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How Does Website Engagement Rate Impact Organic Rankings?


While click-through rates (CTR) may not be a part of Google’s algorithm or may not be direct ranking signals but, they indirectly impact the rank of a website. This is because increased CTRs may lead to improved conversions, which in turn will improve rankings. But, CTRs alone can do nothing! If it leads to conversions, it is a good sign. But, what if users have no positive engagement with your site? Is there a point if you get hundreds of clicks but people don’t stay on your page for even a few seconds? No, right? This is why website engagement rates are crucial too. And, there is a definite relationship between website engagement rate and rankings, which you will learn in this blog.

There are many websites that promise a free offer or deal only to attract CTRs but, when people land on their site, they realize that they have been fooled. This is why Google measures dwell time, which is the time a visitor spends on a page before returning to SERPs, to check if websites are getting high CTRs that they actually deserve or if it is just click bait. Google definitely measures dwell time but, we have no idea how to measure it as of now. However, we have three metrics that are directly equivalent to dwell time, which can be measured. These are bounce rate, time on site and conversion rate. We will learn in detail how these three metrics can impact rankings or specifically, the organic position.

Bounce rate

After a research done on whether bounce rates of a page or keyword that has been ranking had any direct or indirect relationship to the ranking, what came to be seen was that with lower bounce rates, the page was more likely to show up in the top few positions. On the other hand, as the bounce rate went higher, pages started moving down the positions. Does this mean that bounce rate is a direct ranking factor or it is a part of Google’s core search algorithm? No. But, Google uses user engagement as a validation method, thus making bounce rate indirectly impact rankings.

Time on site

The next metric is the time spent by a visitor on the site. Contrary to bounce rates, if your keywords lead to visitors spending a significant amount of time on your site, then you are more likely to be in top organic positions on SERPs. Similarly, if the time spent and user engagement is weak, you start losing positions. However, you must also realize that you get no additional points even if you cross a minimum threshold of time on site.

Conversion rates

Getting a great number of CTRs and then keeping your users interested and involved will lead to higher conversions rates too. Getting a product/service sold, getting your customers to sign-up for your newsletters, capturing leads are all signs of conversions. If you are successful at getting the visitor to do what you want them to, you have a good conversion rate. And, more conversions mean more popularity and thus, higher rankings.

Now that you know that better CTRs, lower bounce rates, higher website engagement and improved conversion rates lead to better rankings, you must also realize that improving on these metrics will bring you even better organic search rankings, leading to more conversions. So, if you are looking for such an improvement, it is advisable to get in touch with a reputed online marketing company who can measure your metrics and help you progress on the areas you lag behind.


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