Google search agents have regularly and clearly stated that they do not use Google Analytics information to rank sites.
However, there are disparities in between what Google states and what SEOs believe.
Despite Google’s public statements, some search marketers continue to believe that bounce rate remains in some way a ranking factor.
Why do they think this? Is there any credibility to the claims versus Google’s public declarations?
Does Google utilize bounce rate to rank webpages?
[Recommended Read:]Google Ranking Aspects: Fact Or Fiction
The Claim: Bounce Rate As A Ranking Aspect
As current as Q3 2021, acknowledged and respected resources have actually 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 websites.”
Screenshot from Buy Twitter Verified, June 2022 Backlinko published a post (June 2020) about bounce rate saying that “bounce rate might be utilized as a Google Ranking element. “They cite an industry research study they ran and claim it discovered a correlation in between first-page Google rankings and bounce rate. Screenshot from Backlinko.com, June 2022 Later on the very same year, Semrush enhanced this claim in December 2020, stating,” Bounce rate is an important ranking element.”They did not supply evidence 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 known ranking factors in July 2021. Bounce rate is included as an aspect two times under”site-level aspects “and under”user interaction,” with no supporting evidence for their claim. Screenshot from Hubspot.com, June 2022 So, let’s take a look at the evidence, shall we? The Evidence: Bounce Rate As A Ranking Element In”How Browse Functions, “Google says,”
… we use aggregated and anonymized interaction data to assess whether search results relate to questions.”< 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 Factor?”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 unclear phrasing here has actually caused many presumptions about what”interaction data “Google uses to notify its device finding out systems. Some online marketers believe the” interaction data”includes bounce rate. They utilize a handful of studies to support this hypothesis. The Backlinko research study
pointed out above ran a subset of domains from their own data set through Alexa to determine a site-wide time on website. They found that the average time on website for a Google first-page result is 2.5 minutes.
Screenshot from Backlinko.com, June 2022 The study goes on to clarify:” Please remember that we aren’t recommending that time on
website has a direct relationship with greater rankings.
Of course, Google might utilize something like time on site or bounce rate as a ranking signal(although they have previously rejected
it ). Or it might be the truth that premium content keeps individuals more engaged. Therefore a due time on site is a byproduct of premium material, which Google does determine. As this is a connection research study, it’s impossible to identify from our data alone.” Brian Dean verified in reply
to a comment that the research study did not in fact look at bounce rate (or pageviews). Screenshot from Backlinko.com, June 2022 The Backlinko research study, which apparently found a correlation between first-page Google rankings and bounce rate, did not look at bounce
rate. Rand Fishkin mentioned that Google utilizes relative bounce rate to rank sites, and discussed this topic with Andrey Lipattsev, Browse Quality Senior Citizen Strategist at Google Ireland, in 2016.
Rand explained tests he had actually been running where he would ask individuals to do a search, click on the seventh outcome, and after that observe over the next 24 hours what took place to that page’s ranking for that question.
The outcomes were inconclusive.
In 7 to 8 tests, rankings improved for a day or more. Rand stated the rankings did not alter in 4 to 5 tests.
Andrey responded that he thinks it’s most likely that the social points out, links, and tweets (which are generally links) toss Google off momentarily up until they can establish that the “sound” is irrelevant to the user intent.
Both the Backlinko study and Rand’s experiments assisted shape the bounce rate myth. But the research study didn’t take a look at bounce rate, and Rand’s experiments did not prove a causational relationship between user behavior and ranking.
[Download:] The Total Google Ranking Factors Guide.
Does Bounce Rate Affect Search Rankings?
Google has actually specified that bounce rate is not a ranking factor for over a decade.
“Google Analytics is not used in search quality in any method for our rankings.”– Matt Cutts, Google Browse Central, February 2, 2010.
“… we do not use analytics/bounce rate in search ranking.”– Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, Buy Twitter Verified, May 13, 2015.
“I think there’s a little bit of mistaken belief here that we’re taking a look at things like the analytics bounce rate when it concerns ranking sites, and that’s absolutely not the case.”– John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, Web designer Central office-hours, Jun 12, 2022.
Why Google Does Not Utilize Bounce Rate As A Ranking Element
There are technical, logical, and monetary reasons it is unlikely that Google would use bounce rate as a ranking element.
