How search engines rely on behavioral data when ranking (for example, Google)

Original author: Elisa Gabbert
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We have already talked so much about behavioral factors in our blog that our readers probably already have a completely integrated picture and it is unlikely that anyone will be surprised by the question: what can Google or Yandex rely on in addition to links when searching? It all started with links, but now search engines have additional data sources that they equally take into account when forming a search. Today we will provide excerpts from an article by our colleagues posted on the WordStream marketing product blog. Eliza Gabbert came to the very right conclusions based on her own marketing experience regarding determining behavioral factors. The article is abbreviated. We thank the analytical department of ALTWeb Group for the material provided and express our gratitude to the product promotion team due to behavioral factorsSERPClick for help with the translation.

We have already said that this is a data pool based on user behavior. We also cited this article in translation, which claimed that search engines do not have to turn to analytics: user data is also in the logs of the search itself, and we also remember this report , from which we can judge that the information from the search logs can determine the quality of the search results, which means that indirectly this confirms the idea that search engines can take information from search logs and use it as a new ranking format. The author of the article asks the question: what, in addition to links, can the search engine rely on when ranking and why? Or - what would happen if there were no links?

What could be an alternative to links and why?

Asked about what could provide additional, accurate and vulnerable to external influences information about the quality of the search, the author suggests to mentally go 15 years ago, when there were several search engines, and they were used very little.

The dashing nineties - the beginning of the two thousandth

Yahoo, Altavista, and other search engines competed with each other, and there was very little search traffic. It was necessary to come up with some kind of markup for the whole variety of sites and try to separate the useful from the frankly bad. This measure was fully justified and it is unlikely that sometime link ranking can become completely obsolete. However, over time, search engines have additional sources of information that can also be used. Now you can record millions of queries per day, so new factors have become just as important for Google as link ranking. Now you can rely on the collective mind as a huge source of data, which by no means always includes data on links. Behavioral factors can be a new tool for a finer assessment of search quality,

Next, we provide a translation of the part of the article in which the author discusses the mechanisms of the Quality Score based on behavioral factors.

What quality assessment options can be used for organic search?

The Google algorithm takes into account data from a huge number of sources. (Of course, advertising brings income, but advertising itself exists due to the fact that someone comes in search). And how can you rank ads? Of course, not based on the cost of the ad, because in this case one would have to compromise on relevance. Therefore, quality assessment served Google as a way of evaluating advertisements according to the same principle by which the quality of content is evaluated.

Quality Score for advertisementsGoogle mainly relies on clickthrough rate (CTR). Of course, Google has a lot of beautiful explanations on how exactly they calculate this indicator, but we conducted our own research and came to the conclusion that the clickability of an ad in this position is important in the first place compared to the expected clickability in the same position. As for ads that did not have a chance to be shown in the top, Google can quickly test a new ad and determine its potential, for this, about 200 impressions may be enough.

We believe that organic output can use a similar algorithm based on the calculation of behavioral factors to a much greater extent than on the assessment of the reference mass . The following factors will be decisive in this case:

  • Clickability
  • Bounce rate
  • Page Time
  • Social cues
  • Number of Comments
  • Other

Google can capture behavioral factors from analytics, Chrome’s own browser (by the way, the most used browser on mobile devices), as well as from applications like Google+. Not so long ago, Matt Cutts mentioned that Google doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter signals in its ranking algorithm, but many suspect that the creation of Google+ was an attempt to take over its own source of social signals.

Quality Score can be scaled. Google has only 3 billion requests per day, but at the same time 5.6 billion ad impressions (not counting another 24 billion banner impressions).

On this, we again digress from the original article and add from ourselves that in the future we will return to the topic of factors that complement link ranking. This will include two topics. First of all, this link strengthening is the topic that our PFLink product is dedicated to , which allows us to strengthen existing links with user transitions and thereby increase their importance for search engines. In the near future we will explain why this method is effective for webmasters. Secondly, behavioral factors can be influenced directly with the help of the SERPClick product , which allows users to go to your site with the specified session longitude parameters, return to search and other important parameters of behavioral factors that allow you to display the site on the first search page.

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