First: Let’s make sure we’re talking bounce rate and not click back:
- Bounce rate is when you don’t go to a second page on the same website. Maybe you entered from search, a referral link, or direct load. You visit one page and read it from top to bottom. You spend 15 minutes on the page, but never click to another page on the same website. You finally leave the site by typing a new URL in, or following a link which leaves the site completely.
- Click Back is when you reach a page from a search result and say “whoa, this sucks” and hit back in your browser, to find a more relevant site from the search results. You come from search, and return to the same search results with one page in between.
What is a good bounce rate?
So, is bounce rate a ranking factor for Google?
Is it fair to compare content like this blog post, to a web site of kitten pictures by using a single metric like bounce rate? No; no it is not.
In my opinion, bounce rate can’t be a ranking factor alone. If a metric can’t be applied broadly to determine relevancy and quality, then it probably isn’t part of a search engine ranking algorithm used to return billions of results a day.
However, click back for a keyword could certainly be a ranking factor… especially if the searcher clicked “Block all…” indicating a human determined “this page sucks”.