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SEO 101: The Correlation Between Traffic and Rankings

We spend a lot of time talking with our clients about search engine optimization (SEO), how it works, and why it’s so important. To help with that, and proactively answer questions you may have about SEO, we sometimes blog about it. One of the biggest questions we get concerns site traffic? Does the number of visitors affect my rankings. In short, yes...but the way in which traffic and rankings are correlated is not always completely clear. To break it down for you, we first need to take a step back.

What We Mean When We Talk About Website Rankings

Website or search engine ranking refers to a particular website’s position in the results of a search engine query. The nearer the top of a list of results, the higher a website’s ranking and the more useful or relevant it is to that query. Google, the most popular search engine, relies on a complex algorithm that uses more than 200 factors to determine a website rank. Unfortunately, Google’s algorithm and the factors it uses as inputs are all proprietary and undisclosed. Fortunately, however, good SEO consultants like Bonsai agree that keyword usage, site structure and speed, the quality and number of inbound links, and average time spent on sites are all among that top factors considered by Google’s ranking algorithms. With the right guidance from the right SEO company, and with the right attention paid to certain ranking factors, you can increase your rankings, and traffic, within a few weeks.

What We Mean When We Talk About Website Traffic

How many people visit a website, how many, and which, pages they view within it, and how many inbound and outbound links they follow are all tracked. The more people visiting a website, the more trafficked and popular it is, and website rankings, in their most basic sense, can be thought of as a popularity contest. The number of visitors isn’t the whole story with website traffic. How long they stay is also an important component of traffic and in understanding and unlocking the success of a website. Even if a site that gets thousands of hits in a day can’t be considered very successful if visitors are only staying for a second.

Traffic, Search Engine Rankings and How They’re Related

The correlation between search engine ratings and and website traffic is fairly intuitive: the more traffic a website has, the higher its search engine ranking; the higher a website’s search engine ranking, the more traffic it will receive. As i’m sure you can imagine, and as i’m sure we don’t need to explain, more traffic equals more business.

But how exactly does increased traffic affect ranking? There are a few specific ways:

  • Search visits: How many organic visits a site receives through search engine results.
  • Direct visits: Visits from users who open a website directly.
  • Total visits: The combined number of direct and search visits. No matter how users reach a site, the number of visits a site receives has been shown to have a high correlation with ranking well.
  • Global rank: A ranking system used by SimilarWeb and Alexa to determine
  • Time on site: How long users spend on a site is an important metrics for how engaging a site is and has a correlation to search engine rank.
  • Page views: Like time on site, more page views correspond to higher search engine rank.
  • Bounce rate: Bounce rates track how the rate of users who navigate away from a website after viewing just one page. Lower bounce rates indicate better user engagement and are correlated to higher search engine rank.

If you own a business that operates in the modern era, you know that web traffic is crucial. to Hopefully this blog has helped illuminate the relationship between website traffic and search engine ranking. One of the most effective ways to drive traffic is by attacking your website’s ranking, which is what SEO is all about.

For Seattle SEO, Bonsai is second to none. Give us a holler to find out how we can help your business with all its SEO needs.