Are bounce rates hurting your chances of success?

Does your click through rate and bounce rate affect your rankings within the organic search results?

This is a two part question. Question one is whether having a higher click through rate is going to increase your rankings within the search engine results page? The thinking behind this question is that if you’re getting a higher click through rate, users find your website more relevant than the competition and therefore Google would reward you with higher positioning.

Question two is whether having a high bounce rate can affect your search engine results page? The thinking behind this question is that if a user clicks your link because they think it is relevant, visit the web page, don’t find what they want and bounce straight back to Google, then Google would move you lower down in the SERPs – because you’re not what they were looking for and therefore less relevant.

So is there any truth to these assumptions? Here at Melbourne SEO Services we haven’t found either to be the case.

To debunk myths, I often wonder how I would game the search engine if they were true?

Perhaps you could get a software program to use a proxy rotation server that would repeatedly click the links on your website within the organic results to move it up the rankings? Or perhaps you could hire a team in India to click your website in the SERPs to shift it up?

And then there’s the whole bounce rate issue. Perhaps you could go to your competitors, click their link, click ‘Back’ immediately – increasing their bounce rate?

And that’s just a few ideas I came up with off the top of my head. I’m sure the smart people at Google have thought all of these possibilities through.

With all that said and done, I think the only time I have seen the click through rate of a listing in Google affect the search engine results page is with personalized search. That is, when you’re logged into your Gmail account, Google analyzes your clicks and modifies the results based on your patterns. Again I think most SEOers have it wrong and I think all of this is over emphasized. It really only affects your website’s ranks or similar sites you visit regularly.

In short, click through and/or bounce rates don’t affect organic listings!

Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t try to improve your click through rate by improving your title tags and meta descriptions. Who knows, doing a few tweaks and increasing click through rate might even be easier than trying to find a new keyword to optimize for.

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