Bounce Rate now used by Google as a Ranking Signal?

30 replies
  • SEO
  • |
Hi,

I recently read an article on another site (web pro news) where they speculated that bounce rate of pages is now becoming a major part of the ranking algorithm.

They also provide the quote from search metrics that "loser sites are sites with a high bounce rate and a less time on site ratio. Price comparison sites are nothing more than a search engine for products. If you click on a product you 'bounce' to the merchant. So if you come from Google to ciao.co.uk listing page, than you click on an interesting product with a good price and you leave the page. On Voucher sites it is the same. And on content farms like ehow you read the article and mostly bounce back to Google or you click Adsense."

It appears this is a real fall out of Panda.

if this is so it appears that people who use automated software to post articles and comments which are meant just for links, but may also have people click on them and as the anchor text may not match the visitors expectations, high bounce rates occur - which according to this theory could seriously negatively impact on ranking.

Does anyone think or has anyone seen this negative feedback cycle at work?
#bounce #google #ranking #rate #signal
  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    I think they would take into account whether people are using the links on the site itself, or just hitting the 'Back' button.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3863639].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author hurn
    Yes it should be considered because if bounce rate is high targeted visitors don't like to that page.
    Signature
    247 Techies listed in crunchbase.com as a reputed online tech support company in US.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3864082].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author packjack
    They also compare the bounce rates of similar sites like if all voucher sites have high bounce rate then it sends signal to Google that its ok for voucher sites to have high bounce rate.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3865559].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by packjack View Post

      They also compare the bounce rates of similar sites like if all voucher sites have high bounce rate then it sends signal to Google that its ok for voucher sites to have high bounce rate.
      Really? How do you know this? Seems pretty freaking far fetched to me.
      Signature
      SEO, AdWords Management, Social Media Marketing, and more.
      Get a FREE Quote.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867308].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ann1986
    off course if the people searching are getting irrelevant results then google would drop you to another universe. If your website is about law and your trying to rank for a health keyword then a person is using google and clicked your site and found out its irrelevant then they would leave right away.

    And also google do have manual reviewers
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3865588].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author aygabtu
      I fully support rewarding sites with great bounce rates! My main site has a bounce rate of 8%, time on site of 45 minutes, and 26 page views per user.

      Why shouldn't I get rewarded for people using and loving my site compared to another that may have been around longer, have better SEO or relevant sitename, but the usefulness to the user is far less?
      Signature

      Check top 300 Google SERP results free. WhatsMySERP.com tracks and graphs changes for multiple domains/keywords/regions. Also includes advanced keyword density tool.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3865734].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author proximate
    Bounce rate is bound to become an ever increasing factor. The longer the eyeball is measured on the page the more valuable the backlink will be.

    This is why full article blog posts will always get more Google juice than profiles or spammy comments.
    Signature

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3866001].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    Thats funny... I have a site with an 89% bounce rate, ranking #1 on a 180K exact match search per month. I have another site somewhere on page 2, with an 18% bounce rate. I seriously doubt bounce rate has much to do with anything at the moment. Even if it did, how are they going to calculate unless google analytics is installed... they already are facing hell with the whole legal system of tracking users and declaring it an invasion of privacy.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3866058].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author TSDMike
      It really doesn't make sense for a couple of reasons.

      Using the bounce rate to determine a site's relevancy is fallacious. Simply put, most websites get a lot of untargeted traffic. That isn't the fault of the website itself - you really don't have much control over who visits your site, just like you don't have any control over who links to your site.

      For example, I once had a sports blog and a popular columnist posted a link to one of my articles one day. All of a sudden, I got 1000+ visitors over the course of a couple days. That was to be expected - but you know what else spiked? The bounce rate for my site. Seriously, should that be a determining factor of where my content is placed in the SERPS for specific keywords?

      The Time on Site argument also fails for similar reasons. The evolution of tabbed browsing basically ends the discussion right there. Furthermore, smaller, niche type sites are certainly going to have a lower TOS average than Amazon.com. Or consider content on a blog vs. a forum. People spend way more time on forums and other membership sites than on individual blogs.

