How the bounce rate of your website can affect
your Google rankings
Does Google use the bounce rate of a web page to specify
the position of that page in the search results? What does
this mean for your website rankings and what can you do to
get a better bounce rate?
What is the bounce rate?
There are two definitions: the bounce rate of your website
is the percentage of visitors who see just one page of
your website or the percentage of visitors who stay on
your site for a small amount of time (only a few seconds).
bounce rate helps you to measure the quality of traffic
that your website gets and it also helps you to find out
where your web pages could be improved.
Google's definition of the bounce rate
The Google Analytics documentation defines the bounce
rate as follows:
"Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits
(i.e. visits in which the person left your site from
the entrance page). Bounce rate is a measure of visit
quality and a high bounce rate generally indicates that
site entrance (landing) pages aren't relevant to your
This Google definition already indicates that Google thinks
that web pages with a high bounce rate aren't relevant
to website visitors. If your web pages have a high bounce
rate for a search term, Google might lower the rankings
of your website for that search term.
Does Google use the bounce rate as a ranking factor?
Google has the ability to collect the bounce rate with
the Google toolbar and Google Analytics. In addition, Google
can measure the time between visits to their search engine
by the same user and they can use the Google Chrome browser
to measure the complete surfing behavior of users.
Last month, a webmaster performed a test that
showed a significant ranking change as a result of a significant
bounce rate change. The test is not very conclusive but
chances are that Google really uses the bounce rate as
a ranking factor.
The bounce rate alone might not be used by Google but
combined with other factors, it could have an effect on
the rankings. For example, Google could measure how many
people start a new search for the same topic after visiting
your web page. That would be an indicator that your website
is not suitable for the chosen keyword.
What can you do to lower the bounce rate of your
A high bounce rate is usually a sign of a low quality
web page. This means that your web page either doesn't
offer what the visitor is searching for or the usability
of your web page isn't good.
If you improved the contents and the usability of your
web pages, you might lower your bounce rate from 75% to
65%. This would lead to a remarkable 40% increase in conversions
(35 out of 100 visitors now stay on your website instead
of 25 out of 100 visitors).
In addition to improving the usability of your web pages,
you can lower your bounce rate by tailoring your landing
pages to the keywords and ads that you run. If your landing
pages offer the information that the searchers are looking
for then you will get a lower bounce rate.
Lowering the bounce rate of your web pages has two major
benefits: it's likely that you will get more visitors from
search engines and you will get a higher conversion rate.
The only exceptions to the scenario above are one page websites
and web pages that offer very compelling content on a single
web page (for example Wikipedia pages).
Search engines use many more ranking factors than just the
bounce rate. If you want to get high rankings on Google and
other search engines, you should make sure that your web
pages offer all
elements that are necessary to get high rankings.