Is Bounce Rate A Google Ranking Element?

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Google search agents have regularly and clearly mentioned that they do not use Google Analytics data to rank websites.

However, there are discrepancies in between what Google states and what SEOs believe.

In spite of Google’s public statements, some search marketers continue to think that bounce rate remains in some method a ranking aspect.

Why do they think this? Is there any credibility to the claims against Google’s public statements?

Does Google utilize bounce rate to rank web pages?

[Suggested Read:]Google Ranking Aspects: Truth Or Fiction

The Claim: Bounce Rate As A Ranking Aspect

As current as Q3 2021, acknowledged and appreciated resources have perpetuated the misconception that bounce rate is a ranking aspect.

Rand Fishkin, Founder of MOZ, tweeted in Might 2020 that “… Google uses (relative) bounce rate (or something that’s quite darn close) to rank sites.”

Screenshot from Buy Twitter Verified, June 2022 Backlinko published a post (June 2020) about bounce rate stating that “bounce rate may be utilized as a Google Ranking aspect. “They point out an industry research study they ran and declare it discovered a correlation in between first-page Google rankings and bounce rate. Screenshot from Backlinko.com, June 2022 Later the very same year, Semrush reinforced this claim in December 2020, saying,” Bounce rate is an essential ranking element.”They did not offer proof to back up the claim. Screenshot from Semrush.com, June 2022 HubSpot included bounce rate in a rundown of” all 200 ranking aspects” in a cheat sheet

to Google’s recognized ranking factors in July 2021. Bounce rate is included as a factor two times under”site-level factors “and under”user interaction,” with no supporting proof for their claim. Screenshot from Hubspot.com, June 2022 So, let’s take a look at the evidence, shall we? The Proof: Bounce Rate As A Ranking Factor In”How Browse Functions, “Google says,”

… we use aggregated and anonymized interaction information to assess whether search results page are relevant to inquiries.”< img src="// www.w3.org/2000/svg%22%20viewBox=%220%200%20969%20325%22%3E%3C/svg%3E "alt="

Is Bounce Rate A Google Ranking Element?”width=”969″height=”325″data-src=”https://cdn.Best SMM Panel.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/5-how-search-works_relevance-of-web-pages-63594638c5b10-sej.png”/ > Screenshot from Google Browse, June 2022 The vague phrasing here has actually led to many assumptions about what”interaction information “Google utilizes to inform its device learning systems. Some online marketers think the” interaction data”includes bounce rate. They use a handful of research studies to support this hypothesis. The Backlinko research study

mentioned above ran a subset of domains from their own information set through Alexa to identify a site-wide time on website. They found that the typical time on website for a Google first-page outcome is 2.5 minutes.

Screenshot from Backlinko.com, June 2022 The research study goes on to clarify:” Please keep in mind that we aren’t suggesting that time on

website has a direct relationship with higher rankings.

Of course, Google may utilize something like time on website or bounce rate as a ranking signal(although they have actually formerly denied

it ). Or it might be the reality that premium material keeps people more engaged. Therefore a high time on site is a by-product of top quality content, which Google does measure. As this is a connection study, it’s difficult to figure out from our information alone.” Brian Dean confirmed in reply

to a remark that the research study did not in fact look at bounce rate (or pageviews). Screenshot from Backlinko.com, June 2022 The Backlinko study, which supposedly found a connection in between first-page Google rankings and bounce rate, did not take a look at bounce

rate. Rand Fishkin mentioned that Google utilizes relative bounce rate to rank websites, and discussed this topic with Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Citizen Strategist at Google Ireland, in 2016.

Rand described tests he had been running where he would ask people to do a search, click the seventh result, and after that observe over the next 24 hours what occurred to that page’s ranking for that question.

The outcomes were inconclusive.

In 7 to eight tests, rankings improved for a day or two. Rand said the rankings did not change in 4 to five tests.

Andrey responded that he believes it’s most likely that the social points out, links, and tweets (which are generally links) toss Google off momentarily till they can develop that the “sound” is irrelevant to the user intent.

Both the Backlinko study and Rand’s experiments helped form the bounce rate myth. But the study didn’t look at bounce rate, and Rand’s experiments did not prove a causational relationship in between user behavior and ranking.

[Download:] The Total Google Ranking Factors Guide.

Does Bounce Rate Affect Browse Rankings?

Google has mentioned that bounce rate is not a ranking factor for over a decade.

“Google Analytics is not used in search quality in any way for our rankings.”– Matt Cutts, Google Search Central, February 2, 2010.

“… we do not utilize analytics/bounce rate in search ranking.”– Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, Buy Twitter Verified, May 13, 2015.

