Other factors that affect online visibility
Your website’s visibility on search engines can be affected by your website’s usability and user experience, too. In general a website’s visibility is defined as how well users can see your website on search results for your different keywords if you want to attribute a single figure to this visibility instead of just reporting the ranking for each individual keyword. An average ranking for all your tracked keywords can be a good indication of your visibility. But there are other ways to calculate weighted visibility by giving more weight to keywords that are more important or more sought-after. The goal of the search engine is to produce results that send users to high quality websites. While that may seem subjective, there are several things that contribute to this.
- Is the site easy to use and navigate?
- Does it answer the user’s search with relevant information?
- Does it look professionally designed and appealing to users?
- Is it mobile friendly and accessible on all browsers?
- Does it offer high quality, relatable and sought-after content?
Usability and user experience
Usability and user experience can have a direct effect on your success with search engines. Google’s goal is to provide results that are actually useful to searchers, so if your site isn’t well designed or easy to navigate, and doesn’t deliver on content, you may be missing out. How much time users spend on your site, how many pages they visit, and if they leave the site quickly can all tell Google if a site is useful or relevant to certain searches.
What is the difference between usability and user experience?
Usability refers to how friendly a site is, or how easy it is to use. Can a user navigate easily? Can the searcher actually find what it is he or she was searching for? Are all of the features of the site available and easy to find?
User experience refers to the visitor’s perception and then response to your site - how does the user feel about the site? Is the design appealing, or is it too cluttered? Do the pages load quickly and efficiently?
Usability should make a site easy to use and navigate. User experience should make a user want to come back to the site again and again. These factors should work together to ensure your site is appealing and easy to navigate, contains valuable information, and is accessible across all platforms. By designing a website with both usability and user experience in mind, you can ensure that you have a site potential customers will enjoy.
Google search quality raters
Just like any good business, Google wants to be sure it’s products are working and effective. To that end, they employ search quality raters around the world to help evaluate search results.
Raters conduct actual search queries, based on searches that actually happen, and then rate the quality of the pages that are returned in the search.
This information is then used to improve Google’s algorithms, but the information itself does not directly have an impact on Google’s search results. For instance, if a quality rater happened to rate your site poorly, it wouldn’t necessarily impact your rankings right away. But, the ratings will then influence changes to Google’s algorithm, and that could alter your site’s rankings.
Google has a set of guidelines for quality raters to follow, including the quality of the website as wells as if the results returned actually meet the needs of the searcher.
There are other factors that can have effects on website’s rankings that are derived from website’s usability. They include:
- Bounce rate - this refers to the percentage of visitors who then leave, or bounce, from the site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate may indicate to Google that your site doesn’t have the high quality content or user experience it looks for. But, it can also mean that the user found what they were looking for on that page, and then left. For instance, a high bounce rate on a contact us page may not be cause for alarm - it could be an indication that the user found the contact information they were looking for and didn’t need anything else at that time.
- Click through rate – Generally CTR tells you the number of people who click on your listing, ad or hyperlink. It can help measure the effectiveness of your SEO campaign, paid search, email campaigns, etc. Unlike impressions, which just tell you how many people view it, CTR tells you how many people actually followed through and clicked. Your Google CTR tells that how many people have clicked on your listing when your site appears in the search results. The higher CTR indicates that people have found your site more relevant to their search query.
- Time on page - This metric tells us how long the average user spends on a page before leaving. Hopefully, the content you have on your page is good enough to engage the searcher and keep them on the page. Depending on the type of page it is, and the amount of content on the page, time on page can vary greatly among pages of your site. This can be another factor that helps Google and other search engines to identify if the content is relevant to what the user had searched to find your site. Highly irrelevant sites might have very low time on page values.
- Engagement – on social media sites, engagement is referred to as how much users have liked, commented or shared your ad or content. This can also play as a determinant of highly popular content and thus indicate to Google and other search engines that this particular content has to be ranked high for its pertaining keywords.
- Load time - This refers to how long it takes to load the web page, and Google uses it as a factor in rankings. Not only can slow load times affect your position on Google, it can also be harmful to a user’s experience. If you have pages with long load times, most likely those pages will also have higher bounce rates and lower time on page.