Bounce Rate – What is it and Why is it Important – Fundamentals Friday

  • Comments: 6
  • Written on: August 29th, 2008

Fundamental-FridaysBounce rate is a measure of how effectively an entrance page on your website gets visitors to view additional pages on your website.  An entrance page is a page that is designed to attract initial visitors such as a high-ranking page in a search engine, an index page, or any page on your website you push traffic to.

Bounce rate is very important to website that sell things.  E-commerce websites want you to browse at multiple items and make a purchase.  For example, lets say buys a Google AdWords ad and you click on the ad.  Now you are on Amazon’s entrance page for that ad.

If you click the back button, enter a different URL into your browser, close your browser or walk away for 30 minutes before coming back to your computer, you are a bounced visitor.

From a blogging perspective, bounce rate is still important but it means something different.  Blogs contain many posts about loosely related topics that tend to rank well in search engines.  If you blog about a specific topic – removing Vista from a laptop to install XP for example, visitors will find your blog for that topic, but will likely exit after they are done reading, resulting in a bounce.

Blogs and news websites tend to have higher bounce rates than e-commerce websites.

How is Bounce Rate measured?

Bounce rate is measured as a percentage.  To determine bounce rate, take the number of single page views of a page on your website and divide that by the number of visitors who enter your site from a particular page and then multiply that number times 100.

If all of that is too much math for you, just install Google Analytics on your website and let Google track it all for you for free.

What is a Good Bounce Rate?

This number can vary widely depending on the type of website you run. Google Analytics specialist Avinash Kaushik is quoted in Wikipedia as stating:

“It is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying.”

He wrote this on his blog in May of 2007, and while some time has passed since then, the rules are pretty much the same.

Why Do You Want a Lower Bounce Rate?

The reasons for wanting a low bounce rate depend on the goals of your website.

  • E-commerce websites want a low bounce rate because the more pages people look at the more product they tend to buy.
  • Sites that sell advertising want low bounce rates because the more pages people view the more ad impressions there are to sell.
  • Blogs want low bounce rates because it means that their visitors are consuming a large volume of content each time they visit.

How can you reduce Bounce Rate?

  • Improve your content.  Write good headlines and great lead paragraphs that capture your readers interest and hold it throughout your article.  Use sub-headlines and bullet points to pull distracted eyes back into your content.
  • The Conversation Marketing Blog suggests that you use Google Analytics to see what pages on your sites have high bounce rates and which have low bounce rates.  Compare the two sets of pages and look for differences that you can remedy.
  • Divito Design suggests that you spend some time on your blog’s about page.  People often look at your about page after reading an article on your website to learn about the author.
  • OpTempo suggests you stay away from traffic gaining services like Stumbleupon, Digg, and EntreCard.  While these services do send traffic, it usually bounces at an incredibly high rate. 
  • Improve your SEO efforts to reduce poor quality traffic.  If your traffic comes from search engines, make sure that the search engines are properly marking your content so that when people find it and click it is what they are looking for.

In next week’s Fundamentals Friday I will write about key word density in your content.  What is it, why is it important, and how a proper keyword density can multiply your website’s traffic instantly.

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