      It's not fair to essentially punish sites whose visitors spend less time on-page. SERP placement should be based on the relevancy of the keyword to the content of the page.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3866494].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author aygabtu
        Originally Posted by TSDMike View Post

        It really doesn't make sense for a couple of reasons.

        Using the bounce rate to determine a site's relevancy is fallacious. Simply put, most websites get a lot of untargeted traffic. That isn't the fault of the website itself - you really don't have much control over who visits your site, just like you don't have any control over who links to your site.

        For example, I once had a sports blog and a popular columnist posted a link to one of my articles one day. All of a sudden, I got 1000+ visitors over the course of a couple days. That was to be expected - but you know what else spiked? The bounce rate for my site. Seriously, should that be a determining factor of where my content is placed in the SERPS for specific keywords?

        The Time on Site argument also fails for similar reasons. The evolution of tabbed browsing basically ends the discussion right there. Furthermore, smaller, niche type sites are certainly going to have a lower TOS average than Amazon.com. Or consider content on a blog vs. a forum. People spend way more time on forums and other membership sites than on individual blogs.

        It's not fair to essentially punish sites whose visitors spend less time on-page. SERP placement should be based on the relevancy of the keyword to the content of the page.

        How can you argue that TOS and Bounce rate don't matter? Seriously? Time on site isn't about how long someone keeps your page in their browser window. There has to be activity otherwise that visit ends. If the user comes back to a tab opened on your site 6 hours later it doesn't count as a 6 hour visit, it counts as two separate visits.

        Bounce rate is another perfect way to measure your sites relevance, importance, and content. I am so tired of seeing these crap sites spamming the same content or irrelevant content but with the right search terms you are looking for.

        If you have a quality site, I don't care where you get your eyeballs, your bounce rate will be low and your time on site will be higher than a competitor than doesn't, period. Should it be the only measure? No. But what the heck other measures show that people that come to your site like the content more than bounce rate and time on site?

        As far as your last statement that 'SERP placement should be based on the relevancy of the keyword to the content of the page', we have all seen this manipulated over and over again and google's algorithms keep changing to keep up.

        What is more of a true indication of a site's value to user than the activity of the users themselves????
        Signature

        Check top 300 Google SERP results free. WhatsMySERP.com tracks and graphs changes for multiple domains/keywords/regions. Also includes advanced keyword density tool.

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867228].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author sguirguis
        Originally Posted by TSDMike View Post

        It really doesn't make sense for a couple of reasons.

        Using the bounce rate to determine a site's relevancy is fallacious. Simply put, most websites get a lot of untargeted traffic. That isn't the fault of the website itself - you really don't have much control over who visits your site, just like you don't have any control over who links to your site.

        For example, I once had a sports blog and a popular columnist posted a link to one of my articles one day. All of a sudden, I got 1000+ visitors over the course of a couple days. That was to be expected - but you know what else spiked? The bounce rate for my site. Seriously, should that be a determining factor of where my content is placed in the SERPS for specific keywords?

        The Time on Site argument also fails for similar reasons. The evolution of tabbed browsing basically ends the discussion right there. Furthermore, smaller, niche type sites are certainly going to have a lower TOS average than Amazon.com. Or consider content on a blog vs. a forum. People spend way more time on forums and other membership sites than on individual blogs.

        It's not fair to essentially punish sites whose visitors spend less time on-page. SERP placement should be based on the relevancy of the keyword to the content of the page.
        I have to disagree with your logic. First, if they do count bouce rate as a factor, I don't think Google would calculate any bounce rate from traffic sources that are not from google. They don't know the quality of traffic coming from other sources. So I agree on that point. But if I were Google, I would count the bounce rate of the traffic I send for a given key phrase. So if Google ranks a site for the term Cat Food and Google sees that the people who click site #2 for Cat Food bounce out using the back button to search for another site, then I could see Google interpreting that as the visitor did not find what they were looking for. Mind you, they may just be site shopping and need to see a few more sites before making a decision.

        So I'm guessing they would need to take into consideration the average bounce rate of other sites and also their ranking. The site in the #1 position is most likely to get the highest bounce rate since it'll get the happy clickers first. So google would also have to create an algorithm that takes into account other site's bounce rate and the position of the site into consideration. Also, whether the visitor did come back to the site after they've looked at other sites in the search results.

