While musing over possible topics to blog about, the two words “Bounce Rate” came to mind for today’s entry. In this blog I’ll give you the lowdown on how bounce rate plays into your own website traffic. I’m also going to clear up many of the common misinterpretations of “bounce rate,” and what it actually means.
Bounce Rate, as defined by Google
A bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Bouncing has also been explained like this: a bounce occurs when a website visitor leaves a page or a site without visiting any other pages before a certain length of time has elapsed.
Detailed below are a few scenarios that help explain what bounce rate is:
- A visitor clicks a link in an email they are reading, that link takes the visitor directly to a page on your website, they read that webpage and then close the browser window… a bounce would be registered (if this happens often, it will look like a low “average time on page”, and a high bounce rate in your web traffic reports)
This one might be a little more confusing, but it’s important to understand… so read it carefully:
- A visitor is surfing the web or does a Google search and finds their way to your homepage, they like what they see, continues to read the homepage, and chooses not to view any more pages on your website, but decides instead to open a new browser window – leaving your homepage open in the background, while they continue to surf the web for other websites in another browser window – when the visitor finally does come back to the browser window that contains your homepage and decides to close the window without visiting any other pages on your website… a bounce would be registered (if this happens often, it will look like a high “average time on page”, and a high bounce rate in your web traffic reports)
Ok, here’s another scenario to help answer your question,
What is a bounce rate?
- A visitor finds their way to your webpage, finds it useful and reads your entire webpage, the visitor then chooses to click through to a second page on your website (if this happens often, it will look like a high “average time on page”, and a low bounce rate in your web traffic reports)
And last, but not least:
- A visitor lands on your webpage, and immediately clicks through to a second page on your website (if this happens often, it will look like a low “average time on page”, and a low bounce rate in your web traffic reports)
Taking a deeper look at how bounce rate is determined, it is important to note that there is no standard minimum or maximum length of time in which a visitor must leave for a bounce to occur. A bounce is determined by the “session timeout” of the particular analytics tracking software being used. A commonly used session timeout is 30 minutes. A 30 minute session timeout is what Google Analytics uses as a default. So, in this case, if a visitor views a page and then leaves the browser idle for 31 minutes, they will register as a “bounce”.
Does your website have a high bounce rate?
Lowering the bounce rate of a particular webpage or an entire website is important for many reasons. Highlighted below are just a few of the benefits you can enjoy by lowering your bounce rate:
- A low bounce rate could indicate to Google that your webpage is addressing a visitor’s needs
- A low bounce could decrease your Adwords Cost-Per-Click
- A low bounce rate could increase your Quality Score, and in general,
- A low bounce will give you the confidence that your website is providing value to your visitors and giving them a pleasant web surfing experience
In closing, a few things to consider when analyzing your website, and improving your bounce rate, are website navigation, aesthetics, page titles, and calls-to-action.
By Scott Offord
What is your bounce rate? How has this article helped explain bounce rate to you? Was this article on lowering bounce rate helpful to you? Share with us below…