What is Bounce Rate?

Like the many analytic tools available to track the progress of your website it is important to realise the bounce rate analytic only provides one part of the ever expending SEO and analytic jigsaw.  Whereas the data gathered from bounce rate can be beneficial it can be just as detrimental to the progress of your website, I say this as I have met many individuals who spend more time focusing on analytic data and crunching the numbers resulting in them abandoning their actual website.  You need to find a balance between studding your analytics, focusing on your optimization and of course creating content for your website.

bounce rate

Bounce rate explained

The very definition of bounce rate is in the title itself; this analytic tool will measure the percentage of visitors to your website that leave without visiting a second page.  In theory the preferred scenario is to have a low bounce rate, meaning visitors to your website have visited several pages therefore have found something they are looking for and they are indeed interested in.

To explain my own personal opinion the bounce rate method contradicts its own rule, as an example, visitors to this very site may enter via a search engine to watch a particular tutorial, let’s say they are looking for a tutorial on how to remove a scar from a picture.  They will enter that term into the search engine “remove a scar Photoshop”, they will then land on that page and watch the tutorial or read the content of the page, this can result in them being on that page for up to 10 minutes and when they are happy they have mastered what they need to know they will leave atisfied

So for the above example the visitor to your website has only visited one page and this would be regarded as a bounce, but in truth the visitor did find what they were looking for and should not have been regarded as a bounce.  I do not pay particular attention to my own bounce rate for this reason, I think it could be a useful tool but it really depends on your website and what you are offering.

It is also worth considering you may have perfectly implemented your SEO buy might only have a small website with only a few pages, so there is nothing else to offer the visitor, again this does not mean they have not been completely satisfied with the content on the page that they did visit.

What is a good Bounce rate?

As stated above all websites are different so there is no set percentage, the general rule is the lower the better with 40% bounce rate being considered as average.  If you have a 20% to 30% bounce rate then this is considered as a really good bounce rate, with anything above 50% being not so good and it is recommended that you do some research adjustments to the content of your page and to modify the keywords you are using.

Again I must stress there is no set rule that specifies if you are in “X” industry your “Y” percentage should be a certain amount.

bounce rate analytics

Why is my Bounce rate high?

To answer this question you need to have a good look at your page, the layout, content, structure and navigation.  If your layout is not so well structured, think of those visiting your website from mobile devices, smaller or even bigger screen resolutions, because your website looks fine on your PC, or laptop does not necessarily mean it will be looking the same on the visitors screen, so a poor layout may result in people running from your website resulting in a high bounce rate.  Is your website easy to navigate?  If not, this might result in people leaving without visiting a second page.  Next think of the content and how it is laid out, are you using heading tags, are you offering good rich content with related keywords, these are just some of the questions you must ask yourself.

If you have spent time to consider the above question, why is my bounce rate so high? and you feel everything is structured and in accordance think outside the box, there may be a legitimate reason as to why your bounce rate is high.  It may be the case that visitors are not visiting a second page for an organic reason, they may have found the information they are looking for therefore have left without visiting another page.

Another avenue to explore as to why your bounce rate is so high, several years ago I created a website for a business that was in the oil and gas industry, after several months the director of the company contacted me and suggested we have a meeting to discuss the company website and how we could further progress.  During the meeting the one topic on the director’s mind was the fact the bounce rate was 43% (he had obviously being doing his research).  I told him I would look into this and see what I could do to bring the bounce rate down to an acceptable level.

For several days I worked endlessly on this website, a site I was proud of and a website that I had designed and developed with optimization embedded into the very fabric of the site from the foundations upward.  Scratching my head and running out of patience after several weeks the bounce rate lowered to that acceptable level.  Great I thought; but having made changes on a daily basis in my quest to lower the bounce rate what particular change improved the results.

Thankfully this did not take too long to work out, when I initially designed the website the company requested the address and contact details be placed in the header of the main page, rather than on the accustom contact page.  For months many visitors had been visiting the website for contact details only, all this information was available on the index page so many visitors got what they were looking for then left without visiting a second page.  In this case the bounce rate dramatically dropped from 43% to 19%.

Like me if you fall into the above category the better tool for you to be focusing on is the returning visitor analytic.  This will let you know what percentage of people who are returning to your website after a set period, (24 hours) this tool is a better measuring stick to track the progress of the aforementioned.

How to Improve Your Bounce Rate

A good method to improve your bounce rate is to place links within your content linking to other pages within your website enticing visitors to further explore your website. Content is king, if you have rich and meaningful content then chances are a visitor will navigate to other pages.

We must also consider the hindrance of bots, these bots will spend 30 seconds at our website, enough time to seek an email address to spam resulting in an over inflated bounce rate. To cut this out think of contacting your web hosting provider or ban the IP addresses in your control panel.

Throughout this article I have provided factual evidence on the benefits and not so of bounce rate. Now I will provide my own personal thoughts on other metrics that may call upon the bounce rate analytic. My Hypothesis would suggest the Google AdSense advertising program may use the bounce rate metric to determine ad placement, this would make sense as it would allow the program to place higher value ads on websites with a low bounce rate resulting in more advertising clicks. In laymen terms if a visitor to a website is bouncing (not visiting a second page) what is the chances they would be clicking on an ad placement, ask yourself this, would you place high earning ads on a website with a high bounce rate. Again I must stress this is nothing more than an observation.

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