All SEO activities, digital marketing efforts, online promotions, etc., aim to better the business’s visibility and more revenues per campaign. The path from introducing the business to creating a loyal customer base for it is not easy. The customers tend to not act according to your promotional strategies if they do not get the correct or relevant information from the website. So, let’s understand what bounce rate means, how Google uses this metric for ranking purposes, and if you can improve it.
What is the bounce rate?
Bounce rate means how many people click the link but leave it immediately or within a selected time-frame. Any visitor is called a revenue source or a conversion rate when it does the action, which is the website’s ultimate aim. For example, the purpose of a blog is to get traffic to the website. So, if people are reading the blog and sharing it, a blog can be branded as ‘successful.’ It is difficult to find whether the reader actually read the blog and then shared it.
A more clear-cut idea of bounce rate can be understood from an e-commerce site. If a buyer visits the page but does not buy anything, the very purpose of building that e-commerce page is defeated. How many such visitors left the site without any action divided by the total number of visitors gives the bounce rate figure.
What does bounce rate convey?
Bounce rate conveys information about the relevance of the web page. While the higher bounce
rate means that the users find the web page’s content irrelevant to their purposes, the lower bounce rates mean the opposite. Accordingly, Google decides the rank of the page.
To be in Google’s good books, the SEO team needs to pay closer attention to content quality and its marketing. Users come to any search engine for information. If it is not provided to them in the way they understand or relate to, they are likely to abandon the platform. In its attempt to deliver high-quality information, Google provides cushioning of ranking to only those websites that are offering the relevant content. Bounce rate is one such metric that tells if the content has met the requirements correctly.
Return-to-SERP: The chosen determiner of the bounce rate
It is one amongst various parameters for ranking the web page or website according to their algorithms. When the user opens any page and quickly goes to SERP, Google keeps track of return-to-SERP time. This time determines if the web page has the information relevant enough to be at the higher ranks. What should be the time spent in total on the page before switching to SERP is not known. But, it continues to be a good determiner of the page performance.
Consider the situation where you have the flashiest of the neon board for your brick-and-mortar store. But, the moment a person steps in, the ambiance or the product is entirely different from a visitor’s expectation. The natural reaction will be to come out of the showroom. It is precisely what the return-to-SERP or bounce rate determines. It clearly says that the page is not engaging enough to hold a visitor’s interest. Ranking naturally goes down for such a page because the search engine has the primary responsibility to deliver relevant information to the visitor. Rest all is secondary for it.
High Bounce Rate: Not a flaw always!
There is always a doubt surrounding the bounce rate. It is not universally bad for all the pages of the site. For example, the contact page visits, if short, tell a good and not bad thing about this page. It implies that the person got the information needed in a jiffy and moved on to the real business.
Secondly, bounce rate cannot be the ultimate determiner. What if the buyer was distracted by something on reaching the page and moved to address it, but only to return? So, the bounce rate contributed to by such events does not indicate the flaw in the page. It can entirely be a matter not associated with the content.
Understanding the overall impact on SEO and PPC Marketing
By summing up all the instances and possibilities of bounce rate, it can safely be said that bounce rate is not the wholesome truth of a web page. There are several other factors responsible for the rank of a page. Unfortunately, SEO people have no way to know all about those reasons. Also, reasons continue to change quite often. Since Google does not follow a tell-all approach, SEO experts need to be on toes always. They should never put the researcher in them away, thinking that they have got the ultimate mantra for SEO’s success.
Bounce rate can be a thing of concern, but only when the website content is not good. If it is following all lousy SEO and PPC marketing practices, and receiving bounces, as a result, and at worse, getting noticed too, then it is sure for Google to come heavily on the website and either hit its ranking or penalize it.
Several websites are not using Google Analytics. They are keeping the matter strictly between them and their end-users. The only policy they believe in is using content that keeps users happy and satisfied, and more importantly, curious always. So, bounce rate information will neither be available for such websites nor will it matter to them.
Still, how to work upon lowering the bounce rate?
Okay, so the bounce rate is an essential metric for your website – at least you think so! Therefore, you would like to know how to lower it. Some classic tips include:
- Page load time should be reduced to a bare minimum – If pages are taking all the time to open, a visitor will be going to another option, understandably.
- Keep content game tight – Write, review, revise, repeat. You have to be the best provider in terms of content quality.
- Have strong links – Links mean you have partnered with the best in the business and that you have won the support of the most authentic people of your niche.
To conclude, the bounce rate affects SEO badly, and in some cases, it may not affect at all. Giving weightage to bounce rate depends entirely on the extent to which you depend on Google Analytics. The universal rule will always be excellent, and relevant content equals a low bounce rate and better ranking.