The relation between user experience and SEO is pretty straightforward. User behaviour on a given website acts as a signal to search engines, telling them the content is relevant, engaging and worth a higher search engine ranking, or the contrary – that the content generates low interest and engagement.
Let’s look at some of the key user experience metrics that Google and other engines take into account in assessing the quality and relevance of a website, and respectively – in ranking it in search results.
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after only viewing one page. It represents the number of single-page sessions divided by the total number of sessions on the website.
A higher bounce rate generally indicates that visitors are not finding the content they are looking for or that the website is not meeting their expectations, while a lower bounce rate suggests that visitors find the website useful and are engaging with its content.
If users have a poor experience on a website, they are more likely to leave quickly, which can increase the bounce rate. High bounce rates can signal to search engines that the website is not providing relevant or valuable content, which can negatively impact its search engine rankings.
You can check your current bounce rate in Google Analytics, specifically in the Behaviour (Engagement in GA4). section.
Average session duration
Average session duration is the average amount of time that users spend on a website in a single session, from entrance to exit. It is calculated by dividing the total time usersspend on a website by the total number of sessions on the same website.
Average session duration is an important metric because it provides insight into the level of engagement of users with a website and its content. A longer average session duration can indicate that users find the content valuable, while a shorter duration may indicate that users are not finding what they are looking for or that the website is not user-friendly.
Tracking and analyzing session duration can help you make improvements to your website content and user experience, which can ultimately lead to better search engine rankings.
Pages per session
Pages per session measures the amount of pages a user visits during a single session on a specific website. It provides insight into how users are navigating a site and the level of engagement they have with its content. A high pages per session score indicates that users are finding and engaging with multiple pages on the website, while a low score may indicate low engagement. If a user visits more pages on a website in one session, this can signal to search engines that the website is providing comprehensive and valuable content, which can improve its search engine rankings.
It’s an important metric as it indicates the relevancy of a webpage content to the user’s search intent and to the search engine’s results. A high dwell time generally means that the content on the page is relevant and useful to the user, and is therefore seen as a positive signal to search engines. This can contribute to improving the search engine rankings of the page. On the other hand, a low dwell time can indicate that the content is not relevant to the user’s search query, and may lead to the page being ranked lower in search results.
You can find out your website’s dwell time by going to Behaviour in Google Analytics, selecting Site content -> Landing pages, and adding a segment Organic traffic in order to see just the session duration of entrance pages from organic traffic, i.e. from search engine results.
Scoring well on the aforementioned metrics depends on two main pillars: high value content and excellent user experience. If your looking to improve dwell time, session duration, bounce rates and pages per session, focus on:
- Consistently creating high-quality content that always aligns with the search intent of your target audience
- Ensuring clear and user-friendly navigation to boost time on the site
- Organizing the website content effectively and in a way that encourages engagement and exploration of related pages within the website (via hyperlinks, CTAs, buttons)
- Optimizing page loading speed
- Including clear CTAs (call-to-actions) to encourage users to take a specific action, such as filling out a form or making a purchase
- Monitoring and analyzing your website’s metrics with tools like Google Analytics to identify areas for improvement and optimization