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Google ranking and bounce rate
2010-03-04: Funny, this, I've not read it or heard it anywhere but it's fairly clear Google takes account of bounce rate when ranking sites.
There's a problem with TweetCloser's Google ranking. A big point of developing it was to use Twitter content to create local pages where people talked about what interested them. Google would see these pages and list them.
The problem is the time the process takes. Google's search spider sees a TweetCloser page, reads its content, and passes it to the back-end processes which explode the words, index them, work out whatever they need to work out to decide the page's ranking, and pass them to the search answering bit that provides Google's search results.
By the time all that's happened, the TweetCloser page has changed and no longer contains what Google thinks it does. So if I tweet that I had some amazing fish and chips on Monday. Google spots that, indexes it, and provides it to searchers on Tuesday. They find that TweetCloser page in their results and click through, by which time my tweet has been replaced by other stuff. They don't find anything on the page about amazing fish and chips, so they hit the back button. Google spots that and the same happening for everyone else and concludes no-one gets satisfied on their visits to TweetCloser, so pushes me down the rankings. Google lives or dies on the quality of its search results, the Google ranking algorithm (the bit that decides who gets onto the first page) is the most important part of that.
TweetCloser is getting less and less traffic from Google, and the bounce rate for it (the percentage of people who arrive and leave immediately) from search is like the end of civilisation, whereas it's nothing like so bad if people arrive from a source other than search.
As a quick fix, I've increased the number of tweets shown per page so there's more of a chance of the tweet still being there when people arrive through search.
But then, someone bounced off this page yesterday on a search for "Lexxycarter". At the time of writing, every single tweet on the page is from Lexxycarter. Oh well.
Anyway, the takeaway message is that conversion helps with ranking. Google wants happy searchers.

By John Allsopp
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