Mar 28 2007

Google visitor tracking and behavior factoring

For quite a while now I have believed in this idea which I refer to as “visitor tracking and behavior factoring”. This may be new to some of you, and some of you won’t accept it yet. I personally believe it is in beta testing stages but is being implemented as we speak. It is a revolutionary factoring system that will sit on-top of the backlinks factoring. There are both pros and cons to this system which we will be discussing later on in this article. But this is one article you don’t want to miss, you will want to be ready to optimize your site to take full advantage of this system. But unlike traditional optimization this kind will not be targeted at pleasing Google but pleasing another group… a group that is much more important than Google yet sadly many times ignored.

What exactly is the Google visitor tracking and behavior factoring system(VTB factoring as I will be referring to it in the rest of this article)? Are you telling me that Google will be eliminating backlinks as a factor or replacing their value with a new factoring system based on visitors? If so how will our traffic effect our rankings and placement in Google? Why would Google use such a method?

Okay lets back up and answer one question at a time. I don’t believe there is a way to eliminate the power of the backlinks. There is no other half-way decent way to start the ranking process of a site without them. Google continues to use backlinks to rank sites and again I don’t see that changing all that much, but I do see this new tracking system having a large impact on our sites.

Now I am sure you want to know how your traffic will effect your placement in Google. The truth is I don’t rightly know, I can only speculate, however I got a good idea of how it will work and if your interested keep reading. When I write my articles I base them on facts, research I have done and my own sites. On this one I have seen evidence but not enough to prove anything yet. It is still speculation and I want everyone to understand that.

Now thats out of the way we can move along… …to the idea of visitor length factoring

We can all agree that Google has ranked less than desirable sites at the top, of course in a index of trillions of pages that is going to happen however one thing we all share in common when visiting these sites is a hasty retreat. Am I not correct? If so the perfect solution would be for Google to track visits to sites clicked while doing a search. Then track the length of the visit by determining how long the visitor stays at the site before returning to Google or perhaps they never return.
You shoul understand something however. One visitor will probably not make changes to your positions but a overall consistent statistic of visitors returning within seconds or a short period of time may tell Google your site is less than desirable. In such a scenario the webmaster will see his site drop overtime to nowhere.

That is the first part of this system or what I believe is the tracking system. The next part involves an inside man.

Inside visitor behavior factoring
Your probably wondering who this inside man is. Is it the google toolbar, or maybe it is a Google user account, or maybe a tracker placed on your computer….
Many ideas have been speculated upon. I believe only a few hold any value. The Google toolbar idea IMHO is out, the tracker placed on your computer is also out as that is a violation of privacy and could cause massive legal issues.

The Google user account is fine for tracking how long a visitor stays at a site but I see no way for it to identify what is done on a site. The only plausible way to track this would be through a tracking code placed on the site. This could be through analytics or adsense. I believe Analytics is the most probable way as it is already a tracking code. Now before you all go and burn your analytics accounts let me give you a few reasons why you should be happy about this.

If Google does indeed implement Google Analytics visitor behavior tracking it could be a massive benefit to your site. This is assuming you own a worthwhile, quality site. If this is not the case your best bet is to optimize for MSN and Yahoo! as I believe the first scenario of this system will begin to eliminate those types of sites right off.

If your site is quality and your visitors enjoy spending time there and perhaps you even get a good amount of return traffic you could greatly benefit from this system. If Google could identify this they could tell your site is well liked, so much so that your visitors even return often. Visitor activity throughout your site may also be included in this factoring. Do your visitors stay huddled at one page or do they move around? If so do they move from page to page rapidly or do they spend a considerable time at each page? What could this tell Google about your navigation?

There is another factor which I am unsure about. All of this has basically been my personal speculation but also seems very realistic to me. This last part I am unsure about or even how it would be done.

Visitor importance tracking
If such a factor existed or Google is planning its existence it would rely on the visitors importance value to decide how much of a influence there visit would cause. Again I am unsure how this would be identified. How would Google know one person is more important than another? Perhaps part of this would be based on search paths but who knows. If Google implemented such a factor and it worked it would take care of those attempting to increase there ranking by sending false traffic to their sites. Also keep in mind this isn’t just visitors reaching your site but what they do on your site and how long they spend on your site so it would be pretty hard to manipulate that without a tool or proxy. And I don’t believe Google would have a terrible time identifying that.

So if you would rather be safe than sorry design your sites with the visitors in mind. Make them easy to navigate, provide the information they are looking for and even stuff they don’t know they want. Be the first to write about the latest happenings in your industry. Do anything to get the visitors there and get them involved in your site.
Oddly enough seo have been telling webmasters to do this for a long time. It may soon be worth more than anyone every thought.

Traffic from other sources besides the search engines will suddenly become more important, I don’t understand the webmasters who aren’t taking advantage of this traffic already. Get all the traffic you can, assuming it is half-way decent. I am not talking about buying traffic, I am talking about getting traffic from real sites, real visitors that do real stuff on your site.

Again I want to emphasize that these are all my personal speculations. Please feel free to discard them. I have however seen positive evidence that such a system is in beta. There have been folks since 2003 or maybe earlier who have believed this. Perhaps Google won’t implement it fully for another couple years. I personally am not taking that risk. I create my sites so that they are useful to the visitor, provide unique information and more importantly the information the users want. If and when Google does implement this I will be ready for it.

I know I have jumped around alot in this article and maybe I didn’t do the best job of presenting what I believe to be a revolutionary idea but I think you got the idea. If you got thoughts, comments or questions please post them.

Copyright © 2007, 1st-rankings Co.
This article may NOT be redistributed in any way, shape or form. If you would like to link to the article we would appreciate it.

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3 Comments on this post


  1. digitalnomad said:

    Got my attention. Keep us posted.

    March 28th, 2007 at 5:57 pm
  2. WebGeek said:

    GReat POST! I’ve been thinking along these lines for a while now. ED AT TN38 proposed something similar in his post at: I believe this will definitely be taking place if it isn’t already. IT would make perfect sense as to why Google makes a tool like Google analytics free – so they can gather data. I think it would be a great step in factoring quality of sites. of course, any system can be gamed, but this would be much more difficult than typical black hat. I’d definitely be interested in hearing further thoughts on this topic.

    April 4th, 2007 at 11:00 pm
  3. visio said:

    Hmm I researched this but didn’t see his post before now. Interesting view on it but I must disagree. He thinks that it will be bad, I highly disagree with that. It will be a great benefit to those of us with quality sites. In such a scenario webmasters will strive to provide what the end-user wants, which in reality is what Google will want. So if you can please the visitor you have pleased Google. It will make a better Google and hence a better internet.
    I can see where some are worried that google can’t accurately decide this and will screw it. I don’t believe that. I believe they are working on it right now but won’t implement it fully until they know how it will work. Google is very good at this.

    Thanks for the link webgeek!

    April 5th, 2007 at 4:16 pm


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