How a High Bounce Rate Affects Google Rankings

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My own graphic design idea for a Google Logo or image on mobile

Please note that I originally published this story on my own blog and am republishing it on Medium for a larger audience.

Does bounce rate affect Google’s rankings on search? This is a question I was pondering recently that led me to research this topic as well as Google’s search algorithm in general; what affects a site’s visibility on Google search in general led me to this inquiry.

Lets look at how important speed and bounce rate are and what can be done to make a website have less od a bounce rate. First of all what is bounce rate you may ask? Bounce rate is when users visit a website and decide to leave without sticking around to check out the website’s content, particularly its various pages. However, it can be more specifically defined.

Bounce Rate Defined

Google defines bounce rate as the percentage of single page-view visits to a website:

A pageview is just one of many possible interactions a user can make with a website — so other interactions can also affect bounce rate like transactions and so on. A non-interactive event doesn’t affect the bounce rate on the other hand.

Bounce rate is often confused with the term unique visitor to a website. However, these are do pletely different terms and aspects of search.

Unique visitor is a first-time visitor, or visitor whose cookies a site doesn’t detect. This is a new user that visits the website basically for the first time or from a new browser and computing device.

Bounce rate deals with that unique visitor or any visitor staying on the website for more than a single click.

Does Bounce Rate Affect Google Rankings?

Now lets take a look at exactly how bounce rate is affected in Google’s search rankings. Search Engine Watch has offered an analysis of a transcribed conversation about this topic between Rand Fishkin, CEO of Moz, and Andrey Lipattsev, Google’s search quality senior strategist:

What Is a Good VS a Bad Bounce Rate to Have?

The difference between having a good vs bad bounce rate may come down to the type of website we are looking at and the type or content it provides.

According to Rocket Fuel Research, “Most websites will see bounce rates fall somewhere between 26% and 70%. The average bounce rate for the websites in my sample set was 49%. The average bounce rate for all visits in the set was 45%. I threw out the outliers — the 1% bounce rates. The highest bounce rate was 90.2%; the low (from a properly functioning profile) was 27.33%. The low across all (including broken implementations) was 1.23%.”

Basically, a bounce rate from 26–40% is really good for any website. While, a bounce rate of 41–55% is average. Anything above 70% is disappointing outside news, blogs or events.

The content of a website is also dependent on the expected bounce rates we should be looking at. Here is how Fuel Research analyzed how various websites should expect different results based on content:

In an online apparel store, visitors will probably shop around for a bit. The bounce rate there would ideally skew lower. An upward trend is particularly alarming for ecommerce because when users leave the site too quickly, that almost certainly translates to lost sales.

Conclusion

So, to sum it up, bounce rate does affect rankings, but it is difficult to predict exactly how. Many organizations don’t use Google Analytics, so Google has no way of tracking their bounce rate information. However, the AI algorithm looks at things such as speed, bounce rate and various nuances within a website to rank it.

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I am a tech journalist and an aspiring artist-graphic designer. My sites include https://maciejduraj.com and https://artisticcounterculture.com.

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