Metrics Google Uses to Score Your Content

We’ve been waiting for this for quite a while, haven’t we? That moment when we can say that we know for sure what Google bots like about our website and what they don’t like.

Well, the following metrics aren’t exactly coming from Google, but close enough. The Moz experts think they have unveiled the mystery. If you have anything to do with SEO, you already know that the closest you can get to Google is Moz.

This edition of Whiteboard Friday was filled with epiphanies and confirmations of things I already suspected. So I decided to resume it for you. Here it is:

Top 4 metrics you should care about (because Google does!)

The Moz experts assume that the organic ranking metrics are somewhat similar to the AdWords quality score, the algorithm that Google uses to rank ads and determine costs. Of course, the organic ranking algorithm itself has to be quite sophisticated, but I think the simplifications below can help a lot of businesses and SEO writers.

1. Actions taken on your website

They came, they read, then what? According to Moz, Google loves to see people click a button on your website after reading or scanning one of your pages. If they do nothing, then Google assumes your website wasn’t all that interesting.

What to do: Add CTAs to each of your posts. You may think it is common sense for people who love what you write to go to the contact page and ask for a price quotation. But it’s not. We tested this on multiple websites for our clients and on our own website. Irrespective of how many clicks they got and how well they ranked organically, blog posts with no CTA gathered very few (if any) leads.

2. Bounce rate

You already know that a huge bounce rate isn’t something to be proud of. Google doesn’t like it either.

Think about it: People search for something and arrive on your website. Then they immediately bounce back to search results. What does that signal? Obviously, that they didn’t find what they were looking for. In other words, that your website isn’t very relevant for the keyword in question.

What to do: CTAs can help guide people to deep clicking aka browsing a lot of pages on your website. Inbound linking also helps to keep people engaged.

3. Time spent on page

Are you starting to see a pattern here? Good.

You may think that you can fix all of these through the bounce rate. But it’s not exactly the same thing. People could spend a few seconds on a page, be distracted by a link at the top and click on it. This tells Google that your website may be interesting (given your low bounce rate), but that particular webpage is not.

According to a recent study, people scan webpages, they don’t read them word for word. So what can you do about it? Can you change behaviors? Of course not; but you can offer them something to scan for longer periods of time and captivate them.

What to do: Avoid clutter at all costs. Don’t be afraid of the white space and add as many photos or videos as you can to break down the text. Subtitles, spaces between paragraphs and bullet points are also must-haves. If people see a huge wall of text, they will most likely move on. But if they are interested in the topic, they will at least scan the text (when written and formatted properly).

4. Links to your website

This one is confirmed by a Google representative (finally). The more links you have on your website, the better you will rank.


It’s quite obvious: when people cite you, it means that you are doing a good job. Andrey Lipattsev, the Google representative in question clearly stated that content and links are very important for ranking. Which gives us an idea about how to tackle this.

What to do: I’ve said it in many of my articles here: great content is your gold mine. If you create it, links will come. Not overnight, but they will. One of the greatest joys for me is receiving e-mails from clients who tell me they discovered tens of new links to the blog posts we wrote for them.

Similarly, I love it when our clients are asked for permission to translate their articles in other languages or use parts of them by complete strangers. This is the link building power of great content. Oh, and if you were thinking about buying links, forget about it – they have absolutely no value. Influencer outreach and guest blogging are much better solutions when you’ve just launched your website and have very little traction.

Wrapping things up

If there is one thing all these metrics have in common, it’s content quality. Write good content and people will stay on your page longer, they will click more to get to other pages or articles and they will link to your blog because it will be a trustworthy source.

In a nutshell, write it and they will come.