Bounce Rate. It represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site then leave the site or “bounce” without visiting a second page or leaving right away. Bounce rates are helpful in determining the effectiveness of a keyword choice or landing page. An entry page with a low bounce rate means that the page effectively entices visitors to view more pages and continue on deeper into the web site.
Remember, however, that bounce rates can be deceiving. If a user visits your website, and the first link they click on is external, this is counted as a bounce. This is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly if the click was on a paid advertisement. Say the user types a new URL into their browser and leaves the page just as it loads. This is counted as a bounce. Or maybe a user visits from a search, clicks on the back button, or closes the browser window altogether. These are also bounces.
What is a good bounce rate for your website? This is difficult to answer. And you will find that many experts have varying opinions on this. Even if an “expert” throws out a number, this figure can be quite meaningless because good bounce rate depends on a number of variables. Things like industry, niche, brand awareness, type of website, how far the visitor has come with their query, and more. All of these things factor into what makes a good bounce rate. Instead, interpretation of the bounce rate should be relevant to a website’s business objectives and definitions of conversion.
Having a high bounce rate is not always a sign of poor performance. This can be hard to understand, especially when you are new to analytics. If you are not careful you may find yourself spending time and effort trying to reduce the bounce rate of pages that generally attract high bounce rate. Pages like contact pages (just looking for a phone number), checkout pages, and even blogs often have high bounce rates.
In my opinion, studying “clicks” is more important than worrying about bounces. But a click is only the beginning. What happens after the first click is often even more important. Web visitors will click on an ad if it interests them but they will only continue if you’ve captured them. For this reason the second click is much more important than the first. It tells more about what motivates and engages visitors.
The important point is to consider your specific situation when studying your bounce rate. Take the time to look at the click through rates and even look at what happens after the first click. This is often more telling. Make adjustments on how to reduce bounce. But, don’t obsess over the number. The best way to study it is to have definite calls to action on your website and be very clear with your content. Remember, the content isn’t only there for SEO purposes. Most importantly, it’s there to sell your product or service. Don’t lose sight of this priority.
Driving Point: Don’t fret over a high bounce rate. It’s not always a bad thing.