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    Time on page to next page click


    Hi there,

    I have landing pages on my site that are performing well. We are adding links on these pages to relevant pages on our blog.

    This may cause users to go onto these landing pages and quickly click through to the blog.

    My question is: is this a negative or positive for SEO for the landing page i.e. if a high % of traffic to the landing page quickly go to the blog hence reducing the time on page of the landing page but possibly increasing the time onsite.

    What impact will this have on the landing pages, if any?

    Many thanks, Taryn
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    It's up for debate whether Google even consider things like bounce rate/dwell time as ranking factors, but it's safe enough to presume they do in this case.

    As the users are staying and browsing on your site I can't see how that could possibly be deemed a negative factor though.

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    • KernelPanic agrees
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    Hey Ivan,

    Many thanks for coming back to me, indeed it is interesting, if the time on page reduces this could be a signal that the page isn't performing for the keyword(s) sending traffic, however more clicks to further pages of the site increasing the time on site would be a positive signal.

    I suppose I'll put the links live and monitor the impact on engagement and ranks closely.

    Taryn
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    I doubt there's a huge amount of search queries that are answered on a single landing page, you nearly always want the user to do something else on the site so Google has no real way of knowing how good that landing page is based on where they click next.

    Take a classic:

    "mens running shoes"

    Top organic result for me is Sports Direct with a page full of products.

    People are generally going to be clicking all over the place comparing prices, styles, sizes etc....but it's still a good landing page that has exactly what I wanted.

    Just my thoughts anyway, be interesting to know what others think.
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    Good example Ivan,

    Many thanks again for coming back to me. Taryn
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    Hi Misty,
    You and Google cannot draw any conclusions based on how long someone spends on a web page because the answer is always, "it depends".

    "It depends" on why the visitor came to your site, where they landed and how easy the info they needed was to find.

    Look at your Analytics Devices Report. (Audience -> Mobile -> Overview) There are always exceptions but I'd suggest that 90% of businesses' websites report that desktop vs. mobile phone traffic looks like this:

    • Average pages per visit on desktop = Up to 33% more than mobile phones
    • Average session duration on desktop = Up 40% longer than mobile phones

    One big difference is the nature of the search queries on mobile vs. desktop devices.

    Eg: There is a much higher volume of short answer queries posed on phones than on desktop. For mobiles, searches such as phone number, address, directions, hours, etc. Back in 2013, G spent a huge amount on PR to educate us that mobile searches were typically very different to desktop searches - it called them "micro moments" in search.

    Ivan D hit the money with his comments about product category searches.

    There are huge differences in time on page and bounce rates based on whether a searcher lands on a "navigation" page or an info page. The norm for shopping sites is for most people to search for a product category and land on a navigational page. (Eg. womens red shoes). From there, the typical pattern is a short time on the landing page and a quick click through to various product info pages. A short time on a navigational page does not indicate a "low quality" landing page.

    If a searcher has progressed through their purchasing process to the point where they have decided on a specific brand/make of shoe, they could search for and land on an individual product page of the site. They may have done all their previous searches on a mobile phone but switched to a desktop for the purchasing process. This user's pathway could be to arrive on a product landing page and immediately click the Order Button to start the purchase.

    The point is that there are so many variables that can influence time on page, bounce rates, pages viewed per visit, dwell time, etc. that SEs and you cannot rely on "engagement signal" metrics for any sort of reliable predictor. Google has frequently confirmed it does not use them in its ranking algorithm for this reason.

    If you want to hear an auditorium full of SEOs LOL about these engagement signal myths watch this video:

    Last edited by JohnAimit; Mar 9th, 2018 at 03:34 AM.
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    Just to be clear, many people who work in competitive environments think differently Read this
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    Hey John,

    Many thanks for a most detailed response, I'll give the video a watch.

    T
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    Thank you Kernel for the post to read, very interesting. T
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    KP Quote: Just to be clear, many people who work in competitive environments think differently Read this

    KP, Many people? I think I've only seen you quote two of them. IMHO, both have problems passing SEO credibility.