        Do they have the resource to do that across the board? I think we're only speculating at this time.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867484].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

      Thats funny... I have a site with an 89% bounce rate, ranking #1 on a 180K exact match search per month. I have another site somewhere on page 2, with an 18% bounce rate. I seriously doubt bounce rate has much to do with anything at the moment. Even if it did, how are they going to calculate unless google analytics is installed... they already are facing hell with the whole legal system of tracking users and declaring it an invasion of privacy.
      It's a ranking signal, not the ranking signal.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3866968].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author paulgl
        It's a ranking signal, no doubt. But when there are at least
        99 things before one gets to that one, it's gotta be pretty low.
        All of these ranking items need to be put in perspective. If everyone actually
        concentrated on the ones that google emphasizes, this forum would be
        pretty boring. And people would not have time to get to the 99th item
        on the list.

        Even google would have to put the bounce rate into perspective.
        Like on adsense sites. They want people to clickout, stay, and buy.

        And they certainly would not be able to measure it effectively in all
        cases, nor would they ever be able to. The resources to keep track of
        that stat would be huge, even for google. It's a very low level item.

        Concentrate on "The" ranking signal(s).

        Paul
        Signature

        If you were disappointed in your results today, lower your standards tomorrow.

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867107].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bigcat1967
    I have a site with an 89% bounce rate, ranking #1 on a 180K exact match search per month. I have another site somewhere on page 2, with an 18% bounce rate.
    I tend to agree. The panda rollout was to really focus on content farms and sites that had very little content.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3866816].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bijaya
    Bounce rate have been one of the 200+ factors of Google algorithm from last few years, but after the Panda update, its percentage of importance in deciding the ranking of a site might have increased.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867144].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author divahotcouture
    yes you are right, when a visitor open your site then google check that how much time visitor spent upon your site and this factor effect your site ranking
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867263].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author noble
    Don't know if its true or not but if I were G I would use it as part of my algorithm. If a person opens a site and sees its garbage and closes it right away (on a regular basis) as compared to a person who stays and browses through 2-5 pages and spends 15 minutes reading on your site logic would state that site is higher quality and should rank higher.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867289].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    If bounce rate ever became a major negative ranking factor people would blast bots at eachother's sites that would visit the site for 3 seconds and leave.

    On the flip side of that, while I doubt Google would ever consider ranking sites lower simply because of a high bounce rate, I could see them rewarding sites with exceptional bounce rates.

    But it still would be a low ranking factor. People could take advantage of this too and create bots to visit their sites and spend hours on them.
    Signature
    SEO, AdWords Management, Social Media Marketing, and more.
    Get a FREE Quote.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867340].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author chasnsx
    Bounce rate has little relevance -- at least right now, but that may be changing. I've been tracking a competitor who has a site similar to mine. His bounce rate is nearly 80%, mine is around 60%. My time on site averages 3-4 minutes, and his is about a minute. I average 3-4 pageviews per visitor, and he averages 1.5.

    However, I still cannot get past him for the keywords I am targeting.

    With that said, his Alexa rank has been dropping in the past few weeks, and mine has been rising. So we shall see.....
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867369].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author paulgl
      Originally Posted by chasnsx View Post

      Bounce rate has little relevance --

      With that said, his Alexa rank has been dropping in the past few weeks, and mine has been rising. So we shall see.....
      LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      If bounce rate is low level, where does alexa go?
      Hint: alexa has no relevance.

      Paul
      Signature

      If you were disappointed in your results today, lower your standards tomorrow.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867397].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author aygabtu
      Originally Posted by chasnsx View Post

      Bounce rate has little relevance -- at least right now, but that may be changing. I've been tracking a competitor who has a site similar to mine. His bounce rate is nearly 80%, mine is around 60%. My time on site averages 3-4 minutes, and his is about a minute. I average 3-4 pageviews per visitor, and he averages 1.5.

      However, I still cannot get past him for the keywords I am targeting.

