Google search representatives have consistently and clearly stated that they do not use Google Analytics data to rank sites.
However, there are disparities between what Google states and what SEOs believe.
Regardless of Google’s public declarations, some search marketers continue to believe that bounce rate is in some way a ranking element.
Why do they think this? Is there any validity to the claims versus Google’s public declarations?
Does Google use bounce rate to rank websites?
[Suggested Read:]Google Ranking Elements: Truth Or Fiction
The Claim: Bounce Rate As A Ranking Aspect
As recent as Q3 2021, recognized and respected resources have perpetuated the myth that bounce rate is a ranking element.
Rand Fishkin, Creator of MOZ, tweeted in May 2020 that “… Google utilizes (relative) bounce rate (or something that’s pretty darn close) to rank websites.”
Screenshot from Buy Twitter Verified, June 2022 Backlinko released a post (June 2020) about bounce rate stating that “bounce rate may be used as a Google Ranking factor. “They mention an industry study they ran and claim it found 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 offer evidence to back up the claim. Screenshot from Semrush.com, June 2022 HubSpot included bounce rate in a rundown of” all 200 ranking elements” in a cheat sheet
to Google’s known ranking consider July 2021. Bounce rate is included as an aspect two times under”site-level factors “and under”user interaction,” without any supporting proof for their claim. Screenshot from Hubspot.com, June 2022 So, let’s have a look at the proof, shall we? The Proof: Bounce Rate As A Ranking Aspect In”How Search Works, “Google says,”
… we utilize aggregated and anonymized interaction information to assess whether search engine result 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 vague wording here has led to many assumptions about what”interaction data “Google uses to notify its maker learning systems. Some marketers believe the” interaction information”consists of 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 figure out 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 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 website or bounce rate as a ranking signal(although they have previously rejected
it ). Or it may be the truth that top quality material keeps people more engaged. For that reason a due time on website is a by-product of high-quality content, which Google does measure. As this is a correlation research study, it’s difficult to identify from our data alone.” Brian Dean verified in reply
to a comment that the research study did not actually look at bounce rate (or pageviews). Screenshot from Backlinko.com, June 2022 The Backlinko study, which supposedly discovered a correlation between first-page Google rankings and bounce rate, did not take a look at bounce
rate. Rand Fishkin mentioned that Google uses relative bounce rate to rank sites, and discussed this subject with Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google Ireland, in 2016.
Rand described tests he had actually been running where he would ask individuals to do a search, click the seventh outcome, and then observe over the next 24 hours what took place to that page’s ranking for that inquiry.
The outcomes were inconclusive.
In 7 to eight tests, rankings improved for a day or two. Rand stated the rankings did not change in 4 to five tests.
Andrey reacted that he thinks it’s most likely that the social mentions, links, and tweets (which are basically links) toss Google off temporarily up until they can establish that the “sound” is irrelevant to the user intent.
Both the Backlinko research study and Rand’s experiments assisted form the bounce rate myth. But the study didn’t look at bounce rate, and Rand’s experiments did not prove a causational relationship between user habits 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 element for over a years.
“Google Analytics is not used in search quality in any way 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 believe there’s a little bit of misunderstanding here that we’re looking at things like the analytics bounce rate when it pertains to ranking sites, which’s certainly not the case.”– John Mueller, Web Designer Trends Analyst at Google, Webmaster Central office-hours, Jun 12, 2022.
Why Google Does Not Use Bounce Rate As A Ranking Element
There are technical, logical, and financial reasons why it is improbable that Google would use bounce rate as a ranking factor.
This can be summarized by looking at three main facts:
- What bounce rate procedures.
- Not all sites utilize Google Analytics.
- Bounce rate is easily controlled.
What Does Bounce Rate Procedure?
A lot of the confusion around bounce rate can be cleaned up once individuals comprehend what bounce rate in fact determines.
Bounce rate is a Google Analytics metric that measures the percentage of single-page sessions (no secondary hits) to your site divided by the overall sessions.
Image created by author, June 2022 Marketers frequently misinterpret this metric to mean that the web page did not provide what the user was searching for. However, all a bounce indicates is that a measurable occasion(secondary hit)did not take place. Technically speaking, Google can’t understand the length of time a user invests
on a page unless a 2nd hit occurs. If a user spends 2.5 minutes reading the webpage(as the Backlinko
study found correlates 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, bear in mind that bounce rate does not always show a bad user experience. Users might click on an outcome, read it, and leave since their question was pleased.
That’s an effective search, and it doesn’t 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 factor. [Discover:] More Google Ranking Element Insights. Not All Sites Use Google Analytics While Google Analytics is a widely-used analytics tool, not all websites use it.
If Google used bounce rate as a ranking element, it would need to treat sites with the GA code in a different way than those without the GA code.
If websites without the GA code were not graded by bounce rate, they would in theory have higher flexibility to publish whatever material they desired.
And if this held true, it would be illogical for any online marketer to use the GA code. You see, Google Analytics is a “freemium” service. While most companies utilize their service free of charge, large companies pay a monthly fee for advanced functions.
The paid version is called GA 360, and prices begins at$ 150,000 each year. There are 24,235 companies presently using GA 360. That equates 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 Quickly Manipulated Some
of you might still not be persuaded. You may have even observed a correlation between average position enhancing and bounce rate reducing in your daily practice. While bounce rate and average ranking might associate, 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 simple to manipulate, and you can attempt this experiment yourself. You will need to increase and reduce your bounce rate for this test while comparing the typical
position for a search inquiry gradually. Bear in mind that the bounce rate is sessions with zero secondary hits/
all sessions. So, all you need to do to minimize your bounce rate is send out a secondary hit.
You can include a second pageview occasion utilizing 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
decrease in unison with modifying the bounce rate? Below is a chart of a fast variation of this study on my own site; one that shows no connection between bounce rate and typical position. Image produced by author, June 2022 Our Decision: Bounce Rate Is Definitely Not A Ranking Aspect< 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 trustworthy measurement of the relevance of webpages– and Google has consistently said it does not use it for rankings. With huge industry names like Rand and Backlinko putting their weight behind bounce rate as a ranking aspect, confusion is reasonable. Specialists have tested this user signal with differing outcomes. Some experiments may have demonstrated a connection in between bounce rate and SERP rankings in particular circumstances. Other experiments have not done that, however people reference them as if they’re evidence.”Verified ranking element” needs a high degree of evidence.
No one has actually shown a causal relationship. You need to keep an eye out for this in SEO, even when checking out trusted sources. SEO is complicated.
Google agents and industry pros enjoy to joke that the answer to
every SEO question is: “It depends.”We’re all trying to find methods to discuss success in SERPs. However we need to prevent jumping
to conclusions, which can trigger individuals to invest resources in enhancing unconfirmed metrics. Featured 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: Reality Or Fiction? Let's Bust Some
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