The influence of the visitor
There has been a lot of discussion lately about the visitor’s contribution to the SEO process.
The opinions are different: some are claiming that the influence of each visitor is very high and Google is counting every visitor that left his credentials or made any other interaction during his site browsing.
Others are saying a visitor’s influence is minor and there is no way that Google will count visitors’ behavior during site ranking.
So which is the right one?
I would like to make some order in this matter and explain how the traffic affects the site ranking. I would like to emphasis a few points:
It’s not about the amount of traffic, but about its quality and about the visitor’s experience during the browsing of the site. In the past we used to think that the amount of visitors is crucial.
Let’s start with the basic SEO technique: Inbound Link Building
Every SEO person uses this technique in order to get higher Google ranking. The question is "What influence the visitor has to the link?"
Every time you are creating a link you need to think will this link contribute to the visitor and he will be able to use it or is it located on a page that no one is visiting. The purpose of the links is that visitors could follow them to our site. The problem is that today links are created mostly for the Google spider and without any though about the visitor.
Conclusion: It’s worth the effort to create useful links which will be followed by the visitors, a "live" link.
Till now we discussed the link building strategy, let’s continue.
The visitor is searching for the results in Google and gets a list of results. Your site is not the only one in the list, so the visitor will check other sites as well.
The visitor stages of behavior:
First, the visitor is looking at the list and decides which result he wants to click on and review. At this stage the visitor is directly influencing the ranking. If your site is located at the first page or in the first place, but visitor is not clicking on it, Google will understand that the site is not liked by visitors. (In some cases changing the description of the site will solve the problem).
Next stage will be viewing the site. So time of site viewing is an additional parameter of visitor influence. If the visitor is leaving your site during seconds, Google will understand that your site is not relevant or problematic. It is important to understand the next action of the visitor after leaving your site. Did he searched for the same value again and found more relevant site which he viewed longer? Or did he close his browser?
Reasons that may cause the visitor to leave your site quickly:
1. The visitor didn’t find what he looked for – your site is not relevant for the search request
2. The content of the site is not written well, unprofessional or not readable.
3. The site is designed badly and the graphics are poor. These days, the visitor is looking for an impressive site.
4. Menu and sidebars, site hierarchy and content are not clear enough. You must make the effort and plan a site that will be user friendly and clear enough so the visitor will enjoy using it without any effort.
5. Site upload speed is too slow. As our connection speed grows higher, the visitor’s patience becomes lower. The visitor will not wait for the site to be shown; he will look for other sites.
The influence of toolbars and connecting to Google sites accounts
Anyone who is familiar with the Alexa scale knows that it gathers the surfing information of Alexa users and ranks the sites based on that. Google is gathering information from any user logged on in Gmail or other Google account. Surfing the web using the Google toolbar is a highly effective information source. Google Chrome, although it is a relatively new browser, is used as an information source as well.
A few additional myths about the influence of human activity:
“A web site that is connected to Google Analytics will be ranked higher if the requests for additional information are created in it." I disagree with this statement, as this value can be easily falsely created, that’s the reason I find it hard to believe that it affects Google ranking. There is a difference between the request for additional information and actual sale in the web site.
An additional opinion I have heard recently is that amount of "LIKEs" the site is getting is influencing its ranking. This value can easily be a fraud, moreover, Google can’t read the "LIKE" source code.
These are a few examples of the human activity influence on the site ranking. It is important to understand that one of the aspects of SEO work is to make sure that the site will be relevant and user friendly, so that the visitor will find the information he was looking for and the site appearance will be welcoming.
Once your website looks great and has interesting, professional and relevant content, you will earn the visitor’s confidence he will come to your site again and he will not search for this information in a different website.