      With that said, his Alexa rank has been dropping in the past few weeks, and mine has been rising. So we shall see.....
      Alexa info is irrelevant. They are so far off on TOS, bounce rate, and people coming from search it is ridiculous! It is also easy to inflate Alexa. While I do look at the stats, I put very little importance on them.
      Signature

      Check top 300 Google SERP results free. WhatsMySERP.com tracks and graphs changes for multiple domains/keywords/regions. Also includes advanced keyword density tool.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867874].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author sunnychakes
    If by chance any visitor would come to your site through any irrelevant link chance is there that he would leave the page or click the back button, and this should take into consideration as one of the main reasons of your bounce rate. Of course this could have a negative impact on your site ranking.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867379].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author NastyBlast
    Originally Posted by Bruce99 View Post

    I recently read an article on another site (web pro news) where they speculated that bounce rate of pages is now becoming a major part of the ranking algorithm.
    a low bounce rate is critical to all websites success for individual keyword terms. this factor leads to a larger factor in judging a websites relevance to a particular keyword term. If someone types in a search for "red cars" Google presents them with a list of results. If a person hits position #1 and bounces off it immediately and goes to position #2 and spends 3 hours there that is a clear indication that result #2 is a better match for the keyword search "red cars".

    The larger issues that this leads to is the rating of a sites relevance and quality to any keyword search term.

    this is not a new factor, however with the release of panda this factor may have increased in importance. Actually it is a very old factor one that you have been able to monitor in Google analytics for as long as they have offered it.

    We already know that Google is measuring the bounce rate on the site how many pages viewed and numerous other factors that give feedback from every user Google can observe. It is really quite simple in the end. Take a small strip mall with 10 stores in it for example. Each store is a furniture store and people are dropped off on the Google bus to the strip mall after having entered a search for "furniture stores". after a few hours the Google bus picks people up and measures how much time they spent in each store. if shoppers took one look inside a store and left - that would be the same as a bounce. If they spend longer inside the store that will be measured, if they spend even longer inside another store that will be measured. Whoever comes out with the best scores will ascend in the rankings.

    Google has been monitoring the activities of users for about a decade now starting with the Google toolbar in which they measured every click to a site how many clicks people spent on it and with that they can determine how much time was spent on a certain site.

    I am not sure why some people are arguing that this is unsubstantiated or far-fetched. We know Google has done this in the past and that they continue to do in the present and with that established I see no reason for them to stop in the future.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867392].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author sojibrahman
    i think it wiil not helpful for use.because there have many web page where the main content visitor find there topic or anything with targeting keyword.if they find there target topic they don't need visit another page to view.So this page make a high bounce rate.But this web page help a visitor.so what is right for google? Helping a visitor or bounce rate?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3867590].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MarathonMan
    For your ponderance -

    Google DOES NOT KNOW the TOS or bounce rate of your site (minus people who go directly back to Google) unless you run Google Analytics.

    Therefore, if they click on a link or close the tab right away, Google CAN'T know. They're not Big Brother yet.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3868821].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author chasnsx
    Alexa might not be good for much, but: Does anyone know of an easy to use, free tool that will help you ascertain, estimate, or guesstimate a competitor's traffic volume, or whether it is trending upward or downward?

    Come to that, what other tool tells you or purports to tell you what keywords your competitors are using to get their traffic?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3868967].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author WilliamBerg
    Bounce rate as a quality signal is very flawed because a high bounce rate can indicate a bad site but also a very good site. If the site quickly offers the person the info he wants it is a good site and he might be ready to leave after 10 seconds, On another site he might have to look to find the relevant info and spend two minutes there. Which site is a better match for that query? The one with the higher bounce rate because it quickly gives the user what he wants and he has no need to stay around.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3869272].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author SEOpsychic
    i know google will start/started using analytics data to help/mess with their ranking algo but haven't experienced anything just yet. my sites' rankings have not changed.
    Signature



    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3869373].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author eguynth
    I dont think so!
    If google really does take it to account, every panda should die for this ridiculous update.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3869395].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jolinepenniman
    yah, i think this would be a problem to take into consideration. is there any change to not use google analytic and webmaster tool to avoid this?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3870687].message }}

Trending Topics