Ranking Analytics: Is Your Bounce Rate Affecting Your Website’s Rank?

Website owners use Google Analytics to measure the rankings analytics of their site. Google ranks websites based on several metrics. A metric is a number, like a percentage or a count of something. For instance, Pageviews, which tells you how many pages were viewed, and Users tells how many people visited your site.

One metric in particular that is a bit controversial is the Bounce Rate. It measures how many people only visited one page, and then left your site. All this data can be confusing when all you really want to know is how it affects your page ranking.

This is where it gets complex, but also very interesting. So, don’t leave until you get all the information you need to understand what it’s all about.

Is Your Bounce Rate Affecting Your Website's Rank

What’s the Big Deal About Rankings Analytics?

While the bounce rate alone is only one factor in Google Analytics, it is important to look at other metrics as well as bounce rate interactions in metrics. Referrers, for instance, are also important if you are marketing on social media. You want to know where your visitors are coming from to understand if your SEO approach is working or you’ve made mistakes

When reviewing your metrics, engagement is key. If visitors are not engaging or converting by completing the actions you desire, like joining your mail list or making a purchase, then your conversion rate will be low. If they are not spending time on your website and are bouncing off, then you can understand they are not converting.

Definitions

While Google states that the bounce rate isn’t a factor of their algorithm, other metrics play key roles. These metrics are even related or validate the bounce rates finding. 

Understanding the terms found in your Analytics reports is important. Otherwise, they are just words on a page that do you no good.

The most important metrics to track from Google Analytics are:

Users – This is a single person browsing your website, tracked via a unique browser cookie. Each user can visit your website multiple times. For example, one user could create three sessions on your website, with each session containing many pageviews.

Bounce Rate – The bounce rate is the percentage of sessions with a single pageview.

Sessions – A single visit to your website, consisting of one or more pageviews, along with events, e-commerce transactions, and other interactions.

Average Session Duration – Provides a view of how long users are spending on your website. 

Percentage of New Sessions – This shows the percentage of sessions for people who have not been to your website before. 

Pages Per Session – Shows the average number of page views in each session.

Goal Completions – When a user converts for a particular goal during a session they count as a goal completion.

Pageviews – A pageview is reported when a page has been viewed by a user on your website.

While these are important metrics, it is important to note the ones closely related to bounce rate.

Bounce Rates by Industry

The average bounce rates by industry are:

Blog Pages – 70%-90%

Content Websites – 40%-60%

Service Websites – 10%-30%

When people search on Google, how the results display is based on a lot of complex algorithms. The search engine ranking algorithms take many facts into account when calculating the order in which the web pages will appear in the search results.

Tracking your Google Analytics can help you understand a lot about your website along with:

– Informing you of traffic source and behavior

– Locating a 404 error page

– Examining the behavior of your visitors

– Helping you defeat spam

– Displaying data related to your traffic

Good Bounce Rates

While we can look at the averages for different types of websites, we should also assess a target for the type of site we have. For instance, what is a good bounce rate for a blog?

For the most part, a rate of over 70% is bad news for a blog site, as well as news sites and event sites.

Many experts advise it is better to set your baseline rather than seeking out averages or best kinds of percentages. Bring traffic, engage them, and you will have a rate that you can be happy with.

High vs Low Bounce Rates

Bad bounce rates come in both too high and too low. A bounce rate above 90% is bad, but a rate of less than 20% is also bad.

Below 20% could be an indication that there is a problem with the Google Analytics setup, and above 90% there is a problem with your website. Unless it is a brand new website and you have just installed Google Analytics. In that case, it is common to have a high bounce rate initially.

What Can We Learn from Bounce Rates?

Your bounce rate plays a bigger role in your website’s ranking than you might imagine. It is important to learn as much as we can from tracking the bounce rate. Learn about the behavior of website visitors, tells us about the quality of the traffic bouncing from our site.

For instance, a high bounce rate along with a high volume from the same referrer could mean the site is getting poor referrals.

You will want to know:

– Why aren’t my visitors engaging with my content?

– How do I better encourage clicks to other pages?

– How do I get my visitors to convert to customers?

Determining what type of bounce is occurring will lead you to categorize the types of bouncers going from your visitors. This will lead you to learn what is causing them to bounce and how to fix it.

What Causes a High Bounce Rate?

high bounce rate can have several causes, for instance:

– Your website is getting a visitor who finds the answers to their problem on the page they land on.

– Your website is getting the wrong kind of visitors, which causes them to leave without finding what they came for.

