Delete's Head of Search Polly Pospelova explains how to take advantage of Google using User Metrics
At Delete, we’re proud that all of our staff are experts in their field and we aren’t shy about showcasing it. Earlier this year our Head of Search, Polly Pospelova, was given the honour of speaking at the renowned search conference BrightonSEO.
As the largest natural search conference in the UK, BrightonSEO is one of the most popular and well respected, welcoming well over 3000 people. Tickets to watch leaders in their fields discuss the latest in search marketing are so sought after that last year, they sold out in under 13 minutes.
We at Delete understand the importance of Search and the role it plays in every digital endeavor. We’re proud that our knowledge in the sector meant that work for clients like Leeds Beckett University can win accolades such as ‘Best use of Search’ from both the UK Search Awards and European Search Awards.
Polly’s talk on ‘Taking advantage of Google using Usage Metrics’ can be seen in the below video and we’ve highlighted some of the key takeaways from her presentation.
How to take advantage of Google using user metrics for rankings.
Despite Google making continuous improvements to their algorithm, it still can’t interpret text, navigation, images or video the same way a human can. To improve their understanding of key on-page elements, Google is assigning ranking power to user interactions.
What user metrics are used by Google?
Clicks and click through rates (CTR)
Although Google has denied it in recent years, it’s clear the current algorithm does take click and CTR into account when ranking a domains position. It’s been proven by multiple search professionals and covered by the likes of Larry Kim (Does Organic CTR Impact SEO Rankings?) and Moz’s Rand Fishkin (The Impact of Queries, Long and Short Clicks, and Click Through Rate on Google's Rankings).
If a search result is clearly out performing its current position, Google will elevate that result to a higher position. High CTR = Higher Rankings.
What can we do about this?
- Think of your organic snippets as paid Ads. Use the same intricate process you use for paid Ads for organic meta data.
- Change your mentality. The main objective is to attract clicks, not fill or stuff keywords.
- Look at your current rankings. Review competitors and try stand out in SERPs, if you saw your own listing would you click on it?
In summary: “create organic snippets for searchers NOT search engines.”
Time to click; short vs long click
What is a long click? Briefly, Google uses this metric to determine ranking success. A long click occurs when a search user clicks on a result, goes to that page and spends a long time on that page or domain. Ideally, not returning to search to go to another website or refine their search further. This shows to Google that the result has really satisfied the user and has had no reason to further search, they’ve essentially had the “perfect user experience”.
So, what is a short click? It is basically the opposite of the above. Users that click on a result, spend a few seconds on the website, then bounce back to SERPs to further refine or to go onto another result. This is saying to Google that the first result did not satisfy the user and could potentially be the irrelevant to their original query.
What can we do about this?
- Use the correct format when answering your searchers (text, video, images etc).
- Be informative and don’t produce unnecessary content.
- Prioritise the value of the content rather than the SEO elements I.E, keyword usage, length of content, number of images etc.
In summary: “answer searchers in a natural digestible format”.
Site engagement metrics
This isn’t just one metric but a whole suite of metrics (traffic, session duration, frequency and user journey / Navigation) which are all available through Google Analytics.
All these metrics stress the importance of changing focus within SEO, moving away from old hat tactics and moving to more modern thinking.
Using these metrics, Google has a clear picture of which sites are satisfying their searchers and are ranking sites adhering to these practices at the top of SERPs. Generally, these sites have several things in common:
- Easy for users to navigate.
- Accessible on all devices and fast to load.
- Deliver high quality and credible content.
- Keep users engaged with the site.
In addition to showing us what search engines like, they’re very explicit in the things they don’t. One such element is doorway pages, pages created to solely attract traffic from search and don’t fit into the natural navigation of the website.