Bounce Rate & SEO: Bounce Rate is NOT a Ranking Factor. Here’s Why…
If you’ve ever wondered if bounce rate is a factor in SEO, we can say… probably not. What is definitely a factor, though, is Dwell Time.
— Mike Kilinski (@mikekilinski) September 7, 2017
That’s a Google employee at the Think Auto conference in Toronto stating that the amount of time people spend on your page(s) is a SEO factor.
What is Bounce Rate?
It’s a one page visit to a website. The user doesn’t click your navigation or see a second page on the website before hitting the back button or closing the browser tab.
What is Dwell Time?
Dwell time is the amount of time someone spent on your page before hitting the back button and returning to Google. The only way Google can measure Dwell Time is by a user visiting Google, going to another page, then heading back to Google.
In the below video there’s a pretty good explanation of Dwell Time at 0:40.
Bounce Rates Don’t Matter for SEO!
The Bounce Rate % from Google Analytics isn’t a measurement that will impact SEO. The Time on Site metric won’t either because that value is measured between page loads, and not as a second counter as is commonly thought. If only one page is loaded, there’s no way for Analytics to tell the Time on Site.
Weather sites do a great job of answering a query like “weather vancouver” in one page. That’ll look like a bounce in Google Analytics and a negative hit. It’s really a positive. The weather website has answered the user’s question and that’s what Google is trying to reward.
Click through rate on the Google results is definitely a ranking factor. So, if a weather website is consistency getting clicked for the answer, but they’re all one page visits, Google doesn’t care. They’re doing a great job and should be at the top of the results.
What is a Good Bounce Rate for SEO?
It doesn’t matter. The question should be What is a good Dwell Time for SEO. The problem is that Google doesn’t provide this information. It takes some time and custom implementation in Google Tag Manager.
How to Find Your Dwell Time Metric
If interested, there’s a great explanation in the video above, or there’s a step by step process listed on the post Measure SERP Bounce Time With GTM. The result will look like the below graphic (lifted from his post).
Does Bounce Rate Matter at All?
Not for SEO, but of course it does for sales and leads.
If someone is looking for “public relations company seattle”, clicks on your site then clicks back, that’s bad news. People need to vet a Public Relations firm, see how big they are, look at their expertise and past clients. Seeing a high bounce rate on a site like that is bad for business.