The Truth Behind Engagement and Your Rankings

TOPICSOrganic Search

In a collaboration with SimilarWeb, Moz used its ranking data to measure correlations between traffic and engagement metrics, providing groundbreaking insights in its 2015 Ranking Correlation Study.

With SimilarWeb as a data partner, Moz was able to measure how metrics such as traffic, time spent on site, bounce rate, and page views are linked to higher rankings. Moz used data collected from 200,000 websites, measuring their rankings against SimilarWeb’s user-engagement and traffic stats.

Moz’s Data Science team, headed by Dr. Matthew Peters, set out to discover which engagement metrics are connected to higher search rankings through a correlation study. This study stands apart from others due to its focus on user-based metrics, rather than the former focus on SEO features such as optimization tactics and title tag length.

According to this study’s results, there is indeed a strong connection between engagement and rankings. Moz and SimilarWeb analyzed time-on-site, page views, and bounce rate to determine that user engagement cannot be overlooked when it comes to rankings.

Sites with low bounce rates, long time-on-site statistics, and the most page views tended to rank higher in Google’s search results. Although such metrics are not directly calculated into the search algorithm, user-based metrics are used to check website quality, user satisfaction, and search result relevance.

User-based metrics do matter, as this study confirms. While few would have overlooked these metrics before, this just reinforces their importance when it comes to search rankings. Moz and SimilarWeb have unequivocally shown that websites with higher user engagement and lower bounce rates will typically receive higher rankings in search engine results.