1.CTR, bounce rate, and dwell time
Google is believed to take into account the so-called user interaction signals, such as CTR, dwell time and bounce rate. Based on the time a user spent on a website before bouncing back to the SERP, Google may evaluate the page’s quality. Some case studies show a correlation between bounce rate, CTR, and time spent on a website with rankings.
Gary Illyes stated really explicitly that CTR has not been used as a ranking factor.
“Dwell time, CTR… those are generally made up crap. Search is much more simple than people think.”
All things user behavior seem to be a highly controversial topic. On the one hand, we have Google multiple times denying their use as ranking factors. On the other hand, there are cases of correlation between them and rankings. Leaving aside rankings, a good CTR is a good CTR, and making people spend more time on your website may lead to more conversions. So you don’t need to give up tracking these metrics.
Pogo-sticking is a type of user behavior that occurs when a user ‘jumps’ across a SERP from one result to another to find the most relevant one. It is believed that pogo-sticking may negatively affect rankings.
John Mueller explained during a Hangout session that pogo-sticking had not been regarded as a ranking signal.
“We try not to use signals like that when it comes to search. So that’s something where there are lots of reasons why users might go back and forth, or look at different things in the search results, or stay just briefly on a page and move back again. I think that’s really hard to refine and say “well, we could turn this into a ranking factor.
So I would not worry about things like that.”
Google seems to treat pogo-sticking as a variation of normal user behavior. As soon as it’s hard to define the exact reason for it, pogo-sticking is not likely to become a ranking factor, at least in the near future.
There’s been a confirmation that Google has been using data from Google Chrome to track website visitors. Thus it is believed that it can evaluate website’s traffic and favor sites that receive a lot of direct traffic, determine how many people visit site (and how often). Back in 2017, a correlation between direct traffic and website ranks was observed.
There’s a Google’s patent named ‘Document scoring based on traffic associated with a document’, but there’s no clear evidence that is has been used.
Moreover, Google denies any connections between traffic and rankings.
“No, traffic to a website isn’t a ranking factor.”
Though Google might use the Chrome data to evaluate website relevance or quality, there hasn’t been any clear confirmation from Google that direct traffic may play any significant role in providing higher ranks for a website.See more about SEO.
4.Positive/negative user reviews
Positive or negative customer review sources may be taken into account by Google’s ranking algorithm.
On the one hand, there is a patent on domain-specific sentiment classification:
“A domain-specific sentiment classifier that can be used to score the polarity and magnitude of sentiment expressed by domain-specific documents is created.”
However, the technology is not likely to have been used, as John Muller denied considering ratings, reviews etc, to have ever been ranking factors.
Google is probably on the way to include positive or negative sentiments into their ranking algorithm. User reviews do play an important role for ranking in local search. However, speaking about organic search rankings, Google seems to haven’t made such a step yet.