Google’s algorithm update in 2011, dubbed Google Panda, dramatically changed the nature of search engine optimizationand web traffic analysis. In order to prepare for these changes moving forward, The Net Impact hosted a TXCHANGE Happy Hour covering the metrics that matter in Google Analytics with our in-house experts Lauren Williamson and Liz Maritz. Here are our major takeaways from their presentation.
Watch for “Pogo-Sticking”
Users who bounce back and forth from the search engine results page and multiple sites quickly are pogo-sticking. These users can potentially hurt your search rankings. Make sure the page for which you are ranking is relevant to users searching for that specific keyword.
It’s All About Engagement
Google is no longer just looking at quantity of web traffic and links in its ranking algorithm. With the Panda algorithm update, Google is attempting to measure a quality user experience with metrics like Bounce Rate, Pages per Visit, and Time on Site; keep an eye on these metrics. The best way to improve these metrics is to engage visitors with quality content, clear calls-to-action, and an intuitive UX Design.
Quality Snippets are a Must
Landing page click-through rate (CTR), available through Google Webmaster Tools, is an important element to analyze. If the “snippet” under the link is not enticing enough to users the CTR may be low despite the link’s high position on the search results page. This snippet is a combination of your meta-description of the page and relevant content Google finds on the page.
Set and Track Conversion Goals.
Specific conversion goal tracking is one of the most powerful tools integrated with Google Analytics. These goals can include purchases, contact forms, downloads, or clicking a link. Fully implementing a site into Google Analytics Goals provides administrators a simple way to measure and compare the value and success of each conversion goal.
Watch Page Load Speed.
Another way Google measures the quality of the user experience is through page load time. Additional quarter-seconds of load time can drastically affect user enjoyment, bounce rates, and search engine rankings. Google Webmaster Tools help to track your page load speeds and compare them to average load times of other sites.
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