SEMrush, a SaaS product used by over 1,500,000 marketers worldwide, have released the second incarnation of their ‘Ranking Factors‘ study to better understand what areas of SEO marketer’s need to focus on during their day to day activities. Taking data consisting of 600,000 keywords from their worldwide base and the first 100 SERP positions for each of them, they have compiled a list of the ranking factors that they believe influence page rankings.
Direct Traffic is a large contributor to your ranking position
Direct traffic is most often the result of a user entering a URL into their browser or using a bookmark to directly access the site. Essentially, direct sessions occur any time Google Analytics cannot determine another referring source or channel. As such, direct traffic is often seen as an indicator of brand awareness as it suggests the more that visitors are directly entering the URL for your website, the stronger your brand awareness. As well as a sign of a strong brand, Google can attribute it as an indicator that your website has high authority and value for users, and thus should be placed higher in SERP’s.
How do you increase Direct Traffic?
- Social Media: whilst at first you would believe that using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook would only boost your Social sessions, Social Media is a fantastic channel for increasing visibility for your product or service. Facebook itself has over one billion active monthly users, meaning that your business has a unique opportunity to increase awareness amongst a worldwide audience. As the saying goes… “content is king”, create great shareable content that would in turn enable you to reach more people.
- Go Offline: the strongest marketing strategies take a multi-channel approach. Have you recently created a great piece of content? Or, have you recently launched a new offer? Share this with your audience through an offline channel such as a direct mailing campaign or print advert to encourage users to actively search for your website’s URL.
- Advertise: this may not be feasible for everybody, but advertising can be as expensive as you want it to be. Print small paper ads and put them in local shops, get an advertisement on the radio or you could consider AdWords to have a larger level of control over your budgets.
Focus on the User Experience
User behaviour signals such as Average Session Duration, Pages per Session and Bounce Rate have also been found to be a big influence on website rankings, as they can indicate a quality website user experience and relevant content for users.
- 49% – the average Bounce Rate for websites ranking in the top three.
- 3 – 3.5 – pages are visited per one session when a user lands on the website from search.
- x3.5 – users spent 3.5 times more time on the first-ranking pages.
These results indicate that if you can influence users to spend more time on your website, you could rank higher in SERPs. Whilst this could also be explained by the fact that users trust top-ranking pages more than lower-ranking ones, it’s important to ensure that your website is well optimised to provide a quality user experience.
How do you Improve User Behaviour?
- Increase the number of internal links within each page – make it as easy as possible for your visitors to navigate your website, this will also help search engines to crawl your website.
- Create clear user journeys across the website – help visitors navigate the website easily. This will encourage them to view more pages related to what they’re searching for.
- Add more video content to the website – video provides an excellent (and varied) format to engage your audience.
- Ensure your pages are relevant to your ranking keywords – it’s important that your page isn’t gaining traffic from keywords that are not relevant to your content, as this can lead to a poor user experience. Take time to review your keyword rankings, and navigate away from less relevant keywords.
If you need assistance in increasing Direct Traffic to your website or improving your site’s user experience , get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to support you in your SEO activities. Get in touch today or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01635 88711.