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Bounce rate VS Google

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Bounce rate VS Google

Various SEOs started to notice a relationship between search engine traffic and bounce rate. The rumor has it that Google now pays more attention than ever to your bounce rate and rewards you for good quality traffic. For those of you not familiar with term:”Bounce rate”, it pretty much indicates the % of users who left your website after seeing just one page. Arguably you can say that your website was no value to your visitor and they left right after checking it out, rather than staying slightly longer to explore.

What we know

Some webmasters can clearly see a relationship between organic traffic and bounce rate. Have a look at some screenshots by SEO black hat. This is just one example out of many. However you can’t rely on one set of results. In order to have a definitive answer you need to experiment with many more websites.

We also know that Google treats bounce rate quite seriously. Here is what Google has to say:

Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and convert.


Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy.

Thinking logically

Google does not employ idiots. When a change is made there is a genuine, logical reason behind it. So would it make sense for Google to rank based on bounce rate? Why not! It makes a lot of sense for Google to send traffic to those websites that will actually benefit from it rather than those that will scare 90% of the visitors away. On the other hand some websites would naturally have higher bounce rate regardless of their highest quality. For example a dictionary type of website can see a visitor for a few seconds before they grab the word definition they were looking for and go away. Whereas an illegal warez download website with poor navigation can confuse and send the visitor from one page to another for minutes. Why should Google rank second website higher than first?

How does Google know your bounce rate?

Nobody I spoke to was sure. There are a number of possibilities. The most obvious are data from website running Google analytics as well as the toolbar. I assume the toolbar may well work similar to Alexa toolbar even though I could not find much of indication in Google patent information nor privacy policy. In theory Google can even track returning visitors after a certain SERP link has been clicked on.

My experiment

This blog has a very poor bounce rate. It varies day to do but on average it should be between 80% and 90%. I rank well for some boob related keywords so I assume some people come here trying to see some naked pics and end up leaving pretty sharpish in disappointment. I also run Google analytics so this was a perfect opportunity to run a little test. 12 days ago I have decided to remove Google analytics code from this blog, therefore killing a potential “probe” Google can use to establish my bounce rate. The next day I went over my 3 months old Google visitors record. The day after that I had yet another record. I thought I was really onto something there when on day 3 my traffic went back to normal and pretty much remained that way till now.


I don’t think my initial increase in traffic proved anything. The increase did not seem as dramatic as other webmasters have witnessed before. On the other hand my bounce rate stayed the same throughout the experiment. I was only trying to shut one of Google’s eyes. There were still Google toolbar users that I had no control over as well as other potential indicators. I suppose the only proper was of doing this is to actually improve your bounce rate and see if this results to an increase in traffic from Google. I suppose it might be easier to make your bounce rate worse and look for opposite results. I may well try it in the future.

Improving your bounce rate

  • Functional website is a must! You need to make sure your website is compatible with different browsers, that your pages load in sufficient time and your design is clutter free and clear.
  • Avoid popups/getaways and other aggressive ads.
  • Quality and well written content will insure your visitors stay longer.
  • Get to know your visitors. Why are they here? Where do they come from? What do they want?
  • Improve your ad copy. Whether you are linking to your website or buying ads makes sure your visitors know what they are clicking on and where they are going to end up. Its quality and not quantity. One time visitors will only make your bounce rate worse.