How Bounce Rate Relates to SEO

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors that enter a site and leave without viewing other pages on the site. It is thought that when the bounce rate improves, this could also improve search engine rankings. In this article, we’ll examine how bounce rate relates to SEO and also what to do about it if you have a low bounce rate and you want to make improvements:

What is Bounce Rate?

The search engines want good sites to rank highly. If people don’t spend much time clicking around on a site it could mean that the site isn’t of good quality or may not be relevant to what they are looking for, meaning that the keywords don’t match up. So, for SEO purposes it’s important to be aware of your bounce rate and take the steps necessary to improve it.

Decrease Bounce Rate With Excellent Content

According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, there are some things that can be done to improve bounce rate. However, the best way to decrease bounce rate is to improve the quality of your content so that people actually want to read and look at it. Make sure that it’s relevant. If people expect your site to be about apples and you are talking about oranges, of course they will leave quickly and look elsewhere for information about apples. Create headlines and titles that peak the reader’s interest and keep them engaged. Allow for interaction with your target audience by implementing surveys and offering incentives to participate. Having a good design and layout on your page is also important. Users should be able to navigate the site quickly and be able to efficiently find the information they need.

Is High Bounce Rate a Bad Thing?

According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, however, Google said that a high bounce rate may or may not be a bad thing depending on the situation. Here’s what the guidelines say:

If the success of your site depends on users viewing more than one page, then, yes, a high bounce rate is bad. For example, if your home page is the gateway to the rest of your site (e.g., news articles, product pages, your checkout process) and a high percentage of users are viewing only your home page, then you don’t want a high bounce rate.

On the other hand, if you have a single-page site like a blog, or offer other types of content for which single-page sessions are expected, then a high bounce rate is perfectly normal.

Decide What’s Right for Your Website

While bounce rate may contribute to search engine ranking it’s important to decide how significant it is to your business needs. The goal of every website should be to get conversions, whether it is sales, leads, etc. If you are the owner of a car repair shop you want a prospect to call you to set up an appointment or simply stop by your store to drop off their car. Your homepage should make it clear what services you provide and include a phone number and address. The homepage is really all that people need to see.

Therefore, as long as you are getting good business, bounce rate shouldn’t be a big concern. On the other hand, high bounce rate on an e-commerce site is much more problematic since that means that people are visiting your site without purchasing. If that is the case, try implementing the above strategies to improve your bounce rate and SEO efforts in general.

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