This can be summarized by looking at 3 main realities:
- What bounce rate steps.
- Not all websites utilize Google Analytics.
- Bounce rate is quickly manipulated.
What Does Bounce Rate Step?
A lot of the confusion around bounce rate can be cleaned up once people comprehend what bounce rate actually determines.
Bounce rate is a Google Analytics metric that measures the percentage of single-page sessions (no secondary hits) to your website divided by the total sessions.
Image produced by author, June 2022 Online marketers typically misinterpret this metric to indicate that the webpage did not offer what the user was searching for. But, all a bounce means is that a quantifiable occasion(secondary hit)did not take place. Technically speaking, Google can’t comprehend the length of time a user spends
on a page unless a second hit occurs. If a user spends 2.5 minutes checking out the web page(as the Backlinko
research study found associates with page rank)and after that exits, it will count as a bounce due to the fact that they did not send out any subsequent hits to GA. So, keep in mind that bounce rate does not necessarily suggest a bad user experience. Users may click on an outcome, read it, and leave because their query was satisfied.
That’s an effective search, and it doesn’t make sense for Google to penalize you for it. This is why Backlinko’s study, looking at the time on the page, does not support the claim that bounce rate is a ranking factor. [Discover:] More Google Ranking Factor Insights. Not All Websites Utilize Google Analytics While Google Analytics is a widely-used analytics tool, not all sites use it.
If Google utilized bounce rate as a ranking element, it would need to deal with websites with the GA code differently than those without the GA code.
If sites without the GA code were not graded by bounce rate, they would in theory have greater liberty to release whatever material they wanted.
And if this held true, it would be illogical for any online marketer to utilize the GA code. You see, Google Analytics is a “freemium” service. While most businesses utilize their service totally free, large business pay a month-to-month cost for advanced features.
The paid version is called GA 360, and prices starts at$ 150,000 annually. There are 24,235 business presently utilizing GA 360. That relates to$3,635,250,000 per
year (on the low end.) Using bounce rate as a ranking factor is not in Google’s
financial interest. Bounce Rate Can Be Easily Manipulated Some
of you may still not be encouraged. You might have even noticed a correlation in between typical position improving and bounce rate decreasing in your day-to-day practice. While bounce rate and average ranking might correlate, they
definitely are not dependent on each other. What happens when you increase your bounce rate? Do the rankings fall back to where they were? Bounce rate is easy to manipulate, and you can attempt this experiment yourself. You will require to increase and decrease your bounce rate for this test while comparing the average
position for a search question over time. Remember that the bounce rate is sessions with zero secondary hits/
all sessions. So, all you require to do to reduce your bounce rate is send a secondary hit.
You can add a second pageview occasion using Google Tag Supervisor. Do not make any other modifications on-page or off-page; chart your average rankings over three months. Then remove this additional pageview tag. Did your average rankings increase and
reduce in unison with modifying the bounce rate? Below is a chart of a fast version of this study on my own site; one that shows no correlation in between bounce rate and average position. Image produced by author, June 2022 Our Decision: Bounce Rate Is Definitely Not A Ranking Element< 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 Element?"/ > No, bounce rate is not a Google ranking aspect. Bounce rate is not a trusted measurement of the importance of websites– and Google has repeatedly said it does not utilize it for rankings. With huge market names like Rand and Backlinko putting their weight behind bounce rate as a ranking factor, confusion is reasonable. Experts have actually checked this user signal with varying outcomes. Some experiments may have shown a correlation between bounce rate and SERP rankings in certain scenarios. Other experiments have not done that, however individuals reference them as if they’re evidence.”Verified ranking aspect” requires a high degree of evidence.
Nobody has actually shown a causal relationship. You require to watch out for this in SEO, even when checking out relied on sources. SEO is made complex.
Google representatives and market pros love to joke that the answer to
every SEO question is: “It depends.”We’re all looking for ways to explain success in SERPs. However we require to prevent leaping
to conclusions, which can trigger people to invest resources in improving unconfirmed 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 Factors: Truth Or Fiction? Let's Bust Some
Myths! [Ebook] width =”760″height =”300 “data-src=”https://cdn.Best SMM Panel.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/rf-ebook-download-banner-62e8c6126ffe8-sej.jpg”/ >