What Is Bounce Rate And Why Is It Important?

March 11, 2014

A ‘bounce’ is a single-page visit to your website; so, when a visitor views just one page and then leaves the site, they have bounced. Bounce rate is the percentage of your total visitors who bounce.

You can monitor the bounce rate of your website by using web statistics software. Remember that your content might not necessarily appeal to everyone, so don’t be alarmed to see that your website has visitors who bounce. Around 40% would be a typical bounce rate, so if your number is lower than this then you are doing well.

Bounce rate can be a good indication of the page’s quality and relevance to the visitor. For this reason, Google detects bounce rates and uses this against you when calculating how to rank the website.

There are a number of ways that a vistor can bounce from a website:

  1. They could type a new URL into the address bar.
  2. They could close the window.
  3. They could click the back button.
  4. They could leave the window open for too long, causing the user’s session to timeout and the website to assume that they have left.
  5. They could click a link from your website that goes to a different website.

The first four of these aren’t anything that you can control, but number five is! Links to external websites are important, so you shouldn’t remove them. However, you can make sure that they always open in a new window. This will increase the chances of a visitor coming back to your website and clicking around.

It’s worth noting that if you use a subdomain or an externally hosted blog that is on a different domain name, then any clicks to this may be counted as leaving your website. This could be incorrectly increasing your bounce rate. Ties in nicely with my previous article; Why You Shouldn’t Use A Free Domain Name.

Why Else Might A Visitor Bounce?

Attracting The Wrong Visitors

If the visitor just isn’t the correct target audience for your website, they will not be interested in sticking around. If you are running email or social media campaigns that link to your website, make sure you accurately target your audience. Segment your mailing list by related customer profiles and make sure they are relevant for each campaign.

If you have pages that have a high search engine ranking for keywords that are not relevant to your website, then you will attract the wrong visitors too. A good example of this is websites who have tried to increase their search engine rankings by targeting lots of city names around the UK. These websites typically have a landing page for each city, so wherever you are searching for you will find them. However, as soon as a visitor notices that the company is not located in that city they will leave the site.

Getting The Right Visitors, But Putting Them Off

Pop-up adverts, music or video that automatically plays, anything that feels intrusive can make the visitor think “get me out of here”. A page that takes to long to load, an unprofessional looking design or a navigation menu that isn’t easy to use can also have an affect on bounce rate. Another reason to make sure your website is user friendly.

If you like this article, please share it. Oh, and if you arrived on this page, please click around on some other pages and help me improve my bounce rate!