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Thread: Bounces (one-page visitors)

  1. #21
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    This is what I learned from the preceding discussion. For all the arguments against concerning oneself with bounce rate, G is still taking bounce rate into account in their algorithms, so I think I will, too. Just how they are taking it into account, I don't know (or care) but I do know that someone who searched for a term that put my page within their reach and they read the title and snippet and then decided to click on and visit my site, that is someone I need to try and satisfy.

    I also know that there is nothing they can do or learn or buy on my home page, so if they leave without going further, I know they did not find what they came for. I think it's a fair assumption, given that they searched for a keyword or -phrase that brought my index page forward and they thought the title and snippet was indicative that my page could give them what they wanted, that giving them what they want is within my business concept.

    I believe it is easier to satisfy people who come to my website (once I know what will satisfy them) than trying to satisfy people who do not click on my page or who do not search for terms that would bring my page forward. (Just like satisfying a walk-in in your store is easier than trying to satisfy total stangers who do not walk into your store.)

    So, I must indicate on my home page that I can provide what they are looking for. The trick is to figure out what the site visitor is really looking for that I am not indicating on the my home page.

    That is where I am stuck.

  2. #22
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    G is still taking bounce rate into account in their algorithms
    Do you have proof? Assuming they are using bounce rates as a signal do you know how much weight they give it? I'd be grateful if you could provide the answers since no one else has ever offer proof bounce rates matter or how much they might contribute.

    The problem is Google uses hundreds of different factors to determine where any page ranks. Bounce rate is a poor signal, because it's easy to spam. Assuming Google is using bounce rate it's unlikely it would have any kind of significant impact on where your pages rank. When I suggest over an over not to be myopic about seo this is what I'm talking about. You're going to end up spending time worrying about improving some metric when

    1. You have no idea if it's even being used
    2. Even if it is being used, you have no idea how much it really contributes to the algorithm

    I'll grant you the 1st one or at least say that if Google can track bounce rates then they'll probably try to use the data. However the second point above is why you'll waste time with this. Again Google themselves say they use hundreds of factors to rank web pages. Your goal in optimizing isn't to focus in on all of them. If you do you'll waste time. It's the equivalent of spending $100 on advertising to make back $1 in sales.

    As far as real users are concerned you can't look at bounce rates alone. Bounce rate vary wildly across industries and bounce rate alone tells you little to nothing about what's actually happening.
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    Just read this in an SEO newsletter --
    Google's blog mentions three examples of metrics that are important:

    Conversion rate: the percentage of visitors to your site who convert (buy something, fill out a form, etc.).
    Bounce rate: the percentage of visits to your site who leave your site immediately.
    Clickthrough rate: how often people click on your site out of all the times your site gets shown in search results.

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    Google's blog says a lot of things that turn out not to be true. Google often posts based on what they want you to do more than they post about what actually works.

    However assuming it is true that they look at bounce rates and I have no doubt that they do look at them, the issue is how much does it actually count toward where a page ranks in the algorithm. There are hundreds of different metrics that Google looks at and they aren't equal. Bounce rates are unlikely to be a strong signal on their own. An example:

    Someone clicks on a link in the search results, lands on a page, and hits their back button instantly.

    Another person clicks on a link in the search results, lands on a page, spends 5 minutes reading an article, and then clicks a link in the article to another site.

    Both of the above are recorded as a bounce, but they are very different. The second one is a strong indication that the page contained quality content that was a good match for the query and should probably continue to rank well for that query. The first one isn't. Again those both are recorded as a bounce so if you only consider bounce rates by itself it gives you an incorrect picture of the above two pages.

    What I'm saying is that bounce rate by itself is not a useful metric. It's only when you combine it with other metrics that it tells you anything useful. If you focus only on bounce rates without looking at other metrics you're wasting your time and you're very likely going to take some effective pages and make them less effective. You need to look at other metrics in combination with bounce rates before you can know how to respond.
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