How Bounce Rates Affect SEO
February 19, 2013
If you are anything like me, the term “bounce” conjures up images of jumping on mattresses and whacking other people in a friendly pillow fight. This is why I think “bounce rate” is a deceptively peppy name. It sounds like such fun, doesn’t it?
Disappointingly, this term has next to nothing to do with pillow fights.
When someone finds your site on a search engine but then uses the back browser button, closes the tab or otherwise doesn’t move past that first page they entered your site with, they have “bounced” off your site. In other words, your bounce rate measures the number of visits that don’t result in further site exploration, or “click-throughs.”
“So,” I hear you ask, “High bounce rates are always bad, then?”
Unfortunately, as with everything else in SEO, it isn’t that simple. Bounce rates are simply another piece of information to analyze in conjunction with several other factors. A high bounce rate coupled with a high average site visit time, for example, may indicate to search engines that your site is good at meeting visitors’ needs immediately. If that is the case, then you may find that high bounce rate actually helps search engines recognize your site as an authority and is good for your SEO campaign.
But generally speaking, a high bounce rate is something that may need some attention.
“OK, so what makes people bounce from my sight?” You ask. (I know you probably didn’t actually ask that just now, but play along).
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to a high bounce rate.
- Does your site have enough information?
- Do the descriptions of your pages accurately reflect the content on those pages?
- Have you chosen the most relevant pages for your keywords?
- Do you invite people to click through by making your links easily accessible and descriptive?
- Are you psychic and easily able to anticipate the needs of every person who accesses your site?
Admittedly, that last one may be a bit much to ask.
“If I have done all that, is there anything else I can do?” You continue to impress and amaze me with your relevant and thought-provoking questions.
And as a matter of fact, there is. Having a strong social media presence will encourage visitors to remember your brand and therefore return to your site. You do this by giving them links throughout your website to your social media profiles, blogs, etc. If you can encourage visitors to like your Facebook page, follow your Twitter account or +1 your Google Plus profile, you will have a better chance of bringing them back to click through your site another time.
“Can I go and bounce on the bed now?”
Absolutely. I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.