If your website has a high bounce rate, Google penalties are not your only problem. Since Google wants to provide the best
results to a searcher's query, bounce rate is going to be a factor. But, you need to ask yourself, "Why is the bounce rate
so high?". Are you targeting the wrong phrases, and when people get to your site, they immediately discover you are not what
they are looking for? Could the website itself be poorly designed, and a visitor's first impression is not favorable?
Whether or not Google is penalizing you, you need to find out why the bounce rate is so high, and get it fixed.
If you have a content website like a blog, I think bounce rate is less important if your "time spent on the website" factor is good, because it means they are reading your stuff. Bounce rate is more important for static website in my opinion.
In my onpinion, high bound rate may be:
- Conten is poor, not attractive and useful
- Keywords you choose are not represent for your site, so readers come to your site and don't find useful information they need through keywords they got by searching or other sources
What would the bounce rate be for Google, or any SERP, for that matter? Searching long tail often turns enough information right in the results to get a cursory answer for a query. Often no links get followed, but a new search is started.
When a page is fairly high in the SERPs for a phrase, chances are the information we want is right there in the page. Like @ozsubasi suggests, we read, we go. Minute or two tops. Looks like a bounce, but it was a quality result. It has been restated above, that bounce rate is not an accurate metric, as it reveals almost nothing definitive. Just because a user leaves your site, doesn't mean they won't return, or bookmark it, or even send links through e-mail or social media. Personally, I rarely 'surf' or 'browse.' There's no time.
Google has no access to your server logs; therefore, it has no direct way of gathering on-site activity data for any site.
And, while it can acquire some data from those who use Google Analytics (GA), such is but a very small sample of the totality of sites, so that it is useless as a general metric. (In fact, Google has made it quite clear that GA data are not used for SERP purposes.)
The only thing that Google can directly and fully monitor is activity on its own site(s). But, even that is fraught with problems.
Suppose, for example, that it tried to use something similar to bounce rate, the SERP ping-pong rate, the rate at which a user bounces back and forth between the SERP page and pages listed there. Now consider that user A left-clicks on a listing, then Backspaces to the SERP page, then left-clicks on another listing, then Backspaces again, etc. User B, however. right-clicks on selected listings, opening each in a new tab, so that he's not ping-ponging.
Since the two types of users behavior are such that the results cannot meaningfully combined, they are useless a a general metric. At best, SERP ping-pong rate might be useful as a metric for personalized search results only.
-is one of those ones that posts pictures, short posts, jokes, stuff like that where it only takes a few seconds to "read" the post.
-is in the StumbleUpon cycle of things. I am guilty of "bouncing" off a page when Stumbling if the page was miscategorized, too much advertising, too big of a header or other "stuff" above the fold.
And you could be right about a static site. Generally a "static" site is built for information you want the person to read (e.g. educational/informational) or you want them to purchase something.
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2:04 PM - 5 Jun 12 Danny Sullivan's tweetDanny Sullivan@dannysullivan
"Google doesn't use bounce rate" @mattcutts told @tomschmitz yesterday, tom says #smx #11c
And Chris Crum wrote about this on WebProNews: Matt Cutts: Google Doesn’t Use Bounce Rate
So no more spreading that myth.