Your October 2019 Search Engine Bytes Digest
Is bounce time a ranking factor with Google?
I've been working through some recent ranking changes in my client sites and I think the bounce time on our pages may be faster than competing sites.
Although I suspect the bounce rate isn't higher, I believe the bounce time is faster. Has Google ever mentioned that bounce time is a factor in rankings?
Google has repeatedly said they do NOT use bounce rate or time on page as a ranking signal. However, most SEO pros believe they do in some way. Perhaps not in the specific ways people are commenting on, but it's a commonly held belief they use it in some form.
We all know that bounce rate, time on site, time on page, pages viewed, etc. are indications of a "quality" site, so it stands to reason they'd use these data points in some undisclosed way — to determine a site's quality.
The problem is, determining what a 'good' bounce rate is depends entirely on the query/topic and the intent of the visitor to your page. For example, if a person is looking for a business' address, which they find right away on the home page then they've completed their task. Their visit to your site was a success but their time on site will be short and might be counted as a bounce in your analytics. However, to Google that visit would indicate a successful query.
Now if that person went back to the search engine and continued to look for the business address by clicking on other listings, then that would signal the site most likely did not satisfy the query. We call that Pogo Sticking, and it's something we try to avoid.
But, to answer your specific question, no, we have not heard Google mention "bounce time" as a ranking factor.
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