In recent years, Google has started using a machine learning algorithm called RankBrain to determine whether users are satisfied with search results. Pages that show high user satisfaction are ranked higher in the search results.
RankBrain looks at User Experience Signals to determine whether a particular page is satisfying users. Basically, it looks at how people interact with a page and then rates the page based on those interactions.
If Google sees people interacting with your site in a positive way, your pages will rank higher in the search results and you’ll get more search traffic.
How does Google know if people are having a positive experience with your site? It looks at a number of different things, including Click-Through Rate (CTR) and Dwell Time.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who see your site in the search results and actually click through to your site. If 100 people see your site and 3 of them visit it, your CTR is 3%. If a page has a high CTR, it’s a signal to Google that the page is important and should be high in the search results.
Every Google search listing has three elements: page title, page description, and page URL.
If you want to increase your CTR, it’s important to optimize all three elements for maximum clicks:
Start by optimizing your page title.
It should be attention-grabbing so that it stands out in the search results. If your page title is bland or boring, people won’t click on it. Your title should make it clear that the page definitely contains the information people are looking for and that it’s worth clicking on.
If you struggle to come up with good titles, use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. It will examine your proposed title and make suggestions for how it can be improved.
Optimize your page description
This is the text that shows up under the title. Like your title, it needs to be both clear and compelling. Include your primary keyword in the description so that searchers know the page contains the information they need.
Optimize the URL of your page.
The best way to do this is to make the URL short and include the primary keyword in it. Something like this: www.example.com/primary-keyword. Avoid using long keywords with lots of random characters. Keep them short and sweet.
Dwell time is how long someone stays on your site after clicking on the search result. If they stay for a long time, it’s a sign to Google that the content on the page is valuable and should be placed higher in the search results. Higher dwell time equals higher rankings.
The primary way to increase dwell time is to create outstanding content that people really want to consume. Light, fluffy content won’t cut it. It’s important to give people deep content that pulls them in from the start and keeps them interested until the end.
There are also a few other things you can do to increase the dwell time on your pages:
- Quick, snappy intros. Most intros take way too long to get to the point. When someone visits a page, they want to know right away whether it can help them. Keep your intros quick, clear, and to the point. Tell people what they’re going to learn and then move on to the rest.
- Long-form content. Longer, more in-depth content tends to perform better than short content. Long content provides much fuller answers than short content, which leads people to stay on the page longer, which increases overall dwell time.
- Easy to read. If you’re going to create long-form content, it has to be easy to read. Large blocks of text are overwhelming and will turn people off. Use plenty of subheadings, paragraph breaks, bullet points, and more to break up the text.
- Embed videos. Embedded videos can be a helpful supplement to text on your pages. An additional benefit is that they keep people on your pages longer, which boosts your dwell time.
- Internal links. Linking to other, highly relevant pages on your website causes people to explore your site more, which increases the overall dwell time on your website.