How Does Bounce Rate Affect SEO of Your Website

What Is A Bounce Rate?

A bounce rate is the number of visitors that source a website through a search engine but leave without moving to any other pages in the site. They may “bounce” back to the search engine results or may just leave to browse something else.



The Word on the Street about Bounce Rates…

There has been frequent discussions about bounce rate affecting SEO rankings and the question that many webmasters are asking “is a high bounce rate a bad thing?” Many defend a high bounce rate on the assumption that the visitor has quickly found the information they were looking for. And that the high bounce rate is not a reflection on the usefulness of the website and its subsequent content. While this theory may have some solid ground to stand on, if there were two websites that focused on the same industry, had similar rankings and content (not very common, but still possible) and one had a high bounce rate while the other did not – the lower bounce rate website would most likely rank better than the former.

But how do we know that a high bounce rate does have an impact SEO, even if indirectly? Well because Google says so, in its Panda updates – it aims to filter out “thin” or poor content sites. While Google is a robot, it has a common sense approach to ranking. If we put on our “Google Thinking Caps”– Google is about presenting the best results for every possible interpretation of a keyword search, something it battles with every day. Therefore, it makes certain assumptions about user behavior to help display optimal results.

If 85% of users leave your site in less than 10 seconds, Google will undoubtedly ask the question – “is this site providing worth to continue being placed in the top 10 searches?” After all, how many times have you really found the information you are looking for in under 10 seconds. Many SEO experts reiterate that a high bounce rate does factor into your SEO rankings. This is because a low bounce rate promotes authority in Google which in turn improves your SEO rankings. If visitors stay and browse your site, you are building a loyal community within your niche which will impress Google spiders. Having visitors spend time looking through and exploring your website will result in Google rewarding you with great SEO rankings.

Google is all about providing visitors with the most accurate and relevant content on the first page of results. Through its continual algorithm improvements, it aims to promote important and relevant well written content for users. If visitors seem to be consistently bouncing from your site then Google will likely see this as an indicator and push you down in rankings.

The Bottom Line

Essentially, a high bounce rate can be understood as a site’s ineffectiveness in providing value to the user. As a result there is a need to reduce the bounce rate to ultimately improve conversions. Websites that have professionally written content that engage visitors to read for longer, will undoubtedly see the positive effects in SEO rankings! This, coupled with other on page and off page optimization, maintenance and SEO tactics will guarantee your website to hit a high position on the first page!

How To Improve Your Chances

Four of the most common reasons for a website having a high bounce rate may be:

1. Poorly written and ineffective content

2. Poorly designed website structure making it hard for users to navigate

3. Inappropriate keyword targeting

4. Having no clear call to actions on a web page

Regardless of whether you believe bounce rate affect SEO, it is still important to understand how engaging your website actually is. If you are suffering from high bounce rates you should look at the above four points and see where you can improve.