Click-through Rate and Dwell time are very powerful such that they can transform your ranking overnight. Google uses these metrics as feedback from users and uses them to place your site.
There has been a lot of controversies regarding how user metrics impact SERP position.
Some people base their decision on data from Google Analytics, which is usually unreliable while others think higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates are responsible for an adverse result on SERP.
Based on my research, usability is an important part of the ranking. The data gathered from user metrics make the difference between ranking on page 1 or page 5 and this piece is going to shed more light on it.
By user metrics, I mean the Click-through rate and Dwell time (bounce rate and conversion rate).
CTR or click-through rate shows the ratio of link clicks to impressions. It is the total of clicks that your SERP listing receives divided by the total of times that same SERP listing was shown multiply by 100 (clicks/impressions * 100 = CTR).
Your SEO effort is targeted at getting a higher CTR because we all know that the higher the CTR the better.
Most SEO experts believe Google maximizes the use of Click-through rate data from their SERP, my opinion is that it won't be rocket science for Google to collect CTR data.
If a listing on SERP gets clicked or not is one of their first idea about whether a given listing on SERP is a good match for a query or not.
Another indication that Google uses CTR as a factor is their paid search ads quality score. Even though the paid search ads algorithm is entirely different from organic search algo, it is proof that CTR is at the core of their factors.
Another point is based on my 2014 experiment, I optimized the title text of one of my page 1 listings, which subsequently led to an increase in clicks with a corresponding higher ranking from number 7 to number 2.
Whether you believe it or not, Google is using CTR as a user metric factor.
Dwell time, is a combination of bounce rate and conversion rate metrics – it rates how long it takes a user to hit the back button and go back to SERP after earlier clicking on a listing in SERP result (search engine can easily measure this data because they have control).
Taking Google by their mantra - "Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines." Dwell time is used by Google (even Bing) to measure the quality of a website.
I discovered that they track every click from the SERP to collect this data.
A bounce is referred to when a particular user visits your web page and immediately uses the back button from that same page to go back to SERP without spending time or taking valuable action on the page.
Bounce rate is therefore the number of bounce divided by the total number of page visitors (number of bounce/number of page visitors * 100).
Conversion rate is the total number of conversions (sales made, form filling, more page visits) divided by the number of page visitors (number of conversion/number of page visitors * 100).
There are countless strategies to improve your website's usability, the ones above are a few of many.
While there are heavy speculations that Google and Bing use user metrics as important factors, there is still no proof that user experience directly impacts organic search ranking.Traffic! Traffic!! Traffic!!!.