– Slow loading pages

– Misleading title or SEO description

– Blank page or technical error

– Bad link from another site

– Affiliate landing page

– Low-quality content

– Wonky Google Analytics setup

Google’s algorithm monitors the search then leads visitors using an algorithm called the pogo-sticking algorithm. Based on the website clicks before and after a visitor goes to your site and bounces off, in addition to your high bounce rate, Google determines whether your site is causing users to pogo-stick. So, while your bounce rate may not affect your ranking this will.

Why Do Visitors Stay on a Webpage?

There are many reasons why this could happen, and not all have to do with the page’s content. If your visitor remains on your page for over 20 minutes, it could be they are engaged, it could also be they fell asleep, or even just stepped away to check on the kids or dinner.

The key to this lies in engagement. When you answer these questions, you learn more about your visitors: 

– Did they visit other pages on your site? Which ones?

– Did they click on links?

– Did they convert?

Analyze the data and get to know the trends. Then develop strategies from the results.

Google Analytics and SEO

The relation between Google Analytics and Search Engine Optimization has discussed for some time and with a lot of debate. While using Google Analytics provides powerful website measurement tools, there are some detriments and it may even affect your search rankings.

There are many tall-tale type claims along with a few based in fact.

Google favors sites that have Google Analytics installed – False.

Google Analytics slows down your site – False.

Google Analytics is a script and no matter how well you optimize it will impact your site, right? Nope.

Google gives a small ranking boost to compensate for any drawbacks of using Analytics – Again, no.

Google Analytics gives Google more information that they use to determine your rankings – False. Google already takes site info from other sources.

Not using Google Analytics can cause a minor Google penalty – False. Google can’t do this for fear of anti-trust lawsuits.

Google Analytics helps Google’s crawler to find webpages – False. The web crawler already does a super awesome job and finding webpages.

Google Analytics gives marketers data that helps them improve their site rankings – True.

How to Decrease Your Site’s Bounce Rate

To begin with, you should be looking at how to increase traffic to your website. Increased visitors may also lead to a lower bounce rate if they are the right visitors.

There are several methods and they all are common sense:

Keywords – Make sure the keywords you use make sense.

Content – Provide quality content.

Long Content – Google likes longer posts.

Email List – Get one going.

YouTube Videos – Use your content and get in front of the camera. YouTube is a hot market.

Webinars – Host them. They hugely increase traffic. Start with free, free attracts visitors.

Guest Blog – Write for other people’s blogs.

Internal Links – Links that take visitors to other pages on your blog will reduce your bounce rate.

Interview People – It’s amazing how many high profile people in any niche are willing to give their time for an interview.

Make Sure Your Website is Responsive – Google prefers responsive sites.

Check Your Load Speed – A slow loading site will lose visitors.

Comment Regularly on Social Media to Build a Solid Reputation – Include your site in your name.

Write for visitors/audience is popular advice as well as accurate. Most SEO firms will tell you that they will build your site that way, too. Your content is your conversation with your audience. If you’ve made it to make Google happy instead of enticing your visitors, that is why your bounce rate is high.

Most marketers know that keywords help, but keyword stuffing hurts. Analyzing your visitor data helps. What their actions are, what are there referrers, what pages they go to, and if they are converting.

When you understand your visitors, you can develop better strategies. Strategies need to be constantly assessed, monitored and updated to be current with changes to Google’s Algorithm and your visitors.

The Big Question

Does your bounce rate affect your organic ranking position? In 2015, Gary Illyes from Google stated, “We don’t use analytics/bounce rate in search ranking” in a tweet. Matt Cutts had said the same thing before as well.

Most data cruncher analysts observe that the bounce rate is not part of Google’s algorithm. 

However, they are not saying that it is completely off the table either. There is a definite relationship between rankings and bounce rates. 

To be fair, it is not likely that Google is only looking at the bounce rate to determine your ranking. They are also looking at related metrics. For instance, Time on Page and Click Through Rate (CTR) are weighed in. In particular, Time on Page could offset your bounce rate and, overall, have a better effect on your ranking.

The Click Through Rate is something to also watch. If your CTR is low, you may need to change your SEO strategy.

Final Thoughts

While the bounce rate in itself is not a huge fact in page rankings, it is important to look beyond and at other metrics. Today, the bounce rate is not part of the algorithm, but Google’s algorithm is updated regularly. It was just upgraded this week to Bert. Digital marketing is a new area and it has been going through changes at a lightning pace, or so it seems. This means it is crucial to stay abreast of the changes as they happen. Whether it is an update to Google Algorithms or your sites rankings analytics, it is all-important. If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to us. Let our team of marketing experts analyze your site. Check out our guide on ranking analytics and how bounce rate factors into it.

Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry. With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.

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About the author...

Located in the heart of the Emerald Coast - Destin, FL, founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization / and PR campaigns, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.

With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.

Jason Hall 5Channels.com

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