Mar 05, 2021 - 10:12 AM
“In GA4, Google has replaced the concept of “bounce” with “engaged sessions.” To be considered “engaged,” a session must either result in a conversion, last over 10 seconds, or have multiple screen or page views. When calculating your Engagement Rate, GA4 looks at the frequency of these sessions.
[by Mark Williams Cook]
Below are my thoughts on UX signals and ranking factors.
If anyone is unclear, the image above highlights Google's page experience and performance signals that they directly use as factors to rank websites.
They use these signals because:
a) They are applicable to any website
b) Can be measured on any website
c) There is a clear "more/less" is better on all of these metrics
Other things that people claim to be ranking factors such as "time on site" hit one of the above problems (what is the 'best' time on site?) and Google has clearly stated are not ranking factors.
[by Carlos Pinheiro]
Just to add to Mark's point, it's very easy to manipulate the bounce rate of a website when you have control over conversion tracking and the ability to feed that into GA as an interaction hit.
A bounce is a session containing only one interaction hit. If you add events that always happen on the website as an interaction hit, that skews the bounce rate metric, which will also mess with the calculations of time spent on page.
We recently came across a website that had a very low bounce rate because their live chat always popped up, even if the user didn't click it and that event was being tracked as an interaction hit.
Take a look (image below) at what happened after we corrected it. I'll let you guess the impact this had on their organic rankings.
These are definitely not ranking factors, however, when analysed correctly and under the right context, they can provide you hints on what could and could not be working on your website, i.e. bounce rate differences on desktop/mobile, if the content is the same and users leave the page a lot more on mobile, perhaps you should look at your mobile optimisation and identify what's causing the issue.