search results page. A snippet consists of title, description and page URL.
1. Title: By using interesting titles, you attract more users towards your website, and the user will differentiate your website with others, and ultimately this will have a huge impact on the click rate. It’s best to use keywords in your title, also briefly explain why your content is better. Is it up to date? (Publish the date of the content that people are looking for).
Is it the most comprehensive? (point out the fullness, or even write the numbers, for example, 100 custom designed WordPress themes).
Try to encourage users to read your content. The title has a huge impact on click rates.
2. Page URL or breadcrumb:After the title, your URL will be displayed. It’s best to use keywords in your URL, by doing so the user will know you have dedicated a web page just to the content they are looking for. It’s best to use breadcrumb in this situation, for example, WordPress > Tutorials > SEO:
3. Description:Below the title, there is a small box where you can describe your content. With Yoast SEO you can easily edit this box and briefly explain your content.
The best thing about snippet is the fact that it helps you reach high numbers of clicks. So the higher the quality of your snippet the higher the chance of users clicking on your link.
One of the factors of improving snippets is the instant information you give to users. Sometimes you can even give them what they want in the snippet but encourage them to read more by clicking your link.
Bounce rate is the percentage of visits in which a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing any further content. The need for success in this area is to have complete and accurate data from users, which can be achieved using the most popular and complete service known as Google Analytics.
In your Google analytics dashboard, you can simply view the bounce rate of every single web page. If your content is not genuine it will make the user to leave after spending a few seconds on your website, and this will have a massive impact on your bounce rate.
Keep in mind you have to make your content accessible for everyone. Technical issues such as slow loading time, irrelevant ads or incorrect content will make the user leave your website.
Also, it’s very important for users to view your other content once they are done reading their articles. So it’s best to have related links and call to actions so that the user remains on your website.
Time on page
By viewing your content for a few seconds, does not make them permanent users. So you should always think about ways to keep the user on your website.
But why time on page is important to us? Time and the quality of your content have a direct relationship.
The time users spend on your website and searching other content means users enjoy the quality of your content. If the time spent on your website is lower than expected, then there is definitely an issue with your website.
Your website’s content must be appealing to the user, and give them good first impressions. Within a few seconds of visiting a website, most users will decide whether they want to stay or leave.
Organized and correct content will lead to user having a better experience and exploring your website. Simple yet delicate design can have an amazing impact on the user. The font and size you use for your content should help the paragraphs to be readable.
As we discussed in other Better Studio articles, having a picture in your content will help your audience to understand, and enjoy the content they are reading. But keep in mind, having too many pictures on your website may have a negative effect, such as slowing the loading speed and this will ultimately lead to users leaving your website.
Search engine result page (SERP)
The main goal and purpose of any website is to attract the audience and maintain them. When you succeed in maintaining your audience then you have a successful website. However, any website will lose audience over time and this is unavoidable.
There are always a number of users who will leave after reaching your website and return to the search page. This may reveal many issues. If Google detects that users did not find what they were looking on your website it will then list other pages as the primary option and this will ultimately hurt your website’s ranking.
A lot of people say that the user’s signal will indirectly affect your ranking. Although there are reasons to believe that’s not the case. For example, Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Sparktoro and a leading expert in SEO did a test with the help of his Twitter followers.
In the test, he asked his followers to search a keyword on Google, and then click on the first website it displayed and leave immediately after landing and go back to the search page and click on the 4th website and spend some time on it. At the end of the test, the 4th website became the first website in that category. This proves how important are user’s signals.
These data have an amazing impact on ranking websites and it helps the users to view the best results first. The purpose behind it is a short, concise and relevant search, and important information should be sorted and represented to the user without any intermediary.
The term user’s signal should be familiar with those who run an online business and working with SEO. With 300 million new websites created each year, the internet has turned into an ocean of competitors and a proper website should follow these SEO rules to be successful.
Tell us about your experience with user’s signals, what attracts users to your website and what pushes them away.