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What Are User Signals?

What Are User Signals
Source: Seobility

Date First Published: 12th August 2023

Topic: Web Design & Development

Subtopic: SEO

Computer Terms & Definitions

Difficulty: Medium

Difficulty Level: 5/10

Learn about what user signals are in this article.

User signals describe behaviours displayed by visitors when interacting with a website. They are usually measured as a time, rate or percentage and are used to "signal" how satisfied users were with a page and their engagement.

User signals are often measured using web analytics services, like Google Analytics, which track repeated visits using cookies. Keeping track of user signals is important for any website and can be used to see which pages are performing well and which ones aren't. They can also provide a way to track how well the pages fulfil a user's search intent and the overall user experience.

Examples Of User Signals

Examples of user signals are:

  • Bounce rate - The percentage of visitors that enter a website and leave after viewing a single page without clicking on anything else.
  • Dwell time - The amount of time that a user spends on a webpage after clicking through a link on a search engine result before returning back to the search engine results page.
  • Organic click-through rate - The percentage of people that click on a search result when entering specific keywords. It is calculated in the same way as clicks on ads.
  • Pogo sticking - The act of clicking on multiple search results in the search engine results page and switching back and forth.
  • Return visitor rate - The percentage of users that return to a website in a specific period of time after their first visit. This metric calculates the rate of repeat visitors to a website. It is calculated by dividing the number of repeat visitors by the total number of unique visitors to a website in a specific time period.
  • Exit rate - The percentage of visitors that exit a certain page after visiting any number of pages on the website.

Effect On SEO

Although user signals have little to no effect on SEO as a direct ranking factor, the engagement and user satisfaction of searchers can indirectly affect SEO. For example, a low bounce rate with a long dwell time means that visitors are staying on the page for longer without clicking back to the search results page and they are viewing multiple pages instead of bouncing back. This will increase the chances of backlinks, which are a major ranking factor and an important part of off-page SEO.


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