• Episode  46
  • Derek Gehl

There’s already over 200 factors that play into the Google algorithm that decides how your website ranks–and that number is growing. No one has the magic formula to game the system, but I know that SEO engagement metrics and website engagement metrics are key players in increasing your rankings. In this episode, I give you a crash course in the three most important engagement metrics, along with a few easy steps to apply them to your website today. Don’t wait!

Transcript of: Website Engagement Metrics That Will Affect Your Google Rankings

Welcome to the Project Ignite podcast, the Ask Derek edition. In this episode, we’re going to talk about search engine optimization, and more specifically, engagement metrics.

This is a video edition as well, so if you’re listening to this podcast on iTunes, you can head over to ProjectIgnite.com/podcast to find the video. Just as well, if you’re watching the video right now, you can head over to iTunes or Soundcloud to get the audio.

So today we’re going to talk about SEO engagement metrics.

This is one of the new layers that Google has put on top of its algorithm to determine where your web page should rank and which keywords it should rank for.

Let’s look back in time a bit so you know how this has played out. When search engines first evolved, they only looked at the content on a website, not website engagement metrics. Based on that content, they’d rank web pages accordingly.

That was SEO engagement metrics in it’s simplest form and it was very easy to manipulate. Then, they brought in external factors to determine where a web page would rank for certain keywords. Now, over the past decade, the primary driver of external factors were backlinks.

Backlinks are links from other websites that link back to your website. It used to be that he who had the most backlinks won, but again, it was too easy to game the system. Google’s algorithm evolved, and now they look at all sorts of different metrics relating to backlinks–the authority of the sites, the quality of the sites linking to you; not all backlinks are created equal.

website engagement metrics Google analytics

Backlinks were the prime driver of external factors. Then, along came social signals. Social signals were another layer that affected the algorithm. These are people liking, sharing, tweeting, and pinning your stuff. This isn’t really a backlink. Because Google can’t index every social signal. But it tells Google that people are talking about you.

So we started with on page keyword optimization, then we moved on to backlinks, then social signals, and now, Google’s getting even smarter. Through people using Chrome, and people using Google Analytics, through their massive reach, they’re able to start measuring how people are actually interacting with your web page.

This is a great indicator of how people are actually interacting with your web page.

That was just a crash course in the progression of search. You need to understand first that there are hundreds of factors that come into play when Google decides how to rank a website.

No one thing alone will impact your website engagement metrics in a major way. We may just be able to generate a little bump, and so we want to do that as much as we can.

That’s why we’re going to talk about engagement metrics. Google is measuring how people interact with your website. This really comes down to three things.

When you’re optimizing your web page, you can be thinking about these three things and trying to improve them, to help your web page rank better.

What are the key engagement metrics that Google is looking for?

1. Time on site

When someone sends a person to your website, let’s say they stay there for an average of 53 seconds. If someone sends a person to your competitor, who has a similar link profile and is optimized for similar keywords, and they stay on that web page for three minutes… Google will make the assumption that because they’re spending longer on your competitor’s website, that website must be better.

This is because people are staying longer. Time on site–how long are people staying and engaging on the site? The longer they stay, the better.

seo engagement metrics

2. Bounce Rate

This brings us to number two, bounce rate. What is bounce rate? If you go to ProjectIgnite.com and search “bounce rate,” you’ll find that I’ve done an entire podcast on this topic. But the Coles Notes version is how many people come to your website and exit off the same page they came in on.

That’s bounce rate. If someone comes to a blog post through a search engine link, and they consume the content but don’t click any other links, that’s going to increase your bounce rate.

If you have 100 people come to one page on your website, and of those 100 people, only ten people click a link to take them somewhere else on your site, and the other 90 exit from that page, you’re going to have a 90% bounce rate. That tells Google that people aren’t happy with your content. They’re not engaging or exploring.

Google knows that if people come to your website and click around, that’s going to indicate that this is a good website. This brings us to number three.

3. Page Views

Page views. How many pages on your website are people viewing in a visit? When someone comes to your website, do they look at one page and leave? That would increase your bounce rate, for one. Do they look at two? Or ten? The more page views you have, that will also increase your time on site.

Those are the three engagement metrics that Google is actively looking at and will help or hinder your rankings. That’s why, you’ll notice, when you go to bigger websites, all over the pages there is clickbait, trying to get you to click.

Trying to get you to stay on the site and increase their page views.

How do you apply all of this? First, get your data from your analytics platform. You should know that bounce rate will vary from page to page as well. Time on site and page views will be a general number.

So how do you affect this? Go to your primary landing pages, the ones with the most traffic, and ask yourself how you can further engage people to make them click to another page on the site. You could show them related content with a related content plugin.

Maybe you could have some lead magnets that take them to other pages with opt-in offers. You could have pagination on blog posts so people will click through to another page to finish reading a post. Have images, have videos, have engaging content.

Get them to watch!

Again, you want to affect these metrics in a positive way. You want to increase your time on site and page views, and you want to decrease your bounce rate. In this way, you’re telling Google that people like your website, and that will give you a bump in the rankings.

If you have a brand new website with only 100 visitors, and a low bounce rate and high time on site and high page views, but you have no optimization and horrible backlinks–are you going to rank? No. Absolutely not.

Again, with SEM and SEO engagement metrics, there’s over 200 factors in Google’s algorithm. These are only three that will play a role in your rankings as Google tries to figure out how to measure how “good” a website is. How do you check that? You see how people interact with them,

So, there you go! That’s a crash course in engagement metrics. I would recommend that you go into your Analytics account, check out all of the metrics we just talked about. Go to your high traffic pages, like your landing pages, and look at the bounce rates.

  • Is there a high bounce rate?
  • Are there pages with abnormally high bounce rates?
  • How can you decrease that?

Then, what can I do to get people click on other pages through use of videos, related content, pagination–anything to engage people and improve your SEO engagement metrics.

There you go! We’ll see you in the next episode.

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