“I believe there’s a little misconception here that we’re taking a look at things like the analytics bounce rate when it pertains to ranking websites, and that’s definitely not the case.”– John Mueller, Web Designer Trends Expert at Google, Webmaster Central office-hours, Jun 12, 2022.

Why Google Does Not Use Bounce Rate As A Ranking Factor

There are technical, sensible, and financial reasons that it is unlikely that Google would use bounce rate as a ranking aspect.

This can be summarized by looking at 3 primary truths:

  1. What bounce rate steps.
  2. Not all sites utilize Google Analytics.
  3. Bounce rate is easily controlled.

What Does Bounce Rate Measure?

A lot of the confusion around bounce rate can be cleaned up once people comprehend what bounce rate actually measures.

Bounce rate is a Google Analytics metric that determines the portion of single-page sessions (no secondary hits) to your site divided by the overall sessions.

Image developed by author, June 2022 Marketers frequently misinterpret this metric to indicate that the web page did not provide what the user was trying to find. But, all a bounce means is that a measurable event(secondary hit)did not take place. Technically speaking, Google can’t comprehend how long a user invests

on a page unless a 2nd hit happens. If a user invests 2.5 minutes reading the web page(as the Backlinko

study discovered associates with page rank)and then exits, it will count as a bounce since they did not send any subsequent hits to GA. So, bear in mind that bounce rate does not necessarily show a bad user experience. Users might click on a result, read it, and leave because their query was satisfied.

That’s an effective search, and it does not make sense for Google to penalize you for it. This is why Backlinko’s research study, looking at the time on the page, does not support the claim that bounce rate is a ranking aspect. [Discover:] More Google Ranking Factor Insights. Not All Websites Utilize Google Analytics While Google Analytics is a widely-used analytics tool, not all websites utilize it.

If Google utilized bounce rate as a ranking element, it would have to deal with sites with the GA code differently than those without the GA code.

If websites without the GA code were not graded by bounce rate, they would in theory have greater flexibility to publish whatever material they desired.

And if this held true, it would be illogical for any marketer to use the GA code. You see, Google Analytics is a “freemium” service. While many companies use their service for free, big companies pay a month-to-month fee for more advanced features.

The paid version is called GA 360, and pricing starts at$ 150,000 every year. There are 24,235 business currently utilizing GA 360. That corresponds to$3,635,250,000 per

year (on the low end.) Utilizing bounce rate as a ranking factor is not in Google’s

monetary interest. Bounce Rate Can Be Quickly Manipulated Some

of you may still not be encouraged. You might have even noticed a connection between typical position improving and bounce rate decreasing in your daily practice. While bounce rate and average ranking might associate, they

certainly are not dependent on each other. What takes place when you increase your bounce rate? Do the rankings fall back to where they were? Bounce rate is simple to manipulate, and you can try this experiment yourself. You will require to increase and reduce your bounce rate for this test while comparing the typical

position for a search query over time. Keep in mind that the bounce rate is sessions with no secondary hits/

all sessions. So, all you require to do to minimize your bounce rate is send out a secondary hit.

You can include a second pageview event utilizing Google Tag Manager. Do not make any other changes on-page or off-page; chart your average rankings over 3 months. Then eliminate this additional pageview tag. Did your typical rankings increase and

decrease in unison with modifying the bounce rate? Below is a graph of a fast variation of this study on my own site; one that shows no correlation in between bounce rate and average position. Image created by author, June 2022 Our Verdict: Bounce Rate Is Certainly Not A Ranking Factor< img src ="https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/rf-definitely-not-30-614c56b8b46b2-sej.png"alt="Is Bounce Rate A Google Ranking Factor?"/ > No, bounce rate is not a Google ranking element. Bounce rate is not a dependable measurement of the importance of webpages– and Google has actually consistently stated it does not utilize it for rankings. With big industry names like Rand and Backlinko putting their weight behind bounce rate as a ranking aspect, confusion is reasonable. Professionals have actually tested this user signal with differing results. Some experiments might have demonstrated a connection between bounce rate and SERP rankings in particular circumstances. Other experiments have not done that, but individuals reference them as if they’re evidence.”Validated ranking factor” requires a high degree of evidence.

Nobody has actually proven a causal relationship. You need to watch out for this in SEO, even when checking out relied on sources. SEO is complicated.

Google agents and industry pros love to joke that the answer to

every SEO question is: “It depends.”We’re all looking for methods to describe success in SERPs. However we require to avoid leaping

to conclusions, which can trigger individuals to invest resources in enhancing unofficial metrics. Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel< img src="// www.w3.org/2000/svg%22%20viewBox=%220%200%20760%20300%22%3E%3C/svg%3E "alt ="Ranking Aspects: Truth Or Fiction? Let's Bust Some

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