Opinion: Is SERP Bounce a Ranking Signal or a Quality Factor for SEO?

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Opinion: Is SERP Bounce a Ranking Signal or a Quality Factor for SEO?

A long debate is on whether website’s bounce rate is a ranking signal for SEO. The fact is, Google does have the ability to track any page’s bounce rate using Google Analytics, Google Toolbar, and free Google Wifi. Using this as a universal ranking signal would be too much spying. Google also has no right to spy on internal user data of all the world’s sites, even if everyone allows them.

While talking about bounce rate and SEO, I heard a few people talking about SERP Bounce and it being a SEO factor. It was not possible to give any concrete reference whether SERP Bounce is an influential SEO Factor, since Google never confirmed it. Though it seemed, it was something that Google can use either as quality factor or as ranking signal for SEO. Moreover, Google also has the ability and right to track this user behavior.

Recently, Google introduced a new feature called “Block all site results”, which is only available when you are logged in and make a SERP Bounce. The blog post by Google does confirm that SERP Bounce is now a SEO Factor.

What is SERP Bounce?

Search Engine Result Page or SERP Bounce is the incident where you bounce back from a website to the Google search results. Google can identify the clicks you made and whether you came back to the search result page. When you open the results in multiple tabs, and close them, that will not count as a SERP Bounce. Google can identify a SERP Bounce, only if you hit the Back Button to their search result page.

Is SERP Bounce a Quality Factor or Ranking Signal?

Few years back Google introduced Search Wiki, which many SEO professionals thought to be a very important ranking factor. But, it turned out to be a spam identification method for Google Web Spam Team. The “Block all site results” feature is also a similar feature. Google introduced the feature to track spammy pages and to tweak their algorithm.

According to Google:

We’re adding this feature because we believe giving you control over the results you find will provide an even more personalized and enjoyable experience on Google. In addition, while we’re not currently using the domains people block as a signal in ranking, we’ll look at the data and see whether it would be useful as we continue to evaluate and improve our search results in the future.

This confirms that SERP Bounce is not a ranking signal after all. But, can be a great SEO Factor for the Google Web Spam Team in identifying the quality of a specific domain.

The Drawback

Since Google started giving authority sites more love for long tail keywords, some authority sites might rank for keywords that are not relevant. In that case, many authority sites may get blocked if they are not much relevant.

Moreover, different search intent can also trigger block if the searcher’s intent does not match the site’s content. e.g. when I search “Apple Notepad” in the hope that I’ll find many results for apple-shaped paper-based notepad, then none of the results from Apple.com will be much relevant for my intent for the search. Eventually, if I block Apple.com’s results, it really doesn’t mean that the site is low quality.

But, we are really not sure how Google will use the site block information. So, let’s hope they make good use of it.

Asif Anwar

Asif Anwar

Independent Digital Marketing Consultant at AsifAnwar.com
Asif Anwar is the internet marketing pioneer in Bangladesh. Former online marketing consultant for UNDP and Bangladesh Government. Internet marketing trainer, speaker, and moderator for... Read Full Bio
Asif Anwar
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