Do you check the performance of your website on Google Analytics? Do you get a regular report from your SEO company in Auckland that includes a range of different metrics? In both situations, you have probably encountered the term bounce rate.
What is bounce rate, what is the impact on your website, and is bounce rate important to SEO?
What Is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is a measure of the percentage of visitors who bounce from your website. A website bounce occurs when someone visits your website but only views one page. In other words, that visitor only has a single engagement with your website before they leave.
Importantly, a website bounce and, therefore, bounce rate, has nothing to do with the time visitors spend on your website. Time spent on your website is known as session duration. It’s another important metric you can use to evaluate the performance of your website, but session duration is different to bounce rate.
What is the Impact of Bounce Rate on SEO?
Most SEO experts believe bounce rates are important to Google. In other words, a high bounce rate might negatively affect your website. Not always of course (more on that later), but it could.
Before going any further, it’s important to clarify the above.
This is because representatives from Google have said in the past that the Google algorithm doesn’t use bounce rate directly to determine the ranking of a page. In other words, Google’s search algorithm doesn’t look at the bounce rate percentage. So, strictly speaking, bounce rate is not a direct ranking signal.
But, and it is a big but, Google is concerned about user experience. In fact, it is very concerned about user experience.
Google wants the people it sends to your website to find what they are looking for. It uses many indicators and methods of validation to check this. Bounce rate is highly likely to play a part in that consideration.
So, while Google may not look specifically at the bounce rate figure, it does use a range of factors to determine user experience. Bounce rate almost certainly plays a role in this.
Improving User Experience
Taking the above a stage further, the main advice Google gives to website owners is to constantly work to improve user experience.
For most businesses, this means getting people interested enough in the content on your website that they stay there for a while, looking at various pages and, ideally, taking an action that is directly beneficial to your business, i.e. buying a product, signing up for your newsletter, completing a contact form, etc.
If you have a high bounce rate, maybe you are not doing as well on the above as you would like.
Also, a high bounce rate could be an indicator of other problems on your website that are directly related to SEO. Examples include slow page loading speeds or poor-quality mobile experience.
High Bounce Rates Are Not Always Bad
It’s also important to understand that a high bounce rate is not always a bad thing. This is likely to be the reason that Google doesn’t use it as a direct signal for determining search engine rankings.
Take your contact page as an example. Let’s say someone enters into Google search your brand name and “phone number”. In other words, this is someone who wants to find your telephone number to call your business. In this situation, a bounce rate of 100 percent would not necessarily be a bad thing.