The Impact of User Behaviour on Your SEO
How your users behave when visiting your site can offer helpful insight into the quality and relevance of your content.
Find out how to use this information to optimise your site and improve your SEO.
‘Bounce rate’ is the term used to refer to the number of website visitors who leave the site after having visited only a single page. In many cases this is perfectly normal online behaviour; if a user had a very specific query which they found to be sufficiently addressed by the page they landed on, it is quite natural that they should leave without exploring the site further. However, if your website’s bounce rate is particularly high, this could be a signal that the website is difficult to navigate or that the content is unengaging, and could highlight that some work needs to be done to address this.
In terms of SEO, research shows that websites with a lower bounce rate rank higher in SERPs (search engine results pages). The inverse, of course, is that sites with a high bounce rate will appear further down in SERPs. The explanation behind this is unclear: it could either be that websites with lower bounce rates are more trusted, and therefore appear at the top of search results, or it could be that a site has a high bounce rate because it is less relevant, which is also why it ranks low on SERPs.
Whilst it is unfortunate that we can’t be sure which of these is the case, we can tell that bounce rate has a direct effect on search engine rankings, so optimising your content to reduce your bounce rate as much as possible is certainly worth the time and effort. A good SEO agency will be able to help you achieve this and get your site ranking higher on SERPs.
Time on site
As the name suggests, this statistic shows the average length of time users spend on your site, and can be a helpful indicator as to the relevance of your site and quality of your content. As a general rule, the more time users spend on a site, the higher in ranks in search engine results. Again, this could be explained in the same two ways as the correlation between bounce rate and search engine rankings.
Pages per session
There’s a similar story to tell for the average number of pages a user visits when they are on your site. Naturally, this is usually linked to the time on site, and as such the higher the average number of pages per session, the higher your site will appear in SERPs. The conclusion to be drawn regarding SEO for user behaviour factors ‘time on site’ and ‘pages per session’ is the same as that for ‘bounce rate’.
SEO agencies can help optimise your website by producing engaging content which makes your users want to spend more time on the site, and ensuring easy navigation of the site so that visitors view multiple pages. These go hand in hand with reducing bounce rate, and all three together should win your site a higher ranking in search engine results.