Most digital marketers consider the bounce rate with dread. However, do you really understand what it is? Bounce rate can have an indicative effect on SEO. Read below to find out more:
What is the Bounce Rate?
You may have heard of bounce rate as a percentage. And it is. This metric essentially tracks the number of people who visit your website and then leave. That would naturally mean everyone, eventually. Google uses only users who leave without viewing any other pages on the bounce rate metric.
What Google is tracking here is site engagement by a single user. The bounce rate refers to whether people are using your website in a “meaningful” way.
E-commerce marketers and web developers often use the bounce rate to understand how successful a web page is. That is to say, whether the webpage manages to retain the intended user base. If the bounce rate is low, where fewer people leave, then it is considered a good thing. If it’s high, then warning signs go off.
What the Bounce Rate is Not
Marketers may over-interpret the bounce rate, as they tend to do with most. When we are talking about the bounce rate, it’s important to understand what it is not. You should not use this metric to measure the length of time a user spends on your website. It is possible for a website to have a high bounce rate and a longer engagement time.
In this sense, a high bounce rate is not something that is essentially bad. In fact, bounce rate can affect websites in different ways. Say your website is only just one page. People would see all they need on this page. There’s no need to navigate to another page. In this scenario, the bounce rate would be low. But you can ask whether a handful of users necessarily translate to a successful website.
In some cases, you might actually want a high bounce rate. For example, the bounce rate of a product launch page should be high, preferably because the clients move on to the purchase or information pages.
Why Does It Matter to SEO?
Search engine optimization involves improving websites to become more searchable. So what does the bounce rate have to do with SEO?
Google Cares about the Bounce Rate!
The primary reason SEO marketers should care about the bounce rate is that Google does care about it; Regardless of what you think about it, Google uses the bounce rate as a metric to measure a website’s performance.
Google may analyze the success of a website using its own Analytics tools; But most websites online don’t use Google Analytics, and when this is the case, the company combines bounce rate and dwell time to determine whether a web page is worth visiting in the eyes of a user.
Google, therefore, uses the bounce rate to determine how much organic traffic will become “long clicks” on a website and spend a lot of time. The bounce rate doesn’t indicate search intent, but that doesn’t really matter.
Google prioritizes “long click” websites as good links that deserve top rankings. Also, Google may consider a low bounce rate as a sign that your website isn’t a scam. Misleading links cause high bounce rates. Google wants to get rid of such sites from the search index.
Other Factors that Determine SEO
The bounce rate is not directly related to the success of SEO. However, it can be indicative of other factors that are directly altered because of the bounce rate. Here’s a look:
Slow-Loading Page Speed
When your site doesn’t load up fast under 2 minutes, then your website is slow. That would hurt dwell time, shooting up the bounce rate. A slow-loading website seriously
Mainly, website slowness causes Google to demote your page ranking. On mobile search, slow websites aren’t even allowed to appear. So in this sense, a high bounce rate will hurt your SEO in the end.
Unless you are a master in analytics and user behavior, then you should not worry and do your best when it comes to applying on-page SEO. I have seen sites with a 75%+ bounce earn $5,000+ per month, and I have seen sites with very high bounce rates succeed, why? It is because of user engagement, without engagement, you are dead! When people comment, share, submit, then they are engaging.
It does not matter if you have content that sucks, although, it is best if you do not have content that sucks, however, I have run across sites having almost no content doing just fine, what was different compared to other sites? High Engagement!!! If your visitors love your site and continue to keep coming back, then you are golden!
Bad Web Design
A bad bounce rate can arise from bad web design. When the web design is not intuitive or easy to use, the incoming traffic would leave rather than engage with the site. So a high bounce rate is a warning sign that your website is not performing as it should.
Bad web design and resulting performance issues do hurt SEO. Proper web development is crucial for doing SEO eight. First of all, bad design doesn’t incorporate on-site SEO well. So it’s bad from the get-go. A low bounce rate, on the other hand, may indicate a well-designed site (among other things), that is also well optimized and good to go.
There’s obviously a reason why people are not engaging with the site. You could lose incoming traffic if the web content doesn’t match the targeted keywords. In other words, if the content is perceived to be misleading, you will lose clicks.
Incorrect information is terrible for SEO in several ways. Your site could get flagged as spam if the keywords don’t match what you are offering. Google will consider the high bounce rate to possibly blacklist your website. It would be one of the factors that goes into making your case to Google.
Lack of Mobile Responsiveness
A high bounce rate could be entirely caused by mobile users who simply cannot access your website. This happens when your website is not mobile responsive.
Your search rankings on Google’s mobile version would take a nose dive if the site is not responsive. Bad mobile rankings could affect desktop rankings as well.
Should You Fix a High Bounce Rate?
When a high bounce rate is associated with so many SEO issues, as discussed above, does that mean you should go about fixing it?
Actually, no. High bounce rate is often a side effect of larger problems facing your website, such as lack of mobile responsiveness. You should address these issues headfirst to fix the bounce rate and simultaneously make your site more SEO friendly.
The bounce rate is an important metric. But you should understand why it is the way it is. Don’t panic over high bounce rates, and don’t be too quick to celebrate over low bounce rates either. Consider the full picture as mentioned above and take action.
Let’s get back to bounce rate! We want to provide our visitors with awesome user experience, and we ask our visitors to browse our site, going from one page to another, and this will lower our bounce rate, and as a result of a lower bounce rate, then Google will award this site with higher rankings in google search.
You can also help our site by sharing our pages on your favorite social media platform, as this is a concept that Google loves, and we do need some google love!!!
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