tedster - 12:39 am on Aug 2, 2010 (gmt 0)
this domain does not have many backlinks, so I'm sure that plays a part of it too
Yes, I have definitely see one healthy backlink pop a site right out of the -950. It seems to be applied against a site whose rankings seem artificially bumped up, so this makes some sense.
I am surprised to hear that the -950 is still around, so thanks for the report.
1. Rankings go up but traffic goes down
Isn't that an artifact of personalized SERPs?
It can be, but the reports we're seeing here have been pretty definite that they aren't looking at personalized results - other people's computers, search history is turned off, etc.
Bounce rate is a tricky discussion because two very different meanings of the phrase keep getting crossed. One is the Google Analytics meaning, and it would apply to any entry to the URL by any means. The problem with using that kind of "bounce rate" is that Google does not have that kind of data for every website. Toolbar data could also work in some cases, but not nearly all. So there is no "apples to apples" comparison to be had from an Analytics-based bounce rate.
The other kind of bounce rate is "bouncing back to the SERPs to make another choice." And I believe that's the one that many people suspect is in use. But that metric also quite noisy for many reasons, some of which were already mentioned in this discussion.
If Google uses "back to the SERPs" bounce rates for anything at all, IMO, it would be as a sign of the health of the entire SERP - the way the algo worked out for that query term - rather than as an indicator for any one URL.