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experiment testing the effect of visitor interaction on rankings

10:00 pm on Jul 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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There's been a lot of talk of the many signals google is or could be using to rank websites. One of those signals could be visitor interaction statistics. Of course it has not yet been nailed down that they are using this as a ranking factor but I for one would think this would be a good signal for them to use if they could get clear data (and I think they can).

One of our sites was hit by the original penguin and never recovered for it's main keyword, it is also an EMD. Prior to April, 2012 this site ranked number 1 for the main keyword for about 2 years. For the past year this site has ranked consistently in the 80 to 120 range for it's main keyword.

For this particular site/niche google has a lot of data. They have data that we gave them via analytic and they have data from another business in the same niche that they invested in.

What we did this weekend was lower the price of our product to a point where the conversion rate has just about doubled from 2.89% to 5.68% (sitewide, all visitors). The bounce rate has gone from 39% to 26% and average time on the site has gone from 203 seconds to 290 seconds.

Today is day 3 of the experiment and of course it is way to early to expect to see any results. However we've noticed some interesting ranking changes today compared to a ranking check from Friday before we started the lower price test:

1. widget (EMD): Friday: #97, today: #56
2. widget product: Friday: #127, today: #39
3. california widget: Friday: #12, today: #5
4. widgets: Friday: #145, today: #82

It goes on and on down our keyword list. It's almost crazy to think that we could be seeing any results this quick from this change but we have made no other changes to the site and we have done no promotion or link building since April, 2012.

We are going to keep this test going for at least the rest of the week to see what kind of info we can get.
7:47 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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RIGHT NOW your ranking is still as it was on Day 5

That's correct, prices have been increased, user metrics returned to normal, rankings have not shown any significant signs of movement.

current rankings:
1. widget: #47
2. widget product: #32
3. california widget: #15
4. widgets: #39
10:04 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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7:19 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I've thought for a while that site metrics would be a great indicator of page/site quality. I've often thought that this would be the easiest way to determine "quality". My theory is that it has more to do with CTR and time on page. i.e a user clicks on SERP position 1, leaves, clicks on 2, stays longer then #2>#1, so ranking improves. Just a theory of course.
12:21 am on Aug 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Do you have a long term graph or some more stats on dwell time - page and site wide?

For me, all the UI/UX, navigation etc boil down to the amount of time the user spends on your site - get them to stay for 1 more page or 1 more minute and you'll see progression.

We've always believed in following retail B&M models - it is about getting foot traffic, retaining it and then exploiting it appropriately.
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