Is Bounce Rate a Google Ranking Factor?

Either Way, You Should Pay Attention to it

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Bounce rates are a metric that may become more of a factor as SEOs struggle with the ever-changing world of SERPs, which some are predicting to be become much more personalized over the coming year. As discussed in an interview with Mike McDonald (video below), big name SEO Bruce Clay notes that going forward, SEOs are going to have to look at analytics, measure traffic, bounce rates, action, etc., and ask themselves questions like did I get the conversion I was after?

A post today from SEO Black Hat seems to indicate that bounce rates are already a significant factor in ranking. They provide the following screenshots showing Google Analytics data for a "white hat" site (click any of them to view the larger versions at SEO Black Hat:

Overall Traffic

Google traffic
Google Traffic

bounce rates
Bounce Rates

Hmm. See any correlation there? "This is exactly the pattern you would expect from a program designed to flush out terms with higher bounce rates and test them across other sties," writes the post’s author QuadsZilla. "Moreover, this isn’t the first time I’ve recognized this pattern, it happens every 2-3 months on average." Quadzilla then notes the absence of any such information in Google’s SEO starter guide, but points to a few cluews in the Analytics support page.

So, maybe bounce rates are something that you should be worried about. In all honesty, you should’ve been worried about them anyway, if nothing more than to keep people at your site. Nevermind if they got there through Google. The following video from SES a few months back goes over some Bounce rate information as Mike talks to Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics: An Hour a Day, and Google Analytics group manager Brett Crosby.

Jason Miller offers some additonal insight based on the video, and Quadzilla is promising some tips on reducing bounce rates in the future.

Is Bounce Rate a Google Ranking Factor?
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  • http://www.speedreaderxreview.com Peter

    Thanks for this good post. Yes, I do believe that bounce rate is a factor, and I’ve been looking into ways to increase it. Now my website is a bit over 50%…

  • http://www.raycreationsindia.com/ Web Designer India

    I wish we knew for sure if bounce rate was considered for high SERPs or not. I would make life so much easier.

  • http://www.tpdesigns.net TP Designs – Bay Area Websites

    The previous commenter is correct in noticing that the bounce rate decreases in that graph when the traffic decreases. However if Google was truly penalizing the site in those hi-bounce keyword searches, then the result would be a lowering of overall bounce rate because you’d lose those hi-bounce hits altogether. The visitors wouldn’t even hit the site to bounce off. Impossible to tell if that’s happening though, without more information.

  • http://www.braquedubourbonnais.info/fr/nom-chien.htm Nom d’un chien

    But the bouce rate is not taken into account when computing the PR, right?

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    Hmm. See any correlation there? “This is exactly the pattern you would expect from a program designed to flush out terms with higher bounce rates and test them across other sties,” writes the post’s author QuadsZilla. “Moreover, this isn

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    I want to say thank you for this great video! Very nice…

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  • http://www.carhirefaroairport.com/ Guest

    I think bounce rate would be a much better way to measure pagerank than incoming links. Anybody can manipulate a website to have a lot of inbound links if they have the time, but they can’t keep users on the page if the quality is poor

    • http://www.harleytourism.com/uzbekistan-hotels/uzbekistan-hotels.shtml harleytourism

      I will be the happiest person on earth the day Google start giving importance to Bounce rate because we offer the best Prices and Greatest discounts on Hotel Rates on Uzbekistan hotels Prices. We have very high bounce rate and suffer because we are new and have low Back Links. Which i agree with the writer can be done by any body but in bounce only the true contents would win.

  • http://softouchseo.com Search Engine Optimization Springfield Missouri

    why wouldn’t it be a massive ranking factor? If people are coming to your site and not finding the content they need, and subsequently leaving your site…you should have a decrease in ranking

  • http://www.harleytourism.com/uzbekistan-hotels/uzbekistan-hotels.shtml harleytourism

    How can I check Bounce rate on My Site?

    • http://www.seoservicesplus.ca SEO Services Plus

      To check bounce rate you need to register for Google Analytics and add the code to your site. You will then get like its names suggests all sorts of metrics and analytics including bounce rate.

  • Guest

    My site gets lots of hits (and bounces) because of Google image searches–we have a rich glossary of technical terms with diagrams — these visits amount to bounces as this is the only page of the site those visitors look at. Would you surmise that this is hurting our SERPs??

  • raul

    Because of this criteria my site “fall overnight” from 3-4 average position to 70 ! after a little optimization now according to analytics on 20 . I unistall analytics !

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