Does bounce rate affect your SEO and the ranking of your website? Yes it does, but not necessarily. Google as well as other search engines use several user metrics of their own to determine your ranking. Google looks closely here how well a user finds what she actually is searching for. Google asks itself this question: how well does your website perform in providing answers to the user.
As a guideline: if a user finds what he or she is searching for thanks to your website, your rankings will go up. But things are a little more complex than this. It’s rather that Google and other search engines compare the User Experience of your website to other websites that also appear in the same search results. How does your bounce rate (or rather: click-back rate, see further below) compare to those of competing websites?
There is all kinds of reasons why a visitor finds results through your website rather than other websites. This also relates to the type of website that you provide. For example:
- You sell a superior product that visitors really like and want to buy
- You provide information that is so good that people are left satisfied
- You provide links to other websites where people find the answers
- You have advertisements on your website that offer satisfactions
All of the above basically means that users are a lot less likely to return to their search engine with the exact same question with which they landed on your website. So if you want to better your SEO you’d really want to look at ways to Reduce Bounce Rate from a SEO perspective.
To understand this better you could try seeing it from the Google perspective. If a users returns to the search with the same query, your website obviously hasn’t helped much by aiding this visitor. Hence, if another website that is lower in the results (for example because it is newer or because it has less backlinks) performs better, it will soon start outranking you.
This is how Google is using user metrics and evaluates your content: is your content actually providing visitors with answers to queries? If this is the case you will find your website gaining better rankings in the search engine results for those queries.
It’s equally important for SEO purposes to understand what Bounce Rate really means. For starters it doesn’t really mean what is means. It doesn’t necessarily mean that persons only visit one page and nothing else on your website. Imagine your website only has one page, but you do provide all the answers?
As such it’s also important to actually see how much time a visitor spends on your website. Search Analytics Tools such as Google Analytics actually don’t provide this information, unless you implement this with an extra feature called events. Other tools, such as Clicky, do integrate information of time spend in their Bounce Rate metrics and are more reliable therefore.
Another important metric to consider here are average actions. What’s the engagement of your visitor? Does she visit a lot of pages on average, than you have a good metric here to determine how well your landing pages function.
Obviously there is another important point that’s worth to mention when we talk about Bounce Rate. Bounce rate is really a term that is related to your website, but in itself it doesn’t say everything about how your websites performs in relation to the searches.
For example, your website could have a high Bounce Rate because you provide links or relevant advertisements that other website don’t.
In this case you are likely to have a high Bounce Rate nevertheless. But what’s important here is that visitors find their answers by visiting your webpage and thus not coming back to the search with the same query again (by hitting back for example).
While analysing your landing pages that rank in the search results, bounce rate could be a very important factor to help determine how well your landing pages perform. In general terms, the higher the bounce rate, the lower you will rank.
Though if visitors find their answers through your website anyhow, for example by clicking on ads or links that you provide, your bounce rate will be high as well. Still at the same time your ranking will go up. This is why it’s very crucial to not see Bounce Rate as a fixed rule but rather as a guideline. It’s there to help you analyse but in itself it does not necessarily provide all the answers.
Rather it all depends on the nature of your website on how much importance you would give to the Bounce Rate metrics in order to analyse the overall performance.
Generally a low Bounce Rate or rather a low Click Back rate will improve your websites rankings. But this is just one of many more ranking factors in SEO. Other factors include the quality of backlinks, your on-page SEO and the overall User Experience of your website.
If you’re interested in knowing more on how to improve your websites ranking there are many tools you can use to analyse your website and improve your SEO score. We our SEO tool Rankshaper you immediately get access to a wealth of information straight from Google Webmaster.
Using this tool you can identify ways to improve your content so that you will rank better and for more search queries. Our tool will also look into your Bounce Rate if you use Google Analytics and we will provice you with hands on suggestions on what you can do to improve your websites SEO rankings.