Navboost: What It Is and How Google Uses It

Here at Bend Marketing, we love all things SEO. An important part of being great at SEO is understanding how search engine algorithms work. After all, mastering SEO and social media is essentially about strategically influencing these algorithms to boost visibility. That’s the game we play. For several years now, our team has suspected that user-signals (like first click, last click and longest click) on a web page plays an important factor for search rankings. The latest information validates our hypothesis, confirming the significance of these user signals.

What is Navboost?

Navboost is a Google ranking factor that was uncovered during Google’s antitrust trial with the U.S Department of Justice. The algorithm is focused on improving search results for navigation queries. It uses various signals, including user clicks, to determine the most relevant results. Navboost remembers past clicks for queries up to 13 months old and segregates results based on characteristics like localization and device type (mobile or desktop).

Navboost is also called “Glue.”

The testimony also referenced “Glue”, which is another name for Navboost but includes all other rich features on a given SERP. This system is able to aggregate all user interactions such as “clicks, hovers, scrolls, and swipes” and creates a common metric that compares search results and features.

How does Navboost affect SEO?

For SEO, Navboost emphasizes the importance of clear website navigation and a user-friendly interface. Websites that are easy to navigate and provide a smooth user experience are more likely to rank higher in search results for navigation queries. This shift requires SEO strategists to focus more on the usability and navigational aspects of their websites. Here at Bend, we work to improve websites or blogs by making sure the document/page loads fast, has unique graphics and visuals, has a table of contents for easy skimming and when appropriate includes a video to increase dwell time on page. All of this works together to boost Navboost.

Important note: Navboost is a ranking signal that can only work after searchers have clicked on a document or web page. This is very unique.


Navboost Confirmed Again in Google Search Documentation Leak

On May 27th 2024 Google search’s Internal engineering documentation was leaked and analyzed by SEO community. There are mentions to Navboost in those leaked files and it mentions that Navboost has its own module that is entirely focused on click signals representing users as voters. Their clicks are then stores as their votes.

The summary defines it as “click and impression signals for Craps,” a ranking system that considers metrics like bad clicks, good clicks, last longest clicks, unsquashed clicks, and unsquashed last longest clicks. Google’s patent on “Scoring local search results based on location prominence” explains that “squashing” prevents one large signal from dominating. This normalization ensures no single click signal can manipulate rankings.

Click-based measurements also appear in an indexing signals module, including the date of the “last good click.” This suggests that content decay is linked to a ranking page not driving the expected clicks. Users’ clicks are stored as votes, with data segmented by country and device. The system also tracks which result had the longest click during a session, implying that significant time spent on a page is crucial for ranking, even though “dwell time” isn’t explicitly mentioned.

Navboost is mentioned 84 times in the leaked documentation, with five modules featuring it in the title. Evidence shows that scoring is contemplated at the subdomain, root domain, and URL levels, indicating different site levels are treated distinctly. Despite Google not mentioning “CTR” or “dwell time” explicitly, the documentation confirms that clicks and post-click behavior are integral to its ranking algorithms.

Screenshot of these attributes or variables from the leak

Navboost: The Bottom Line

Navboost represents Google’s ongoing efforts to refine search result relevance and user experience. It highlights the growing significance of website user-friendliness in SEO strategies. As navigation becomes a key factor in search engine rankings, adapting to these changes is crucial for maintaining or improving website visibility in Google search results. If you or your business need expert SEO services or consulting that stays up with current trends and algorithm, please schedule a call today.

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