Do you need help locating your website in search results? Rest assured; you’re not alone. Numerous websites grapple with the challenge of establishing their presence on search engines. If your current traffic is low, you might wonder whether it’s hindering your progress in climbing the ranks.
While the sheer volume of traffic doesn’t directly impact your search rankings, it does play a role in determining the position of your website in search results. It goes without saying (although it bears repeating) that the more popular your site becomes, the more favorable it is for your ranking.
Based on SEMrush’s comprehensive Ranking Factors research study, here are 17 vital factors that should be on your radar, presented below in order of significance:
A quick look at this compilation of factors highlights the significant influence of traffic on your website’s success. However, it’s important to note that Google emphasizes user behavior and engagement more than solely measuring the quantity of traffic your site receives.
Now, let’s explore how these top-ranking factors impact your traffic in SEO and discover actionable ways to leverage this knowledge to enhance your rankings in search results.
When analyzing your website’s analytics and investigating your traffic sources, you may have come across a category called “direct traffic.” Typically, direct traffic is associated with users who manually enter your website’s URL into their browser or click on a bookmarked link. However, direct traffic has evolved and become more intricate in recent times. Direct traffic can originate from various sources, including employees accessing your website directly, repeat customers, individuals who have bookmarked your site, traffic from emails, mobile devices, links within apps or software, and even visits from unsecured HTTP sites.
Increasing direct traffic alone won’t catapult your website to the coveted first-page search results. It’s equally crucial to focus on attracting high-quality traffic. Google emphasizes indicators demonstrating how well your website satisfies users’ search intent. Interestingly, three top five ranking factors scrutinize user actions and behaviors upon reaching your website.
Time on Site
According to SEMrush’s research, the second most influential ranking factor is the duration users spend on your website after landing on it. This metric offers valuable insights into user engagement. Are visitors reading your content, or do they quickly depart within 30 seconds? A low time-on-site suggests to Google that your website fails to meet users’ search requirements. Conversely, users who spend significant time on your site are more likely to have found the information they were seeking and are engaging with your content.
It’s essential to optimize your website not only for high-volume search keywords but also for relevant keywords. For instance, if your website pertains to a senior living facility, you wouldn’t want it to rank highly for at-home care companies, as it may not align with your target audience’s needs and expectations.
Pages per Session
Ranking as the third most significant factor, pages per session, is the number of pages a user explores while browsing your website. Google considers this metric because it indicates engaging content, intuitive website navigation, and a clear user journey.
SEMrush’s report reveals a trend as we ascend the search engine results page (SERP) — domains with higher rankings tend to have more pages per session. Interestingly, the average number of pages per session remains relatively consistent among the top four results.
Similar to time on site, a low number of pages per session suggests that your website may not provide the information users seek or make it easily accessible. Confusing navigation on your website can adversely affect the number of pages users explore during their session.
The bounce rate of your website represents the percentage of users that leave the site after viewing a single page. It’s natural for users to bounce from websites, but if a significant majority of your users are bouncing, it’s an indication that something may be amiss.
The average bounce rate in the top three search results is 49 percent. The study also found that as a page’s position improves in the rankings, its bounce rate tends to decrease.
A high bounce rate signals to Google that the page may have low relevance to user searches. If your bounce rate is high, reassess the keywords you currently rank for and ensure they align with your offerings.
Once again, to enhance these ranking factors, ensure that your website provides relevant and engaging content while being clear and easy to navigate. When visitors land on your website, addressing their needs and converting them into customers should be straightforward.
Ranking factors five through eight revolve around your website’s referral traffic in SEO. Referral traffic refers to the visitors who land on your website through links on other websites. These sources can include partner sites, directories, articles, blog posts, and various other platforms. SEMrush’s report confirms that these factors are interconnected and directly impact each other. Therefore, improving one aspect while neglecting the others will change your rankings significantly. Considering and enhancing all these factors collectively is crucial to see notable improvements in your search engine positions.
Among the 17 primary ranking factors, the top eight are directly linked to your website traffic. While it’s important to address all the ranking factors mentioned in the SEMrush report, it is crucial to assess your current traffic’s health. Are users arriving from relevant sources? Are they actively engaging with your site? If you observe a high bounce rate and a lack of referral traffic, it’s advisable to revaluate your SEO strategy and ensure you are targeting the right audience.
It’s understandable if this seems like a daunting task. That’s why we offer monthly SEO packages that can handle all of this. Experts can optimize your website, monitor traffic sources, and implement strategies to improve engagement. Let us take the work while you reap the benefits of an optimized and successful website.