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Is Bounce Rate a Google Ranking Factor?

Does Bounce Rate Affect Your Google Ranking?See if it's a ranking factor and learn about any impact on organic traffic here.

Hands up if you started your SEO day with the goal of trying to increase your bounce rate... anyone??anyone there?

All too often, SEO advice is passed down through so many different people that it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.Bounce rates are just another victim of disinformation in the SEO community.You may have read such SEO advice from Brian Dean at Backlinko, who backs it up with his own "industry research."

However, his "industry research" was quickly dubbed "effective link bait" by the SEO community.

It should be a red flag when I see bounce rate paired with pogo-sticking, where he continues to spread disinformation.

To confirm, pogo-sticking is not a ranking factor.But let me say something off topic.

So, what's the truth - is bounce rate a ranking factor?Does Bounce Rate Affect Your Organic Traffic?

Let's investigate.

Disclaimer: Bounce Rate as a Ranking Factor

The bounce rate reminds me of those reality TV spring break shows;It's full of unrealistic expectations that end up letting your hopes rise.While the cast of "The Hills" appear to be locked up in a swanky hotel in Tulum, they're actually in a Motel 6 in Miami.

This is the bounce rate I see in terms of SEO.

So, what is a bounce rate?

Bounce rate is related to the percentage of a single interactive visit to your website.Google Analytics tracks the number of people who visit your pages and leave without viewing other pages on your site.

Bounce rate doesn't necessarily mean you need to improve the quality of your website.Your website's user flow should be designed for your customer journey, not bounce rate.

Here are some myths, facts, and truths you should know about how bounce rate affects your rankings.

Bounce Rate as a Ranking Factor: Evidence

On June 2020, 6, Google's John Mueller confirmed that Google will not use bounce rate as a ranking factor in Webmaster Hangouts.

"I think there's some misconception here that we're looking at things like analyzing bounce rates when we rank sites, and that's not the case.

There is historical data to support this message.

On April 2017, 4, Google's Gary Illyes tweeted, "Bounce rate is not a good sign.

And, back in 2008, Google's Matt Cutts said on the Sphinn forum, "Not only can bounce rates become spammable, they can be noisy.

"A search industry guy recently sent me some questions about how Google can improve bounce rates, and I was like, 'Man, I don't know anything about bounce rates or anything like that.Why don't you talk to this Google Analytics evangelist who understands things like bounce rates and more?I just haven't even met people who talk about this in my daily life.

It’s safe to say that bounce rate as a ranking factor is a myth.

Does Bounce Rate Affect Search Rankings?

Bounce rate does not directly affect organic rankings.

However, it indirectly affects other ranking factors that Google cares about – slow page speed, low quality design, poor mobile optimization, etc.

This is where time on page and bounce rate meet.Taken together, these metrics can tell you that you have created a good user experience.

If your page has a low bounce rate and a long time on the page, your page position is good.

A long time on the page shows that your content is engaging – creating an engaging website is a better use of your time than trying to optimize your bounce rate.

Bounce Rate as a Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

No, bounce rate is not a Google ranking factor.

Bounce rate is just one metric – Google has repeatedly stated that this does not directly affect Google rankings.

Should you track your bounce rate and try to increase it?Yes – because this is a metric you can use to see if your content is successful.

Improving your bounce rate won't help you rank better on Google.However, a lower bounce rate is often a good indicator that your content is engaging, valuable or useful.

Even though most of the SEO community has thoroughly dismissed this idea as a myth, it still lives on in one way or another.

So the next time a client, colleague, peer or your boss is 100% sure that bounce rate is a Google ranking factor (because they read some bad information), send them this article.

Extended reading:

Is Author Authority a Google Ranking Factor?

Anchor Text as a Google Ranking Factor: Everything You Need to Know

Top 8 Google Ranking Factors - What Really Matters for SEO

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