Does bounce rate affect SEO of your website or it is just a metric in Google analytics to check traffic engagement of your web pages.
According to many SEO experts low bounce rate is an indication of highly engaging website which means your website is satisfying user search intent and easy to use. Hence, Low bounce rate can improve your search ranking in SERP.
But according to John Mueller (Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google):
“I think there’s a bit of misconception here that we’re looking at things like the analytics bounce rate when it comes to ranking websites, and that’s definitely not the case.”
Which means high bounce rate is not an indication that your website is not engaging your users.
Many times, through different tweets and videos Google said that “They are not using bounce rate in Google analytics for determining the engagement of a website.”
But according to SEMrush one of the most popular SEO tool, Bounce rate is fourth strongest SEO ranking factor. This means, if your website bounce rate is low then there is a great probability that your website could perform better on SERP.
So there are two totally contradictory statements from two high authorities of the same field.
I went through many articles written by popular SEO experts and analyze both sides in an unbiased manner and finally came down on a solution.
I will discuss here point of view of both party and then make a conclusion so that you can get a clear idea about the importance of bounce rate in SEO.
Does Bounce rate affect SEO?I am sure whenever you visit analytical data of your website then one of the most eye catching metric that gather your complete attention is bounce rate in Google analytics.
Bounce rate is percentage of how many of your website visitors do not perform any further activity once they landed on your webpage.
Which means your website is not engaging your visitors to click on other pages or perform any further activity.
Now, let’s focus some bounce rate case studies:
Case – 1: Suppose you are searching for a specific product on Google. On the basis of your search term in Google search bar, you find some results on SERP. You click on the first result and visit many pages of that website but eventually you do not find your product. Now the only option that left is to click on the back button and come back on SERP and click on the other results.
In this session bounce rate is 0%.
Case – 2: Now you click on the 4th result present in SERP and you get the product that you are looking for in the first interaction. You click on the product purchase your product and then close the tab.
In this case bounce rate is comparatively high.
Now think from Google point of view which website satisfies the user search intent?
Of course, second one.
Because of Pogo sticking criteria ranking of the fourth website will improve while the website that was ranking on the first position will come down on SERP.
So, it is clear that Google is not using bounce rate as a ranking criteria. Here, Google is paying more weightage to conversion.
This is just a small example to clarify your doubt.
Let’s, move on the Case – 3:
Case – 3: Suppose you are running a blog on SEO, you are creating the most targeting page that can satisfy user search intent as per their search query. Because of low domain authority or any other reason you are ranking on the 5th position of SERP.
On the first position there is a very popular website which has both Google and user trust.
But for that particular keyword your webpage is more informative.
Generally, because of brand name users will click on the first result but they do not find the exact solution. Now, they can click on other internal page links with the hope of they will find the exact solution for their search query.
In this case, bounce rate will be very low because user is interacting with other pages of website.
Now user come back on the SERP and clicks on your link. Here, he find the exact solution and read your article and close the tab or he will change his search.
As user is interacting with only single page of your website then in this case bounce rate of your webpage for this particular interaction will be 100%.
Now think from Google point of view which website is satisfying user search intent.
Again the second one!
Case – 4: Suppose, If a web owner does not use Google analytics for his website. Under this circumstances tracking code will not be present his website source code then how google will measure bounce rate of that particular website.
So, from above case studies it is clear that Google does not use Bounce rate as a ranking factor.
Google measure the engagement of a website on the basis of activity that users perform once they interacted with a web page.
- After the interaction if users are closing their tab means website content is satisfying user search intent.
- After the interaction if users bounce back on the web page and perform other search query means website is satisfying user search intent.
- After the interaction if users came back on search engine result page and click on other links means website is not satisfying search intent.
- If in the first interaction user converted in a buying customer means website is satisfying user search intent.
There are many ways through which a web owner can easily manipulate the bounce rate of their website.
So, Google will never use any metric in their ranking factor that can easily be manipulated by the web owners or present unclear data.
I hope, now you are clear why Google not using bounce rate as a ranking factor.
Now the question is what the importance of bounce rate is and why we should lower the bounce rate of our website or web pages.
Look, bounce rate is an important Google analytics search metric. Why?
Because, through the bounce rate value you can identify those pages or those segments that are blocking your conversion funnel or not converting well respectively.
Let’s get a deeper insight.
How does bounce rate affect SEO of website?
I would like to thanks Rand Fishkin for clarifying my doubt about the importance of bounce rate SEO.
Suppose you have created a conversion funnel for your product. You notice that in your conversion funnel the bounce rate and exist rate of your pricing page is high.
Here, as you noticed that pricing page is performing with high bounce rate and very few users are not moving to the conversion page.
This is a clear indication that your pricing page is not engaging with users to make them click on the further pages.
Now, you should make some changes and check the bounce rate of your page if bounce rate if lower that earlier and users and moving forward to conversion page then it will be good for your business.
That’s why, Google added bounce rate metric in Google analytics to help in your conversion.
There is another way to use rate of bounce of your website.
Look into the following data of a website.
As you can notice here that bounce rate of new visitors is high in comparison to the returning visitors. If conversion rate with your new visitors is good then you need not to worry about your bounce rate otherwise you need to make some changes in your website so that new visitors can navigate through your funnel easily.
As you can notice here that, bounce rate is high in Australia than any other country. If Australia is important for your business then you need to take actions for improvement otherwise you can leave this geographical location.
Bounce rate for your senior audience is high. If senior citizens are your valuable audience then you need to make your page more oriented towards that age group otherwise you can simply ignore this bounce rate.
Bounce rate for your audience coming from social media is high. My be your followers on social media are not relevant or your shared links or ads not satisfying user intent that’s why there is a high bounce rate appears in this segment.
Hence, there are many segments in Google analytics observe rate of bounce of your website and optimize your web pages accordingly. If you manage your web pages in a focused way soon you will notice your website is performing me nice dwell time and browse time.
This is just a tip of the iceberg. There are many things that you can do with the help of bounce rate on Google analytics.
I hope, the topic how does bounce rate affects your SEO is clear for you.
If I summarize my article in few points then these points are:
- Google does not use bounce rate as a SEO factor because it is an unclear data and manipulative Google analytics metric.
- Bounce rate depends on type, service and product of the website.
- Bounce rate in Google analytics is a strong metric that you can use to optimize your website conversion.
- High bounce rate does not indicate that website is not engaging users.
So, next time when you open Google analytics of your website and find rate of bounce of your website is high. Don’t panic just go through the segment wise bounce rate of your website and observe.
If any valuable page, demographic, geographical location of users or other important segment is showing high bounce rate then you need to take action otherwise keep your awesome work continue.
Suppose you are running a food blog website and you notice following segment wise bounce rate for your website.
Now, what kind of actions you will take to improve your bounce rate?