Bounce Rate and SEO Rankings


Bounce Rate and SEO are thought to go hand in hand. However, SEO rankings are not influenced by bounce rate.

Your Website Sucks!! I’m outta here!!

Bounce Rate and SEO go hand and hand. Also, it’s pretty standard to push for a low bounce rate as engagement strategies. In most cases, this is the right strategy. However, it is not always the right strategy.

Here’s an example to ponder…

Tutorial Website–with a goal of converting users to email subscribers to build loyalty. 

Here are the Metrics:  Good or Bad?

  •  Bounce Rate of 74%
  •  Average Time on Site is 5:20
  •  30% Conversion Rate to email news letter signups
  •  53% of Users are return users

Sound like a pretty successful website. You are right. So why the high bounce rate?

The high bounce rate is caused because the loyalty program signup button is not tracked on Google Analytics. So even though the main conversion occurs on the site, no information is sent to GA which equals a bounce. Guide to Track Button Clicks

When is a High Bounce Rate Acceptable?

From most perspectives, high bounce rate equals a failure to engage. This is not always the truth. Content websites with a percentage of users typically have a high bounce rate. Users come for the new content and leave.

Traditional Ways to Look at a Website

High Bounce Rate = Bad Website

Low Bounce Rate = Good Website

The Right Perspective

High Conversion + Loyalty + Recency + Page Value + Authority + Content= Good Website

Let’s breakdown what a bounce actually is.

Bounce Rate by Google

According to Google, a bounce is when a user enters a page and didn’t interact with the page during that particular visit. So, a bounce can be any of the following “non-interactions”:

  • Clicking an external link
  • Not clicking anything on the page but spending a ton of time reading it
  • Enjoying the content, sharing it and being satisfied.

What is an interaction and should you actually care if you are answering the user’s query? Should you be designing content that leads to deeper clickthrough into the website? Should you use irritating techniques such as pagination to force the bounce rate down? The answer to this is yes, yes, and super no. Keep your design and content focused on user experience and not pleasing the search engine.

Bounce Rate is a single metric that is based on click stream data. So…

No clicks on the page equals a Bounce.

Does Bounce Rate affect Rankings?

Google wants to answer the searchers’ query. If you leave the page only to browse through the search results again. The Google algorithm views this action as the user was on unable to satisfy their query.  This is known as “pogosticking”

Pogosticking is a ranking factor not bounce rate.

Event Tracking, Universal Analytics and Bounce Rate Tricks

Event tracking is a way to send data to Google Analytics and a record of actions you consider important. If data is received, the visit will not be counted as bounce. You can set up any event you like such as mouse overs, downloads and even when people leave the website.  Universal Analytics allows for the user to count external links as an event, thus killing the high bounce rates.

Tricks to lower the bounce rate

Pagination is a cheap trick to record tons of events. This is not always a valid practice. In the case of pagination, you can provide the user with a break or to organize content in to digestible chunks and .

It may be done, how does this actually feel to the user that they are forced to search through ads and advertising to find the a button that allows them to see the next page of information that should be displayed on a single page.

When Bounce Rate Matters?

(Low Time on Site + High Bounce Rate) = Bad User Experience, Technology issues or Bad Strategy

Don’t ignore this metric.  Maybe your technology sucks. No matter how well you design a page or how informative it is, it will only succeed if it can’t be loaded quickly or viewed on a mobile device. Bad technology forces people to hit the back button and continue their exploration in the search results.

To see if your technology sucks in the eye’s of Google, try going to the page speed insight page to test your user experience. The results will present you some recommendations.

To evaluate your website speed issues, use the tool by

Bounce Rate and SEO Acquisition Strategy

Ensure that the right traffic is been driven to the page. Evaluate the keywords that are in delivering people to that  page. If the content answers the users’ query, this may end in a bounce. Think about what additional value you can add to heighten their experience and gain a deeper click.

Gaelim Holland

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