SEO is all about making sure you follow the rules and pay attention to the ranking factors Google has laid out. We know from several sources the top three ranking factors are: links, content, and RankBrain. While these are the top dogs, there are certainly other factors a Tulsa SEO company needs to be aware of.
One of the factors that is constantly debated is bounce rate. This metric measures the percentage of visitors to your site who quickly “bounce” off your site after only viewing one page. There are two main reasons bounce rate is thought of as a major ranking factor.
- It’s reported in Google Analytics– People assume if Google thought it was important enough to include in the GA suite, it must factor into rankings.
- (Misguided) Logic– People also assume that bounce should naturally be a ranking factor because Google’s goal is to provide the best search results possible. So if people are constantly leaving a site it can’t possibly be a quality site.
Here’s why both of these reasons are wrong.
- Google makes ranking decisions primarily based on the information they get when they crawl a site. Since crawling a site can’t possibly determine a bounce rate, Google will only know the bounce rate if the site owner installs Google Analytics. Not every site uses GA and Google wouldn’t use a ranking factor that can’t apply to every site they index. If this were the case, sites with high bounce rates could improve their rankings simply by getting rid of Google Analytics.
- The logic on the second point is correct, but it’s impossible to report accurately. Let’s say a visitor comes to a page and stays for an hour. Are they just enthralled with your content or did they step away from the computer to eat lunch?
Another reason bounce shouldn’t bother you is because certain pages should be designed to have a high bounce rate. Take a contact us page for example. The whole idea is for the visitor to fill out the form and get out of there. A high performing contact page will inevitably have a high bounce rate.
It’s worth stating again that SEO companies debate this constantly. It’s our opinion that bounce rates aren’t a huge ranking factor, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. At the very least a high bounce rate can indicate that your site needs to be reworked to facilitate a better user experience.