How Does User Engagement Affect Your Rankings on Google?

It can feel like a catch 22: you want to increase a site’s rankings on Google, but that requires improving its visibility and traffic (which, in turn, means increasing its rankings).


So how do you improve your rankings in the first place?


Two words: user engagement.


Read on to learn more about how to improve the user experience so you can drive more traffic to a site, keep your users engaged while they are on the site, and ultimately improve your rankings on Google:


1. What does AI have to do with ranking?

Machine learning is incorporated into Google’s algorithm, and vigilantly tracks user metrics for each site.


AI weighs varying types of engagement separately; for example, how long users spend on a site is a separate variable from whether the users are engaging with the content (whether they are clicking on things or visiting different pages on the site).


A tip for ranking first on Google is to make sure that all the content on a site is engaging—this will motivate users to stay on the site and engage with the content, and signal to AI that your site should be ranked accordingly.



But of course, whether or not something is "engaging" is subjective. It obviously depends on what the user considers interesting!

If you want to learn more about what your users are going to find interesting, consider looking into the development of buyer personas, a marketing principle that sheds more light into how your visitor's actually behave on your site.



2. Click-through rates (CTR) and other ways to measure engagement


The technical expression of CTR goes as follows:


# of Clicks-1


This ratio measures how often users click on content when they are exposed to it!


A tip for improving your CTR is to spend time perfecting your metatitles and descriptions. These are users’ first impressions of sites, and their quality can either cause someone to click or deter them from clicking.


Another way to measure engagement is via “e-mapping,” which tells you whether your bounce rate (the percentage of site users who navigate away from the site after viewing one page) is increasing or decreasing.



3. Why video is crucial




Right now, users prefer video to blogs. YouTube and Google’s search engines are collaborative (Google owns YouTube), and rankings are heavily impacted by video—meaning that a video posted on YouTube can impact the user traffic for a site that shows up on Google search (and vice versa).


Rather than focusing solely on blog activity, make sure to emphasize video search engine marketing by creating videos and distributing them on social media platforms.



4. Voice search and the future of digital marketing


In 2016, Google reported that 20% of queries were coming in via voice search. The percentage has only increased since then, especially given the popularity of voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home.




Here are a few tips to help improve the chances that your content will show up in voice search (which will improve your overall site traffic and ranking):


  • Make sure you have structured data (mark-up data that tells Google what your pages are about)
  • Stay up-to-date with local listings (a huge percentage of voice searches are local businesses)
  • Create mobile-friendly sites (many of the voice searches will be coming in through mobile phones)
  • Answer all questions posed by your users (other users will likely have similar questions)


Finally, always keep the end goal in mind: keeping your users engaged and happy!


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