3 Reasons a High Website Bounce Rate Kills Your SEO

Dec 5, 2013

One upon a time, whoever had the website with the largest number of hits was thought to be the most successful. But times have changed, and happily so, since the number of hits your website gets is actually a misleading statistic. One visitor can potentially generate hundreds of hits in just one visit, because a hit, by definition, is just a file transfer. Every image, document, video, or item on your website, including each page itself, is a file. So if you have 10 pictures on your main page, someone who lands on your page and leaves will generate 11 hits: 10 for the pictures, one for the page itself. That’s why, in this day and age, the most important website statistic by far is your bounce rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who come to your site and immediately leave without clicking on anything or interacting with your page at all. Search engines are starting to understand that a high bounce rate is indicative of one or a few problems with your site that make it unattractive to visitors, so a high bounce rate will kill your SEO ranking. Below is a brief overview of why this is so.

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Indicates Irrelevance

The main reason a high bounce rate ruins your SEO ranking is because it can indicate that your content is not relevant. If a person searches for something, clicks on an ad, or goes directly to your site and then immediately leaves, it might mean that what they saw on your page was not relevant to what they were searching for. This happens when, for instance, you have a page dedicated to selling bracelets, but in an effort to attract all jewelry shoppers you tag photos with “earrings” and “necklaces”, as well. Anyone looking for necklaces who lands on your earrings page won’t find what they want.

Indicates Disinterest

If people don’t click through your content, it might mean that they are not interested in what you have to offer on your page. Websites that aren’t engaging to users will not rank highly with search engines, either. No matter how great your website is technically, if it’s not drawing people in and it isn’t interesting to your customer, it does you no good.

Indicates Lack of Depth

A good website will have multiple pages and sub-pages that are helpful, relevant, and engaging to the reader. Think of your website like a building. If you have one webpage, you’re inviting someone to come into a one-room building. All they can really do is look around and exit. But by having links, pages, sub-pages, a blog, and so on, you’re inviting them into a mansion with many doors, and they will be led through those doors and explore your site. Search engines love sites with depth, and since a high bounce rate can mean there isn’t much content to explore, a high bounce rate will kill your SEO.

Because of the way search engines crawl site, it’s important to reduce your bounce rate. Industry standards indicate a bounce rate of 30 percent or less is ideal. Keep content plentiful and engaging, with many pages and sub-pages filled with relevant content, and you should be able to reduce your bounce rate and increase your SEO ranking.