User Behavior and SEO: A Deep Dive

Understanding how users interact with your site is vital for your SEO efforts.

But how do you keep track of this?

And how can you positively impact user behavior on your site?

In this guide, I’m going to take you through the most important user behavior metrics.

I’ll tell you:

  • What they are exactly
  • What insights they give you
  • How to track them
  • How to improve them

You’ll also learn about how site structure and speed can affect user behavior, as well as the relationship between search intent and user behavior.

Let’s jump right in!

What Is User Behavior?

So, first things first.

What actually is user behavior?

The term user behavior relates to every action a visitor takes before they reach a site and while they’re on the site. This includes things like:

  • Where and what a user clicks
  • How users scroll down pages
  • Where users drop off pages and leave the site

By tracking the behavior of your users, you can understand the ways users interact with your site. You can also identify any obstacles that are in their way and the hooks that keep them on your site.

User Behavior and Search Engines

Every search engine uses complicated algorithms to determine its search rankings.

If you’re totally new to the world of SEO then you’re probably wondering why the search engine results pages (SERPs) are ordered the way they are.

Well, you have the algorithms to thank for that.

The exact way in which these algorithms function is very technical and difficult to work out (even for experienced SEO pros). Still, it’s important to have at least some understanding of how search engines collect and analyze data.

As I’m sure you know, Google is THE major search engine. In fact, Google has over 92% of the global search engine market share.

Luckily, Google is relatively open about the way it collects data.

First, Google uses automated software programs called bots or crawlers to crawl and index web pages. The information they find is stored on a database known as an index. When users type a query into Google, a request is sent to Google’s index.

Before the search results are sent to the user, Google’s algorithms get to work. The results are then displayed in an order which is determined by MANY different ranking factors.

Within seconds, a huge list of ranked results is returned to the user.

Google’s algorithms use more than 200 factors to work out these rankings.

Google also pays very close attention to user experience signals such as:

  • Click-through-rate (CTR)
  • Bounce rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Navigation channels
  • Session duration
  • Session frequency

This is done to make sure that the search results are relevant to the user and that the content is actually valuable to them.

Let’s look at a quick example.

If I’m in the market for a new pair of sneakers for jogging, I’m going to want to find out which ones are the best for this activity.

So, I type ‘best sneakers for jogging’ into Google.

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