SEO Glossary: User Signals

In a nutshell: What are user signals?

User signals are sent directly to search engines and refer to the type of usage while a user is on a website. Depending on their quality, they can potentially have a positive or negative impact on the ranking of a website.


What are User Signals?

Fully translated, user signals are as much as user signals. They are an important part of search engine optimization and are generated while a user is on a website. Meanwhile, major search engines such as Google are quite capable of accurately recognizing and subsequently evaluating various user signals. This makes it all the more important to pay attention to this point.


The goal of search engines is to determine the relevance and quality of individual search results based on user signals. Thus, it is obvious that the user signals are one of many ranking factors and influence the position of a website in the SERPs have.


In a free SEO strategy talk, we uncover untapped potential and develop a strategy to help you become more successful on Google. 


What are the different types of user signals?

A look at the user signals shows that there are different signal types. They will be discussed in the following:


  • Bounce rate: This is the bounce rate. If the bounce rate is high, this can be a clear sign of faulty technology (e.g. long loading times) or poor content. If you have a high bounce rate, you should urgently get to the bottom of the cause. But it is not necessarily a negative indication.
  • Time on Site: How long does a user stay on a website? This can be seen from the dwell time, also known as time on site. It is given in hours, minutes and seconds. The longer users are on your website, the more interesting your content is.
  • Return-to-SERP rate (RTS rate): How many users click on a page in the SERPs and return directly afterwards? This is precisely what can be seen from the Return-To-SERP rate. If the rate is glaringly high, search engines conclude from this that users may not find what they were actually looking for. This could be, for example, poorly relevant, thin content, or faulty technology.
  • CLICK-THROUGH-RATE (CTR): When a website appears in the SERPs, a certain percentage of users click on the result. The corresponding relationship between impressions and actual clicks can be seen in the CTR. From this, search engines can recognize whether or not the user's need was fulfilled in the snippet. The same applies to advertisements in the SERPs.


Why are user signalle so important for the search engine?

In SEO circles they user signals are discussed again and again. Consequently, there are different opinions here as to what extent the user signals have an influence on the rankings. Because it is not always exactly clear that the user signals are a clear signal of how good the quality of a content really is.


In the meantime, however, search engines such as Google are able to compare several values with each other. If, for example, a website stands out due to a high RTS rate, other metrics are also determined and included. This makes it easier to determine whether, for example, the content is of inferior quality or the user signals have a technical cause.


I am known from big media such as Stern, GoDaddy, Onpulson & breakfast television and have already worked with over 100+ well-known clients successful on Google. 

Google rating

Based on 185 reviews

Trustpilot rating

Based on 100 reviews


Conclusion: What are user signals?

The sensitivity of search engines is improving all the time. They are now able to recognize user signals very well and evaluate them accordingly. It is therefore all the more important for SEOs and webmasters to always keep an eye on individual factors such as CTRRTS or dwell time. Accordingly, they can get to the bottom of the cause to improve the affected values. This can optimize the user signals, which can result in a better ranking.

Table of contents:

Table of Contents

Share the post

SEO Glossary

More glossary articles

Further contributions

Interesting blog articles

Specht GmbH: Your SEO & SEA specialists

Secure your free strategy meeting now