NavBoost in Google’s Search Algorithm

I’ve been reading in my spare time of late various summaries of “leaked” Google search API information. It’s been interesting to note a lot of this basically affirms the stance I and my colleagues at Silicon Dales have taken to SEO in the past 10-15 years, specifically affirming our take that we focus on delivering excellent user experiences, with technically sound SEO basics, but without overly focussing on aggressive search engine ranking tactics.

I came across this term “NavBoost” in documents like this one and wanted to summarize this concept for myself and my colleagues, in order to have somewhere to point to when we discuss this odd concept… that is the purpose of this blog post. Feel free to comment underneath or share a link to this yourself!

NavBoost, as described in the leaked documents, appears to be a significant component of Google’s search algorithm focused on measuring and rewarding user engagement. Here are the key points regarding NavBoost:

  1. User Engagement Measurement:
    • NavBoost is fundamentally a tool to assess user engagement with search results.
    • It tracks how users interact with search results, particularly focusing on clicks and impressions.
  2. Rewarding High-Performing Documents:
    • The concept of NavBoost revolves around rewarding documents (web pages) that generate more and better clicks than expected.
    • If a document performs better in terms of user engagement compared to the expected baseline, it gets a boost in rankings.
  3. Handling SERP Changes:
    • Given that the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is constantly changing, NavBoost has mechanisms to measure click performance fairly.
    • Initial data collection occurs during rollout phases of SERP changes.
    • Averages and approximations are used to estimate the quality of results in the absence of concrete data.
    • Live data is recorded to provide real-time estimates of a result’s quality.
  4. Integration with Other Signals:
    • NavBoost data is often integrated with on-page factors (like content quality) and link factors (like inbound links) to form a comprehensive assessment.
    • The performance metrics from NavBoost contribute to the overall ranking signals of a document within a site.
  5. Impact on Demotion Mechanisms:
    • NavBoost is tied to the broader context of Google’s demotion mechanisms.
    • For example, documents that underperform in terms of user engagement may be subject to demotions like NavDemotion, where a page’s relative weight within a site decreases due to lower than expected clicks or impressions.
  6. Practical Implications for SEO:
    • Ensuring high user engagement is crucial. This involves creating compelling, relevant, and user-friendly content.
    • Pages that attract and retain user clicks are likely to benefit from NavBoost, leading to higher rankings.
    • Conversely, pages with poor engagement metrics may suffer in terms of visibility and ranking.


NavBoost is essentially a user engagement metric that Google uses to evaluate and rank web pages. By focusing on the quality and quantity of clicks and impressions a page receives, Google aims to promote content that provides a better user experience. For SEOs, this underscores the importance of not only driving traffic to their pages but also ensuring that the content is engaging and valuable to users.

About Robin Scott

I'm Robin Scott, a WordPress Consultant and WooCommerce expert developer who, along with three other people, runs a business called Silicon Dales Ltd remotely, from a base in the North of the UK. I enjoy using my talents for programming to track and interpret sporting, political or retail data - and therefore you'll see me posting some content in these spaces in this, my personal website. If you're interested to talk about leveraging this for your business (in sport, entertainment, retail, etc) please contact me.

Leave a comment