    Of course there are people who believe in the Google "engagement" ranking signal myth. This is when an SEO needs to use his/her knowledge and experience to assess articles and their authors.

    Let's start with what your author (Larry Kim) tells us about himself.

    His Search Engine Journal profile "I am awesome at PPC."

    His LinkedIn profile. He has a very extensive Linkedin profile that includes extensive experience in PPC management, social media marketing and developing PPC management tools.

    There is not one word about any knowledge or experience in SEO or how generic search works in his LinkedIn profile.

    He is also an extremely prolific writer of articles. LinkedIn lists 170 of them. The handful with any relevance to SEO are very general and could have been cobbled together from a swag of similar topic references.

    Then there is the article referenced above.

    Published, 25 Jan 17: Does Dwell Time Really Matter for SEO? [Data]

    (I can't see anything different in the Wayback copy of the original article and the version now dated 28 Feb 18.)

    LK Quote (headline): Does Dwell Time Really Matter for SEO?
    (LK definition: "dwell time refers to the length of time a visitor spends on a page before heading back to the search engine that sent them there.")

    JA: Check out this study. "The State of Searcher Behavior Revealed Through 23 Remarkable Statistics"

    It found that only 8% of searchers exhibited actions that resulted in a "dwell time" activity.

    No SE can use signals that are based on such a miniscule share of searches! This is ludicrous as a ranking parameter!

    LK Quote: "I won't lie: I've become a bit obsessed with machine learning. My theory is that RankBrain and/or other machine learning elements within Google's core algorithm are increasingly rewarding pages with high user engagement."

    We then jump from a theory to an unsubstantiated "fact".

    "Basically, Google wants to find unicorns pages that have extraordinary user engagement metrics like organic search click-through rate (CTR), dwell time, bounce rate, and conversion rate and reward that content with higher organic search rankings."

    JA: Garbage! Google's Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines actually say:

    "Good search engines give results that are helpful for users in their specific language and locale."

    "Ultimately, the goal of Page Quality rating is to evaluate how well the page achieves its purpose. Because different types of websites and webpages can have very different purposes, our expectations and standards for different types of pages are also different."
    The guidelines then give scores of examples of different types of web pages to show the evaluators what "quality" means in to all these different queries.

    When did anyone from Google make a statement that was remotely close to this? The opposite is true. Google spokespeople have consistently and repeatedly stated that G does not use "engagement" signals in its ranking algo. These include; Gary Illyes, John Mueller, Andrey Lipattsev, Paul Haahr, Danny Sullivan and Matt Cutts.

    LK Quote: "Happier, more engaged users means better search results, right?"

    JA: WRONG! The Google spokespeople listed above have given a very simple reason - engagement signals give inconsistent indications of good answers.

    LK Quote: "We can't measure long clicks or dwell time in Google Analytics. Only Google has access to this data."

    JA: This statement tells us that all the metrics cited in the article are completely meaningless and have nothing to do with "dwell time".

    LK quote: "What I found: results that have higher organic search CTRs are getting pushed higher up the SERPs and getting more clicks:"

    Then he publishes a best fit "click through rate" vs. organic search rankings chart.

    JA: This seems to be another misdirection of fact. The chart shows the "average" distribution for an unknown set of parameters.

    Google does not want to show "average" answers, it wants to show the best answers. The best answers will often be in the "abnormal" outlying results in these charts.

    People should consider the fact that there will be very different distribution charts for every search variant we can think of. Eg:

    • Searches on mobile phone vs. Desktop
    • Charts based on the number of words in a search query
    • Charts based on how many search query words occur in a page's title
    • Charts based on how many times search query words occur in SERP titles, URLs and description.

    I will leave experienced SEOs to ponder their level of SEO knowledge and how well they think they can assess the accuracy of on SEO article such as suggested by KP.

    KP: How about you give us the benefit of your SEO experience and knowledge when we are faced with spurious/questionable myths about Google's ranking algorithm?
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Mar 10th, 2018 at 06:01 PM.

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