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Website Function Drives Users

Nancy Roblewsky

Website Function Drives Users

Website function drives users and that directly affects a website’s performance. This is common sense, yet I feel website functionality is undervalued by business owners. 

Seems like they often aren’t concerned about whether their website works correctly on all devices.  This is a grave mistake as recent Google updates have focused heavily on speed, user experience elements and overall website performance. 

With so many items in Google algorithm indirectly and directly tied to functionality, it’s vital to make sure your site works properly on all devices and for everyone, including those with disabilities.

How function impacts website rankings

User signals and behavior patterns are used by Google when ranking websites.  Such things as bounce rate and length on site are indicators used to determine user patterns. 

For instance, a high bounce rate may indicate users didn’t find your content useful and left.  Whereas a low bounce rate means they stayed so they probably found your content helpful.

What are user signals?

They are behavior patterns Google uses when ranking websites.  The most important user signals are the bounce rate and click-through-rate.  Other user signals are the amount of time spent on your website and number of returning visitors.

It boils down to how people interact with your website and that’s dependent on how well it functions for them.  If it works properly, people have a positive experience and stay longer and/or come back.  If it has problems, they have a negative experience and leave, usually not ever coming back.

Bounce rates not always accurate

Bounce rates are measured differently depending on which analytics you’re using.  That’s why it’s necessary to look at how your analytics define a bounce as it changes how you interpret it.

For example, some count a bounce as only visiting one page, no matter how long you stay.  In this case, they often count ‘time on site’ as zero, which skews your overall numbers. 

The better way is to count one-page visitors as a bounce only if they spend less than 30 seconds on the page.  Afterall, if someone sticks around reading for several minutes, that should not count as a bounce.

Is Functionality Your Website Weakness?

Many owners are not happy with their website’s performance, but they don’t know what or who to blame.   This is where taking a deep drive into your analytics can provide clues and, quite often, answers.

Analytics can be confusing, and it takes someone with experience in the field to decipher what everything means.  The type of analytics installed on your website makes a difference too as they are not all the same. 

Bad data = bad conclusions

It’s safe to say most (analytics) measure the basics but not all of them capture downloads or outbound links or log behavior the same. For example, we just explained how bounce rates can be defined quite differently, which then affects any conclusions drawn using that data. 

Remember, any conclusions made are only as accurate as the data it comes from.  Bad data equals bad conclusions and that is not helpful when the goal is to improve website performance.  

Using analytics to uncover weaknesses

Analytics can be used to isolate user behavior such as how long visitors stay on a page or what pages get the most visits.  This information can be used to reveal weaknesses in your website.  It’s safe to say that most websites have weaknesses though some have a lot more than others.

Ranking tied to function & user behavior

Google’s goal is to organize all the information on the web and make it equally accessible.  To that end, it wants to show people the best result for their query while serving them the best experience.

This explains why user behavior, user signals, user flow & behavioral patterns are vital as they are a substantial part of their ranking system.  It reinforces the concept that website function drives users, which is why you need to make sure yours’ is user-friendly.  

Performance affects user flow

Therefore, focusing on a well-functioning website with great content is the best way to achieve high performance and better conversion rate. Remember, you’ll never go wrong when you invest money and energy into having a website that delivers the best user experience possible.

Contact Sleepy Dog Media Group if you’re ready to improve the functionality of your website.

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Published: October 27, 2022 • Last Updated: November 24, 2022