SEO ranking factors besides links

Our experience has shown that there are a number of factors that influence how a site ranks and remains high in the rankings.

Links will get you there, but to remain you will need to provide visitors with what they expect to find.

In my mind the most important ranking factor that a search engine could measure would be the bounce rate. Lowering the bounce rate of your page should be a high priority, as should be increasing the time on page. Both are indicators that a user has found something valuable and is engaging with your content.

For a search engine this is easy to measure: Does the user click back after clicking through to a page in the results.

When a user comes back after 1 second it probably means that the user did not find what they were looking for.

When a user comes back after 30 seconds it might indicate they found what they wanted, but compared to another website that users spend 90 seconds on or more… well if you are investing time into reading or viewing it probably means that you found what you were looking for.

How can one measure time on page and time on site?

Your analytics package can give you reports on how long your users spend on pages within your site.

How to measure bounce rate?

Your analytics package can give you reports on how long your users spend on pages within your site.

How to lower bounce rate?

By creating more engaging headlines, graphics, more relevant content and more engaging experiences for users you will lower the bounce rate. That said if Google shows your page to users who don’t find it relevant the bounce rate will suffer.

How to increase time on site?

Give your users what they are expecting to find and give them additional things to do or experience after their initial contact. In practical terms you should close off articles with relevant articles that are related, if videos then similar videos. If your content answers questions or provides guidance you could provide an invitation to a course or educational experience.

You could also make your site multi-page and confusing and that would also increase your time on site. It’s a balancing act, don’t confuse optimization for a single metric for optimization for the user experience. You know what you like when you use a site, build it for your own needs if you are similar to your users, ask yourself how you can make their lives easier by reformatting information, presenting it in a new style, bringing things to the forefront

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