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.Written by David Leonhardt
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