Archive for January 5th, 2009

Bounce Rate

Monday, January 5th, 2009

A web page’s bounce rate is determined by the percentage of visitors that enter the site via the page and leave without visiting other pages on the site. It is important to pay attention to the bounce rate of your pages because it is a good indicator of how effective or relevant your pages are to search terms used to find it.

Bounce rate can vary considerably depending on the purpose of the site. Blog pages or news pages, for example, may have higher bounce rates than normal because visitors regularly check to see if the page has been updated and quickly leave if it has not.

In general, it is common for websites to have a bounce rate of greater than 20% but anything approaching or exceeding 50% is cause for concern and should make you reassess your content or search terms.  There are many reasons why a site may have a high bounce rate.  If the site looks unprofessional, visitors will often leave within a matter of seconds.  If this is the case, it is likely that you will have a high bounce rate on the majority of pages on your site.  Sound on websites could be another cause and is one of my personal pet hates.  If your site plays music, try disabling it for a few weeks and see how this affects your bounce rate.

One of the main causes for a high bounce rate is search terms that do not accurately reflect the content of your page.  Getting a lot of traffic for a term is of little benefit if the term is not relevant to your site.  You should be aiming to get targeted traffic to your site, not just traffic.

A high bounce rate should also be cause for concern because it will negatively affect your search engine rankings.  For example, if you rank for a phrase that results in a bounce rate of 60%, it is a clear indication to Google and other search engines that your content is not relevant to the search term. This will result in your position in the SERPs decreasing over time.

Bounce rate is a very useful statistic for webmasters and site owners, and a great way of discovering what people think of your site.  If it is high, look more closely at your analytics; identify the cause and take the necessary measures to fix the problem.  In the long run, paying close attention to this little number will can play a significant role in helping you build and maintain a successful website.