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Improving SERPS - Average Time on Store?

9:19 pm on Sep 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've read a lot of things in the past about how the average time somebody spends on your site, can improve your site's SERPs. I know that Analytics monitors the time people are on a page... so I'd assume that Google cares?

The problem is Google also can't stop talking about how making a site, with good stuff on it, and that is "user friendly" is so important to ranking well.

That being said, here is my problem. So, I have ton of really nice content on my category pages but the product images are below the content. When somebody lands on my page, if they never bother to read the page from top to bottom, they never get to see the products. What I am noticing is, people are frustrated and too lazy to scroll down. The good part is, the average time on those pages is high for those who take the time to read it.

Now, I could rearrange the page, so that product images appear BEFORE the content. This would improve the user experience but it would also decrease the average time on the page, because people would be able to quickly access what they need.

Which approach should I take?
4:39 pm on Sept 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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The first purpose of an ecommerce site is to let people find and buy products as easily and simply as possible. Period.

Don't focus on a metric that some people think might possibly maybe perhaps or could be being used. Focus instead on those on-page factors that you know will make it easier to convert visitors, such as putting product images where (lazy) potential buyers can see them.
11:29 am on Sept 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This sounds like a perfect situation for A/B testing... create a couple of different layouts, then use Analytics to test test test.

Some ideas for the layouts would be a snippet of the content and a 'read more' button that shows the rest (so that the products start above the fold by default) or a column based layout where you show the products in the first two thirds of the page width, then the right hand third for the content (or the other way around).

As Jim has said, the primary objective for an ecommerce site is to sell things... so focus on conversion rate rather than anything else. Having said that, time on site and number of pageviews per visit are positively linked to conversions, so they should go hand in hand.
2:52 pm on Sept 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Ditto the previous two members.

User experience metrics, as I understand it, are not ranking factors. Some of the UX metrics are used for quality control. But that's not a ranking factor.

A ranking factor is a signal associated with identifying the best answer for a query. Quality control type metrics can come before that algorithm and can happen afterward. If you think sales are suffering because folks are abandoning the page because they don't see their products, then the suggestion to a/b test may be a good one to pursue in order to identify the best user experience related to conversions.

Post transactional signals may be an important signal. I would say that's the most important signal for an ecommerce site. Whether Google uses them in the algorithm is up for speculation but I think it's a good area to research.