David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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Do Bounce Rates Really Count?

Do Google and Yahoo include bounce rates in their algorithms?  Ever since I released Sticky SEO, it seems there has been a growing debate on whether bounce rates factor into search engine algorithms, or even whether they should in the future.  I think you know where I stand; they probably already do to some degree and they surely will count for much more in the future.  And not just bounce rates, but various other user activities.

I seems that my view is not universally held, but there is a robust debate on this topic.

Some people feel that there really is not a definition of what a bounce is, so that makes it difficult to determine bounce rates.  That just means the search engines have to define what a bounce is, and I gave them some tips here.

Some people feel that a high bounce rate is a good thing –  the person found quickly what he wants and returns to search for something else.  To quote one observer on Sphinn: “If the page is highly relevant to what the searcher is specifically looking for, they can get their info and leave without going to any further pages – fully satisfied. A Big vote for relevance.”

On the other hand, some people feel that if Google is now using bounce rates to rank its PPC ads, why would it not use that same information in its organic listings?

Others have argued that it would be too easy to send robots to the competitions’ websites and create a lot of fake bounces.

This issue is certainly not over, but I simply cannot see the search engines ignoring what I believe is the ultimate measurement of customer satisfaction.  There is no way that a quick return to the search engine is a good thing.  At best it is neutral, if someone is doing research and visiting numerous websites.  But in that case all top-ranking sites would have their bounce rates affected equally, so there would be no disadvantage resulting for any of them – those bounces would not affect rankings.  One way or the other user activity has to be an important measurement the search engines cannot afford to ignore.

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16 Responses to “Do Bounce Rates Really Count?”

  1. David Clifford (1 comments) Says:

    If bounce rate is going to affect SERPs, then affiliate marketers are going to get murdered by search engines. I think that in most cases, a high bounce rate is a good sign on an affiliate site – it means someone has landed on a page that has the exact product they wanted, which they click on and go to the 3rd party site, and hopefully buy. If those are going to be seen as "negative" attributes, then there are going to be rough times ahead…

  2. David Leonhardt (136 comments) Says:

    That's not really a bounce. If you walk into a wall, you'll bounce (not very far, but you will bounce). If you walk through a hole in the wall (like a doorway), you don't bounce, you go through the wall. Affiliate marketers should not suffer a disadvantage if they are satisfying their visitors by sending them through. let's give the search engines some credit to be able to recognize the difference between a bounce and a referral.

  3. Victor Tan (1 comments) Says:

    I have not noticed any difference on the ranking of my site, when my bounce rate decreased,

  4. Niche Blueprint (1 comments) Says:

    I wonder if bounce rates really count in SE algorithm. Although there are a lot of debate about this, but I have some opinion myself. Have a look at Google Analytics where Google give some clues about bounce rates. So, I think that bounce rates are something that Google looks at in determining your ranking for search terms.

  5. red bull vending (1 comments) Says:

    bounce rates for sure count. How can you measure if your content is valuable unless you look at the bounce rate? Cmon now.

  6. hypnotize someone (1 comments) Says:

    I think that bounce rates are used, without a doubt, in Google's site rankings. Just do some back link analysis now on top ranking pages for competitive search terms and some of them will have hardly any backlinks.

    I think Google may be moving back to valuing on-page optimization more than off-page optimization, and a low bounce rate would be one factor they take into consideration.

  7. Ski Resorts (1 comments) Says:

    In my point of view Bounce rate is percent of visitors that visits only a page from your site. They come on landing page and leave the site without browsing any other pages.

  8. FresnoWeddingDirec (3 comments) Says:

    This was an entirely new concept for me (I’m a new blogger), so thank you very much for the informative post. Now I have something else to think about!

  9. pearl earrings (1 comments) Says:

    I have found that bounce rates is one of several factors of determining ranking, but it might be a higher factor then previously thought of.

  10. wii fit in stock (1 comments) Says:

    I believe A higher bounce rate is bad. A lower bounce rate means that more people are attracted to the content in your site and therefore they read more pages.

  11. Custom Essay (1 comments) Says:

    Bounce rate doesn't mean much for most blogs, since your newest post is often right there on the first page along with a couple others at least. Don't worry about them clicking through to other parts of your site ,pay attention to how long they stay there. Are they staying long enough to read your stuff? If so, all's good.

  12. Shaw (1 comments) Says:

    A high bounce rate can also mean a competitor has targeted you. We are experiencing this and from my research so far, there's not that can be done about it.

  13. Sharon (2 comments) Says:

    Higher Bounce rate does not always mean your site lacks quality content. When the user finds the right information from the landing page, then also the bounce rate can be high.

  14. Lyndsey (3 comments) Says:

    Bounce rates can be very deceiving, it's important to know that bounce rates shown at "Top Content" for example are calculated based on only direct visits.

  15. fake id's (1 comments) Says:

    Basically in bounce rate you should consider the number of exits, pages consumed and time spent on each page.As if your website is an information site a user will stay there for sometime read your content and than move on ,so basically here time spent can be a good factor to consider.

  16. workforce management software (2 comments) Says:

    Hi I’m interested in setup a rss feed from your blog to another blog. How should we go about this ??

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