There are many ranking factors that Google and other search engines apply to determine which pages are ranked first for different queries in organic search. This has changed with the proliferation of mobile devices used in search, introducing factors like mobile-friendliness and reducing significance of others, like link profiles. One thing remains certain: improving user experience on both desktop and mobile pays huge dividends. Below are a few mistakes SEO experts commonly make when assessing user experience.
- You should always have low bounce rates
High bounce rates can also be an indicator for strong content – if the page gives the user everything they need for their queries, they won’t need to comb the site further for any reason. In such a case, the page’s high bounce rate is a success market. While it is a good practice to have lower bounce rates across the site generally, considering each page on its own merit will help determine whether or not the bounce rate is a good or bad thing. For instance, Contact Us pages will probably have higher bounce rates, and not because they have weak content.
- High session duration indicates good content
Considering session durations as indicators of content performance can mislead you. The logic is that more time spent on the site is spent engaging with the brand and hence is a good thing. This, unfortunately, isn’t always true. Ideally, a user should be able to get the information they need from a page as fast as possible. In fact, this is a ranking signal for Google in mobile search that, searchers should be able to get the information they need quickly even with limiting screen sizes. Therefore, low session durations can actually indicate good content.
- High ‘pages per visit’ numbers indicate positive user engagement
Brands are typically setting their online engagement bars a little too high. It’s the exceptional visitor, rather than the norm that will come into a site through one page and be engaged enough to visit multiple pages. In order to weigh this properly, one must consider the content purpose as well as develop realistic expectations for it. Assessing which pages were visited can also help to assess whether or not the content served their purposes. Using the previous example again, contact pages are unlikely to yield second-page views from searchers.