Whilst developing a new website, have you ever gone on holiday or stopped working on a site for a period, only to find it rise in rankings? Then when you return enthusiastically to work on it again, the positions drop?
This is all to do with engagement metrics on your site.
A very important part of SEO to Google is user engagement, they go to huge levels to try and measure how any visitors interacts with your website. If the signals are good, such as dwell time, pages visited, scrolling down the pages etc, when combined with good CTR (click through rates), you will get a ranking’s boost.
The problem arises when a website is new and does not yet have any substantial traffic, where in fact you are the main visitor of that website, adding content, checking things over etc.
Google does not remove your visitor metrics from everyone else’s, so how you interact with your own website affects your metrics and maybe your rankings.
For example, have you ever checked where you rank for a specific search term, clicked on your page to make sure it loads fast, then bounce back to Google? If you have, stop it now! These actions increase bounce rate and lowers your engagement score.
Have you ever visited a single page to check spelling or design, then clicked away? Then don’t do it anymore. Again, this is bad metrics.
Do What The SEO Professionals Do
When speaking to professional SEO consultants, strategists, and developers, you will often hear them talk about developing a website, then just leaving it, sometimes for months. It takes months for Google to find changes anyway and apply them to the overall authority of a site, but if the engagement signals are natural, it can help with rankings too.
The good news is, that when traffic rises and you stop being the main visitor, these issues reduce in importance, and when high volumes are achieved non-existent.
But until those days arrive, every time you visit your own site, think about what engagement signals you are sending to Google, visit a few more pages, linger on them for a bit, scroll down as if reading the content etc. You could opt not to use the Google search console or analytics until the site is fully ready, but some metrics will still be collected.
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