If you’ve ever checked out your page bounce on websites such as http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo it can be fairly dispiriting to realise just how many people visit your site, and then leave having only seen one page. That in itself isn’t good news, because unless that one page happens to be your sales page, you’re missing out on converting those visits to sales. But the risk is becoming much more serious than that, because page bounce could now start to seriously affect your position within the search results listings.
The reason is because Bing has started to introduce a new way of assessing the relevance of the websites listed within the search results for specific keywords and phrases. The way it’s doing this is by moving away from a purely algorithmic analysis of words on the page and the integration of mathematical interpretations of external link structures. Now, it’s about real people’s behaviour.
It’s fairly easy to understand how this works. If you type in a search query you are likely to receive a fairly mammoth set of results. By choosing to click one of those results you’re telling the search engine that for your particular query this page looks as though it’s highly relevant. So far, so good. But then comes the crux.
Because if you visit the web page and you immediately see that it looks rather like a summer term school project thrown together by some 11 year old kid before his favourite TV show was on, you’re likely to hit the ‘Back’ button on your web browser. Even if the website looks professional, you may find that it isn’t really what you were looking for, and so again, hit the ‘Back’ button to return to the search results listing.
This behaviour is now being monitored by Bing, which means that every time a visitor to your site bounces from the single page view back to the search results listings, information is being recorded that suggests to the search engine that your website is less relevant for that particular search query. In other words, all that hard work and effort you have invested in getting your website high up the results for a particular keyphrase could quickly be in tatters.
One of the most important aspects for online marketers has been to get people to visit the website. Today, that’s no longer enough. Now it’s all about getting those people to stay on your website, clicking through to other pages within the site. Only by achieving this can webmasters hope to both convert visits to sales, as well as maintaining high ranking positions within the search results pages.