The Rise of Behavioural Metrics in SEO


The rise of behavioural metrics in SEO


Have you ever wondered why some websites rank higher than others on the SERP (Search engine results page)? It’s because your competitors have a comprehensive SEO strategy.

You may already have a level of awareness of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) but it can be difficult to understand the changes required to boost your ranking on the SERP. SEO techniques encompass a range of practices to help boost your visibility online and enhance your position in search engine results.

User behaviour and their experience now plays a more integral role in the success of SEO strategies. Google’s algorithms are always changing, and it can be hard to keep up! In the past, keywords were king, and whilst they are still incredibly important, there has been a significant shift in focusing on the usefulness of your site and how well it answers your user’s queries.  

Google closely monitors the behaviour of users, and in order to optimise performance, so should you!  Google’s own tools, including Google Analytics, and Google Search Console, collect useful data concerning user behaviour and it is important to convert these metrics into easy to understand reports for you to better understand areas to improve.  

What are behavioural metrics?

We’ve mentioned how behavioural metrics can impact your ranking in search results and we know how important they are, but what exactly are they? In SEO, behavioural metrics are qualitative and quantitative indicators that measure the effectiveness of your site and its content – working to give you insights into the ways in which users interact with your site.


Click Through Rate

Click Through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who visit your site after discovering it on the search engine results page. You should aim to make your click through rate as high as possible. In order to do this, your content needs to provide an authoritative, industry-relevant answer to the user’s query.  This makes it all the more important to regularly audit the written content on your site – ensuring that it is accurate, relevant and easy to understand.

The calculation for click through rate is: number of clicks (number of people who clicked your result) divided by impressions (number of people who saw your page in the search results) times 100. For instance, if 100 people saw your website listed in search engine results, and 5 of them clicked on your website, the click through rate would be 5%. The higher your click through rate, the better- this is because it shows Google that your site is giving people what they are looking for, satisfying their search queries and boosting your ranking as a result.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate refers to people leaving your site after viewing just one page, then returning back to the search engine results page to look for a result that better answers their query.

Bounce rate is calculated by single page session divided by all page sessions. High bounce rates should be avoided if possible. As bounce rate measures users returning to the search engine results, it suggests that that your site was not what they were looking for, as they will look at your competitors until they find the solution to their search.

Misleading or irrelevant content that is difficult to read or unclear is a major contributor to bounce rate and improving this could see great results.

Page load speeds also contribute towards a higher bounce rate. It’s important to make sure your site is appearing as fast as possible to customers in order to keep bounce rate low as possible. You can check your page load speeds using Google’s Page Speed Insights feature – implementing the mobile and desktop recommendations is a great way to improve your bounce rate.

Exit rate

Bounce rate and exit rate can often be confused with one another. Exit rate refers to the last page viewed before leaving the site, whereas bounce rate measures the number of users who leave the site after viewing just one page. Exit rate gives you a good understanding of where exactly people are leaving the site – allowing you to direct your attention to improving these pages first.

You must consider exactly where people are exiting. For example, if you are an e-commerce site, and lots of people are exiting in the final step of a checkout process, you need to establish why people are leaving- perhaps there is an issue with your page or products?  If your home page has a high exit rate, this is a cause for concern. Ideally, people should reach your homepage and then click on other pages, navigating and exploring their way around the site. If people exit the site from your home page, this could signal to search engines that your site’s content is not relevant or helpful to search queries.

Conversion rate

Conversion rate refers to the percentage of people who performed a targeted action, or site goal. What your conversion rate measures is up to you. Think about what you want from your site - if you are e-commerce based, perhaps your goal could be to make as many sales as possible. Perhaps the aim of your site is to get visitors to complete a contact or enquiry form?

Ultimately, conversion rate depends on the individual goals of your company. For example, if your aim is to get a customer to make a purchase, the conversion rate would be the number of completed orders divided by the number of sessions times 100.This can help you to plan your strategy and growth more efficiently, ensuring you site is able to optimise conversion rate for your desired goals.


Whilst navigation isn’t overtly a ranking factor or behavioural metric, it is important that your website’s navigation is user friendly, in order to enhance user experience. If the navigation is poor (It’s hard to find certain pages, and move across the site), then this can prevent users from exploring your content in an intuitive way, making your user journey stunted and confusing.

The customer path refers to the user’s journey - how did they reach a page from a particular point? This can be useful to illustrate how people are reaching a particular page, and could highlight issues with navigation. It is paramount to make your site easy to navigate, ensuring things are structured and organised in a functional way that is easy and accessible for site visitors.

How can I measure behavioural SEO metrics?

The best (and cheapest!) way to track the behaviour of users on your site is by using Google Analytics, and Google Search Console. These are free programmes developed by Google themselves, which collects data about the behaviour of users on your site.  These tools complement each other, displaying a variety metrics for you, enabling you to make informed decisions on how to create an enriched user experience.

If you are looking for help using Google Analytics, Verto can help! We offer training services in Google Analytics to equip you with the skills and knowledge to optimise your website Performance. Please contact us today to book in a GA4 session with a member of our SEO team.

Final Thoughts

The ever-growing impact of behavioural metrics within SEO cannot be ignored. Put yourself in the shoes of potential visitors of the site - is your site eye catching, readable and easy to use? If not, it may be time to make some changes.

Behavioural metrics from analytics provides you with purpose and precision - consider how you can make amendments in order to utilise these behavioural metrics effectively, ensuring that you are providing an optimal experience for users on your site. An in-depth analysis of behavioural metrics will help you to devise a strategy to attract more traffic, and improve your search engine rankings.

To find out more about the power of behavioural metrics, get in touch with the SEO experts here at Verto, and see how we can help you. You can contact us by completing our online enquiry form or reach us via telephone (01536 411153).

We also offer bi-monthly SEO seminars online and in-person which continuously prove to be an excellent learning and networking opportunity for many of our customers. To reserve your space or view our upcoming dates, visit our Seminars page.

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