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Search engine optimizers (SEOs) often say Google uses bounce rate to judge website quality. In fact, that is only partly true. At SMX West 2012, Danny Sullivan asked two search engine representatives if “Bounce Rate” is used as a factor in their ranking results. They said, “Bounce Rate combined with other signals may affect your site’s performance in our results.” In other words, how often people leave your website’s home page is only one factor in search engines’ determination of rankings.

What are the other elements? In addition to bounce rate, Google ranks websites using three broad principles.

Is the site “honest” rather than “deceptive?” Websites that use black hat SEO techniques are frequently not listed in response to a search query. Therefore have your web developer help you integrate marketing techniques that have high integrity.

Does the site provide a good user experience rather than a poor one? If a website is complicated, users may become annoyed and move on to a different site that is more agreeable to look at and use. Is yours?

Does the content provide satisfactory (rather than incomplete) answers for users? Google passes by websites with content that is poorly presented, poorly articulated, and/or incomplete. This is also true if the relevant content is strewn across multiple pages. When reviewing your website, make sure that its information is presented simply, well written, and complete.

The overall development of successful websites is moving toward quality and relevance, so have your website developer focus on these specific yet broad approaches to keep your site on the first page of listings.

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