TheMadScientist - 5:08 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)
Google likes sites that their searchers like...
I'll give you that one...
...presumably indicated by such metrics as pageviews/visitor, time on site, bounce rates etc.
I disagree with the above, because unless they changed something I've missed and started using Analytics for the SERPs they don't have access to the data for Time On Site or Page Views Per Visitor reliably enough and Bounce Rate has been stated as too noisy a signal to get much out of repeatedly, but they could use click-thru, click-back, re-click/re-search (a subset of bounce rate) a bit more reliably.
I think if you're looking too hard at the above areas you're probably missing something much more important.
A bounce is actually good in some situations (many, actually), unless you have an e-commerce site (a thank-you page visit would be a non-bounce), and even then it is if the visitor bookmarked the page and is going to buy from you when they get paid.
(Google does not have access to what someone bookmarks in their browser, unless it Chrome, but afaik, they are not using that type of info for SERPs, so it's a non-factor as far as rankings, and the only way they could possibly have direct visit data is if they get it from Chrome/toolbar, unless, again they have started using Analytics data for the SERPs.)
All bounce rate really tells you is either the visitor found exactly what they were looking for on the page or they didn't and there are a bunch of factors in your stats Google's Search Team (knowledge team, whatever) does not use (have access to) for SERPs which make the determination easier for you than it would ever be for an algorithm.
The timing of events may say more, but since a bounce happens any time there is a single page view to say a high bounce rate is bad has been proven false more than once. I had a site with a page that had a +90% bounce rate in Analytics, but the average time on the page was over 5 mins ... The page was #2 in the SERPs for multiple queries. I loved the high bounce rate, because it meant I did my job, Google did theirs, visitors found what they were looking for.
I would say trying to force visitors into more than one page view could actually be a [very] bad thing if it annoys other people like it does me, because you might get me once, but after you do I either block your site in the results or just refuse to click on yours, which harms your site way more than a single bounce because your page wasn't what I was looking for would. And trying to keep me there with the floating div I have to close works once too, but after that, I won't see it again, because you're either blocked or I just won't click ... My personal opinion is: When you try to manage the wrong metrics (or the right metrics the wrong way), especially when the management becomes detrimental to user experience, you do [way] more harm than good.
What type of 'quality signal' do you think it sends when I click on 4 sites, none of which have what I'm looking for, return from 3 very quickly, spend the most time on yours, and then block you from the results before my next query? Are you sure you want to make my (and other's) visits as long and as many page views as possible? Google can't 'see' what people did on your site after they left the results page, and even if they can, you can't see what visitors do once they go back to Google after someone sent them on a '4 page deep, close the div, click here, then there, then the other place' wild goose chase ... I'm sure there's more than one person out there who does the preceding on their site and has great looking stats, but for some odd and inexplicable reason their rankings have tanked ... I'll leave why to the imagination of the readers, maybe Google's just broken? The stats on sites that keep people there and make them view multiple pages look great, so if Google doesn't keep sending people it must be a problem with Google, right?