Bounce rate as a ranking factor


I came across a typical discussion online yesterday regarding bounce rate. Bounce rate is a measure of the number of users that land on a page and leave again without clicking on any other page on the website. There is a common myth in the SEO world that a high bounce rate is a bad thing and a negative ranking factor. Actually, it isn’t. Representatives from Google have commented various times that Google does not look at bounce rates. In fact, when GA4, Google’s new analytics software, was launched it didn’t even have bounce rate included as a metric.

The simple rule of thumb regarding bounce rate is that it’s likely to be relative, rather than absolute. For example, if you are searching for a gift for your partner’s 20th birthday, it’s likely that you’ll click through to a search result, read the 20th birthday gift ideas and then leave. It’s unlikely that you’re going to be interested in gift ideas for other years. Therefore, for these types of results it’s fine, and expected, that users will bounce back to the search results, causing a high bounce rate figure. If, however, you are looking for a local surveyor, you may spend more time on a website understanding the services provided and the surveyors themselves. In this case you wouldn’t want a high bounce rate, and it shouldn’t be expected.

Therefore, think of bounce rate as relative. If it’s high, it may be absolutely normal.

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