Bounce rate - Website visitors and Google ranking factor

Bounce rate - Website visitors and Google ranking factor

Bounce rate - Website visitors and Google ranking factor, what have they common? Direct or organic traffic to a website, the bounce rate. According to new research, it has all affect your ranking in Google. In this article, I will discuss the results and tell you what this means for you as a marketer.

Bounce rate - Website visitors and Google ranking factor

Online marketing platform SEMrush has announced the results of their follow-up study into the 17 factors that are important for the ranking of websites in Google. In comparison with the first edition of this study, the second edition concentrates more on backlink-related elements. Also investigated is how the analysed factors have an impact on the ranking of a specific URL.

The report is based on an analysis of 600,000 keywords from the worldwide SEMrush database, including the first 100 SERP positions of each of these keywords. A self-learning algorithm 'Random Forest' has been used to determine the relevance of each of the analysed factors.

  1. Direct website visitors.
    The study shows what most of us will expect. Direct traffic to a website is the most influential factor of the 17 that are analysed. Google prefers sites with a strong brand name. When people search online and directly type in a URL to go to a website, that is a positive signal to Google. The domain has a lot of authority and value.
  2. Time on the site.
    Other factors that have a strong influence on how well pages are ranked are user behavioural signals. Consider the time someone spends on a website, the number of pages visited per session and the bounce rate. These signals show the quality and relevance of a site for users.
  3. Pages per session.
    How many pages a visitor is reading. So Google is counting the clicts a visitor is making inside de website.
  4. Bounce rate.
    The bounce rate of top positions of low-volume keywords is about 49%. This is about 51% for keywords with a high volume. In short, if visitors to a website immediately click away, this can have an adverse effect on your ranking.
  5. Backlinks.
    Backlink factors are crucial for rankings except for the elements that deal with anchor texts. Anchor texts are mainly seen as search engine friendly but are not required for a high position in Google. All backlink factors together share the fifth place in the ranking of most influential factors. The more popular the keywords for which the domain is ranked, the more backlinks lead to the domain.

Bounce rate - Website visitors and Google ranking factor

Backlink and Google ranking factor

The study also shows that all backlink factors influence each other. This means that the position in Google will probably not change if an SEO specialist boosts the value of one of the elements, but ignores the others. They should all receive equal attention.

As confirmed by Google, a strong backlink portfolio is essential for the ranking of a website. All backlink data are linked together, and you purely concentrate on just one of them will not change anything about your ranking. You can experiment with various link building strategies, such as link baiting. With this, you get organic links with strong content. Working on your PR also helps as soon as media links to articles or articles of opinion, that helps tremendously with building your reputation and increasing your relevance.

The niche of high search volumes is very competitive, and with a considerable backlink portfolio usually occupy the top positions.

There is less competition on SERPs with a low search volume. That is where your link building efforts have an extra effect, and you notice that in your ranking. So if you are working with link building by, for example, getting your content to the attention of the media, then it pays extra by doing this with less popular or unique content.

Bounce rate - Website visitors and Google ranking factor

Now we have collected all 5 points and put them in order of importance. We now understand that backlinks and visitors are important ranking factors. But what are visitors according to Google?

A unique visitor is someone who has visited your website at least once in a specific period. Google Analytics calls unique visitors users. Suppose someone visits site A on Monday, looks at three pages and then leaves again. On Tuesday, the same visitor returns to website A but then looks at two pages. In Analytics, this person is measured as one unique visitor or user who has visited five pages. A unique visitor can, therefore, make multiple visits and view several pages. That is accurately tracked in Google Analytics.

Unique visitors are called users.
For a long time, Google used the term 'unique visitors' to indicate how many people visited your website at least once. This means both new visitors and returning visitors. Today, Analytics uses the word 'users' for this. This is the same, so the above explanation for unique visitors also applies to users.

Google also makes a difference in direct and organic visitors.

What type of visitors is assigned to Direct Traffic?

  • Enter the URL of your website (e.g. in the address bar of their browser.
  • Visit your website via bookmarks.
  • Click on untagged links in e-mails or so-called instant messaging conversations (such as Skype and MSN Messenger).
  • Click on non-tagged links included in PDF documents, Word documents or Excel sheets.
  • Click on untagged links in phone applications.
  • Click on a 302 redirect link in which the redirect server does not provide a referrer.
  • Click on links in secure web pages that are unable to provide referring information.

Please note: the above applies if a visitor enters your website for the first time. If the first visit by a visitor originates from organic search results, referring sites or any other tagged traffic source (e.g. Google AdWords) and the second visit via a form of Direct Traffic, the visitor is assigned to a non-direct traffic source. This is caused by the standard cookie time of 6 months.

What type of visitors is assigned to Organic Traffic?

Organic search traffic in Google Analytics are visitors who came to your website by typing a word in a search engine and clicking on the search result of your site. This concern visits from people who did not end up on your site via an advertisement!

Conclusion is that traffic that comes from paid sites or purchased trafic, will damage your site in terms of ranking.

Bounce rate

Visitors from paid sites to earn money with the ad clicks are often too short on a website. The bounce rate will increase, and the ranking will be lower. These visitors are unlikely to click through to another page on the same site. They are NOT unique, most off them come from the same IP adress or from a domein with the same name or partly the same name. They are not UNIQUE anymore.

Backlinks: quality goes beyond the quantity

Unfortunately, in 2019 even safe content-based links (such as guest blogging) can be misused. That is partly due to the Google Penguin update and buzz on the web. That's why guest blogs have been around for several years as an excellent method to build links.

Some digital marketers followed this advice a bit too enthusiastically. As a result guest blogging is now also common. Thousands - if not millions - of websites have now been correctly set up to generate money for the owners via guest blogging. These are sites that ask for money for "administration costs". What used to be called directory entries, now has the label ... "guest blogging".

Every month both small and large brands generate an enormous number of guest posts. We all know that Google is cautious when using link building. Already in 2014, I predicted that the search engine would come up with some important changes. Target low-quality sites that are specifically designed to deliver guest posts. That prediction has come true.

Google penalises low-quality link building.

For companies that have to build hundreds of links every month, this creates a lot of stress. For example, by site content used by the owner in the past for "spammy" purposes. Even though it is now only used for placing links. This type of site does not give your customer any benefit if a link is placed on it. And those who have too many of these links can be fined by Google. To avoid common blunders.

A punishment from Google is something that you want to avoid at all costs. Not only does the website of your customer get a big hit in the search results, but it is also a complicated and lengthy process to recover from this. If you have many low-quality backlinks, Google will rate your website as spammy. You must then actively appeal and improve the quality of the link profile significantly. Only then will the search giant revise his opinion.

The SEMrush study also shows that all backlink factors influence each other. This means that the position in Google will probably NOT CHANGE if an SEO specialist boosts the value of one of the factors, but ignores the others. They should all receive equal attention!