4 Ways User Behavior Affects SEO Ranking (and How to Master Them)

Share via

Do You know what is the number one rule for organic search rankings? No, it has nothing to do with investing colossal amounts of time and resources into exhaustive campaigns. If you want to stay at the top of search engine results and promote your brand online, you need to understand your users’ behavior.

Strangely, most content marketers and SEO professionals aren’t incorporating user data into their campaigns. They focus solely on keywords and work tirelessly to optimize their content, but they neglect one thing that matters the most: their users.

Here’s how user behavior affects SEO rankings and what you can do about it.

  1. Position Bias

To begin with, you need to know that click-through rates are heavily influenced by search position. It’s common wisdom that people tend to click on the top results. Your search result may be relevant, informational and catchy, but if you are at the bottom of the page, you’ll get a lower CTR. On the other hand, mediocre results will get more clicks just because they are in the second or third position.

According to a study by Chitika, cited by Neil Patel, 33% of Internet users click on the first results, while 18% and 11% of them click on the second and third results.

The position you held in search results matter. But, manipulating search engines to boost your website is a complex process that requires time and energy. What you can (and should) make instead is to write compelling headlines and include the main keyword you audience is searching for.

  1. Duration

Session duration is a powerful tool that measures the duration of the average time spent actively on a page. However, if not used correctly, this tool can lead you to some erroneous assumptions.

For example, if a user leaves the page idle after he visited, session duration will be high. However, this data is not relevant because the user didn’t engage with your page.

To avoid this, start using user monitoring systems, also known as dwell time. Dwell time is a metric that looks at user engagement, session duration, click through rate and SERPS and analyzes them. Signals include interactions by mouse, keyboard, touch screen, and every other interface.

Reports have shown that Google will acknowledge session duration of over two minutes as significant. So if you want to improve dwell time, write relevant content. Users will bounce if they can’t find what they need or they will leave the page forever opened in a tab without interacting with it.

  1. Login Pages

There are over 14 million login pages on the internet. However, many of them have useless content. It is known that a broader footprint on the internet could be the stepping stone to your success in SEO ranking. Usually, if the content is hidden underneath the login process, it will also be hidden from the search engines, this being the downside of a login page.

  1. The Long Click

According to Steven Levy, the long click refers to the action of clicking on a search result, preferably a top one, and stay there for a long period. The long click helps Google to see how satisfied users are with the query.

When a user performs search, clicks on the result and remains on that page for a long period of time – meaning that they do not return to the search engine to find other results, or reformulate – then everybody is happy.

At the opposite pole there is the short click, where users go back and forth between results, this being a strong indicator of their dissatisfaction. In order to improve the dwell time, you must work on the speed, readability and scannability of the page, also take care of the content, and provide ideas that provoke and give users something to talk about.

User behavior data is an important subject. Without it, you can’t understand your audience and talk with them in a way they will understand you. Sometimes, SEO professionals forget that users are humans, not machines and their behavior can be hard to predict.

Bottom line, if you are working on the position bias, the duration of the visit, the log in page and the “long click”, you should be able to rank quite high.