PMG Digital Made for Humans

SEO Conspiracy Theory: Monitoring Bounce Rates Back to the SERPs

4 MINUTE READ | July 29, 2011

SEO Conspiracy Theory: Monitoring Bounce Rates Back to the SERPs

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Kerry Dean

Kerry Dean has written this article. More details coming soon.

We live in a crazy awesome world. We have a crazy awesome Internet, full of all sorts of stuff. For thousands of years, humans traveled the globe, discovering new worlds. And then one day it was all mapped out. There was nothing left to find, save a few uncharted islands and underground caves and such. So thanks a lot, modern satellites. Luckily, we have the Internet. It’s a vast region, ever-increasing in size and scope. And the best part about it all: it’s only going to get bigger!

The Internet is always growing in size. And guess what – everyone is doing it. Everyone is on the Internet. Yes, even my dad bought a new superduper fast HP laptop. And of course he has no idea how to use anything on it, but he can find the Internet… sometimes. And he searches for stuff. We all search for stuff. And the search results are becoming a real party. Just do a search for anything, and on Page 1 of the SERPs, you will probably see news listings, videos, pictures, shopping feeds, and several ways to filter your search results. It’s amazing. Crazy even.

And to make everything even awesomer, everyone and their mom is doing SEO. Are you thinking about starting a e-commerce website that sells kites made of lobster shells? Well, guess what – there are probably 10,000 other people with the same idea, and they have all been on the Internet since 1996, and they all have a better website than you could ever imagine and/or build. Oh, but you know SEO, right? It doesn’t matter. Title tags and awesome breadcrumbs are not going to get instant rankings. Not these days. It’s not 2005 any more. Those days are long gone.

These days, you’ve got to have a social presence, a local presence, a killer marketing strategy, a news feed, a blog, a shopping feed, thousands of inbound links, and historical authority if you want to compete for organic search rankings. And then you’ve got to have videos, hi-res images, testimonials, reviews, and deals. And then you’ve got to have a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account, a Foursquare account, and soon a Google+ business page. Basically, you’ve got to have it all. Right now. All the time. And if you don’t, well good luck to you because you are certainly going to need it. That is, unless you have a website that provides value. Because providing value should be the ultimate goal of any e-commerce website.

Now for an SEO conspiracy theory: When it comes to organic search ranking factors, some SEOs speculate that Google is factoring in bounce rates back to the SERPs. For example, if a searcher clicks into your website from the SERPs and then bounces back to the SERPs after only 10 seconds of looking at your site, Google might take note of that. If that same person then clicks through to the next site in the SERPs and then never returns to the Google SERPs, Google may assume that the searcher found what they were looking for on the second site. Now, that’s not always true, but what if it happens like that 100 times out of 150? Uh oh.

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That type of trend may tell Google something about your website, and the message will probably be simple: your site is not offering much value to search visitors. And if Google determines that is the case, you may see your rankings drop. And it will have nothing to do with your site’s relevance. In fact, your site may be very relevant for the search term, and your site may have a long list of historical and authoritative links. It will have everything to do with the value that your site is providing a search visitor. In a world where link graphs can be manipulated with paid link campaigns, it would only make sense that Google is looking into additional factors. And we know that there are hundreds of factors in the ranking algorithm. What if they are looking at bounce rates to the SERPs? What are you going to do about that?

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