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Bounce Rate Bare-Bones Basics
What is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who enter a site and leave without visiting a second page. This is usually triggered when a visitor clicks the back button, but closing the browser, typing a new URL, or allowing the page to time out (typically after a half hour) all count as well.
It's important not to confuse bounce rate with exit rate. A page's exit rate is simply the percentage of visitors that visited that page of the site last. A visitor, then, might have visited several pages on your site before finally clicking over to that other blog.
What Does Bounce Rate Mean?
It's important to recognize that a high bounce rate is not always bad. According to Google, the average website bounce rate is 40%, but it will vary greatly depending on what kind of site you have.
Google Analytics Benchmark Averages for Bounce Rate 40 – 60% content websites 30 – 50% lead generation sites 70 – 98% blogs 20 – 40% retail sites 10 – 30% service sites 70 – 90% landing pages
A high bounce rate means that visitors are visiting only one page – but sometimes this is exactly what you're after. If you have a question-and-answer-based site, where the idea is to give very specific answers to very specific questions, a high bounce rate means you've nailed it. Landing pages are another example. A landing page with a high bounce rate means it's doing its job: one page and you're done.
In other words – the words of Nick Eubanks, in fact – a high bounce rate means one of two things: you're acquiring the wrong kind of traffic, or you're acquiring exactly the right kind of traffic.
How Can I Reduce Bounce Rate?
There are several things you can do to reduce bounce rate, but it all comes down to good content and good design. As with most things, having quality in the first place means you won't have to take short cuts later on.
Some suggestions in terms of better design:
- SPEED: if the site takes forever to load, visitors will get impatient and leave
- EASY-TO-SEARCH: likewise, if it takes forever to find the right information on the page, visitors will get impatient and leave
- READABLE, CLEAR: the easier it is on the eyes, the more visitors will like it
Some suggestions in terms of better content:
- QUALITY CONTENT: strong, interesting content will make visitors want more
- WELL-ORGANIZED CONTENT: content broken up into categories and small paragraphs will also make visitors want more
- TRUTHFUL CONTENT: no matter how well-written the content, if it's not factual, it's not helpful
If your site is article-based, it may help to add links to other well-liked or related articles at the end of each post. Then, even when people find what they're looking for, they may seek out more.
Good luck! Ultimately, bounce rate is a useful indicator of what kind of traffic you have. Don't worry too much about hacking the system, and instead focus on what this rate is telling you about your visitors and whether they're satisfied – then go from there.
And remember – a high bounce rate is not always bad!