What is Engagement Rank as a Search Engine Ranking Factor?
Engagement Rank is a neologism for an implied Google algorithm that is making itself known to SEO analysts worldwide. It was first acknowledged by Bruce Clay in 2012 via his purchase of the domain http://www.EngagementRank.com forwarded to BruceClay.com. In 2013, Russell Wright (former student of Bruce Clay) suggested the need for an expanded definition of Engagement Rank as several new “engagement-based” search engine ranking factors were validated in early 2013 by the Network Empire Team.
Kevin Gibbons in his Search Engine Watch article (Is Human Engagement Google’s New Ranking Factor for 2013?) provides a good starter-list of likely factors that Google will take into account when determining the Engagement Rank of a website or page:
High Engagement Rank factors are probably awarded to content that is:
- Entertaining (Added by Network Empire)
- First (Original or Novel)
- Prepared to adapt (Early Warning or Futurist – added by Network Empire)
Kevin Gibbon goes on to suggest some specific proprietary algorithmic factors. These are a part of what we suggested should be grouped as Engagement Rank:
If a user hits your content from Google, then bounces straight back out, that’s not a good sign. Obviously, you want your content to engage and resonate with your audience.
A good link should have the ability to send traffic from a targeted audience. If a link can drive leads, it’s a good link! Any SEO value is a bonus.
Are people sharing your content via social channels?
Who wrote the content? Are they an authoritative writer or influencer within your niche?
Additional Engagement Rank Factors Predicted by the Network Empire Team:
Bounce rate (as described above) is not specific enough to reveal the full impact of Engagement Rank on the new web. TOS or Time on Site is perhaps a more important factor. But to reduce Engagement Rank to the simplest common denominator – it is necessary only to look at Youtube as an effective ranking factor in our tests throughout 2013.
Youtube as a Ranking Wild Card in 2013
Throught 2012 and 2013 we have noticed that Youtube has been a “wild card” and in many cases a get out of jail free card in many instances of SEO – when properly used. It makes sense that videos and especially Youtube videos would get unfair ranking factor. The reason for this should be obvious.
1. Google owns Youtube.
2. They are ramping up the largest ever adwords system called video adwords.
3. They can insert these ads directly under any and every video about any topic engaging any viewer within the global pool of over 1.8 billion viewers.
4. When a video is included on an html page (or any kind of page for that matter) time on page and therefore time on site increase by thousands of percents.
5. This engagement time is increased even when a video is placed on a so-called “Spam” or “auto-generated” web page which begs the questions “If a video plays on an autoblogged spam page, engaging the viewer for several minutes, is it STILL SPAM? Hint: My answer is “no”, and so is Google’s based on the ease with which they rank pages with their own Youtube videos and html pages that embed them.
6. Pages with Youtube video embedded within them get indexed via the Google sitemap technology very easily. Even by the tens of thousands.
7. Youtube has become a MASSIVE Domain Authority like no other because of the increased engagement it provides to all external website via Youtube iframes.
Additional Factors Added to the Engagement Rank Algorithm:
In order to improve upon our Socially Active, Semantic-Web Integrated, One Web Ring, One Feed, Multi-Media, Interactive, Perpetual Downstream, Personal Broadcasting and Traffic System, Network Empire team tested several ranking factors combined with Youtube and other video platforms. In the process of researching video ranking factors as well as the interplay between Youtube and Google proper, we discovered some new elements that probably need to be taken into consideration as beneficial.
Time on Site (Not Just Bounce Rate)
Bounce rate is a great indicator but time on site is obviously more important to Google because when you follow the money, that is what it is about/ The longer the time on site, the more time Google has to engage more people with more videos exposing them to more video ads as described in the last section. This is where the money is – long term branding and engagement.
– Number of Views, Interactive Likes and View/Engagement Time for Specific Videos Hosted Directly on Youtube
It is entirely possible that the number of views a video has received directly on Youtube may become a Ranking Factor for that video and/or the indexed html page that contains that embedded video. In fact, it is entirely possible that this is aready a ranking factor. This would explain many of the ranking anamolies we have seen.
– Number of Times Embedded on Other Websites Outside of the Youtube Environment
When a Youtube video is embedded on a high number of external websites, this redirects Domain Authority to the Youtube page containing the video. But something else may be happening that you can really USE. I realize it is a huge claim, but we currently theorize that it may be true: When you embed a popular video that has already been proven to attract high engagement time – it may actually help rank your html page, blop post or page.