In my last blog post, we talked about how content factors into your search engine optimization (SEO) Google search ranking. In part II of the series we’re going to cover how user experience factors into the SEO Google equation.
Quick review – quantifying why being in the top 10 matters
In a 2013 study, Chitika found that 91.5% of traffic went to websites on page 1 of Google search results. Page 2 had 3.8% of the traffic while page 3 had 1.1%. Pages 4-10 each get less than .4%.
In fact, the first website listed in the Google search results can expect on average to get 32.5% of the traffic. The results for the top 10 are as follows:
You always knew that ranking highly in Google matters; now you know how much it matters. For example, if you rank number 1 for a keyword with a monthly search volume of 1000 searches you can expect 325 visitors per month from Google search alone. On the other hand, if you rank 10th, you can expect organic search traffic of 24 visitors per month.
What makes a website rank in the top 10 Google search results?
It’s one of those mysterious life questions… Luckily we can thank the good folks over at Searchmetrics. For 2015, the folks there analyzed the top 30 search results for a set of 10,000 keywords.
By reverse engineering the Google search results the result is a list of the ranking factors. This list is not complete. I’ve only broken down the major components.
The ranking factors are broken down into 5 major categories:
Let’s take a look at user experience in more detail.
In this post, I will cover five major user experience SEO Google ranking factors:
- Click Through Rate
- Time Spent On Site
- Bounce Rate
- Responsive Design
- Number of Images
SEO Google Ranking Factor: Click Through Rate
Averages for the first position in Google: 32% click through rate: this means that websites sitting in the number one search result position resulted in a click by searchers 32% of the time.
Tip: Think of your Google search result as an ad. Write a captivating title and meta description that will leave visitors looking for more. That way, you can maximize your click through rate. Do this by editing your page/post title, and meta description – pictured below.
SEO Google Ranking Factor: Time Spent on Site
Averages for the first position in Google: 133 seconds on site. This means that the number one website averaged visitors spending 2 minutes and 13 seconds on the site.
Tip: Increase time on site by earning your visitor’s attention. Research tells us that the average website visitor spends 8-10 seconds on a website. When first visiting a website, what are you looking for? For me, I’m looking to see if I should continue reading with my finger ready on the back button.
First, tell visitors what you do in a single bold sentence. If they decide to continue, give them a bit more information about what you do. This buys you another 30 seconds. Next, hit them with social proof. Some company logos they will recognize, some customer testimonials, or customer statistics. Finally, give them the next step. Look at your products page, read case studies, or maybe even visit the pricing page.
Tip 2: Consider opening certain pages as new tabs. This will buy you more time spent on your website.
Tip 3: Write interesting content that is going to give your website visitors value!
SEO Google Ranking Factor: Bounce Rate
Averages for the first position in Google: 36% bounce rate. A bounce rate is defined as somebody that leaves your website after viewing only one page. It’s inevitable some people will leave your site and depending on the numbers this serves to indicate to Google the quality of your website’s match to the visitor’s search criteria.
Tip: make sure that your web page actually delivers on the promise you make in the search results (meta) description. In other words, if your page’s title is: Company ABC pricing and the meta description discusses pricing, show them pricing. This will minimize bounce rates by giving visitors what they are looking for.
SEO Google Ranking Factor: Responsive Design
Responsive design means a website that adapts to the user’s screen size. So if I’m using a phone, your website displays just as well as on a 30-inch monitor.
33% of the top 10 Google search results were responsive. While 30% of the top 30 search results were responsive.
SEO Google Ranking Factor: Number of images
The top 10 search results had 10 images while the top 30 had 8.75, so call it 9.
TIP: In the content part of the series, I mentioned that the top 10 sites have just under 1300 words per page. Factor in 10 images and we can generally say that a website should have an image for every 130 words.
Google is guiding the internet to where it believes the internet should go. By factoring in click through rates, time spent on site, bounce rates, responsive design, and the number of images Google is telling us what is best for the web.
Write page titles and meta descriptions that will invite visitors to click to your website. Build your website with pages/posts that deliver on meta descriptions to optimize time spent on site and minimize bounce rates. Make sure your website is responsive. Include one image for every ~130 words of text.