Bounce rate – a way to measure the quality of your websites traffic.
You get 5,000 visitors a day? Great! But do they stick around? How do you know?
The bounce rate of your site will tell you! Bounce rate measures the number of visitors who arrived onto your website and then left again. Within your website Analytics the following visitors will be classed as a bounce:
- A visitor who arrives on your site, but then never goes any further – no clicks into a different page within your site from the one they landed on
- A visitor who spends a very short amount of time on your site – usually anything under 5 seconds counts towards your bounce rate
Why is it important?
Well firstly it gives you an indication of the quality of your website traffic. Are you targeting the right people?
If you have a high bounce rate you need to assess the quality of your website and its content. The lower the bounce rate the better!
A high bounce rate on a page could also factor in that page not being ranked in the search engines – the quality of that page is assumed to be low! Whether this actually is a factor in rankings is a matter of some debate in the SEO (search engine optimisation) world, but since there are many other reasons to reduce your bounce rate I would recommend spending the time to work on it.
How to measure your bounce rate?
There are various different ways to measure bounce rate, these are the statistics within Google Analytics that I use to keep an eye on our bounce rate.
New Visitors vs Returning Visitors
Why does it matter? Well a returning visitor has already been on your website, they may have read much of what was there and simply be returning to get your contact number to call you, or your address if they are visiting your store.
Blogs tend to have a higher bounce rate for returning visitors as they may have already read your past articles, and therefore simply be visiting to read the most recent blog post.
To check this in your Google Analytics go to: Audience => Behaviour => New vs Returning. Display the bounce rate by changing the drop down list from ‘visits’ to ‘bounce rate’.
Bounce rate by KEYWORDS
It’s great to be ranked well for a keyword, the better your rankings the more traffic you get! But is the visitor finding what they are looking for when they get to your website?
To check this in your Google Analytics go to: Traffic Sources => Sources => Search => Organic You can then filter by bounce rate to view the highest bouncing pages.
If some of your keywords have a particularly high bounce rate, it’s time to get editing. How can you make the page more relevant to keep the visitor on the page? Ask yourself what the visitor would expect to find when searching for this particular keyword then see how you can better reflect this in your page content.
Also ask yourself – does it matter? It may be that you are ranking for a term which is not actually relevant to the rest of your site at all. For example, this website (at the time of posting) ranks well for searches to do with setting up a new email account in microsoft outlook. This is due to an old article written to help guide our hosting customers through the process. The majority of those visitors are not likely to be interested in having a website designed – they simply want help with their email account! So there is little point in spending the time worrying about a high bounce rate for that keyword.
Bounce rate by CONTENT
Evaluate your website on a page by page basis. Are there any specific pages of content that are bouncing?
To check this in your Google Analytics go to: Content => Site Content => All Pages.
When looking at bounce rate by content I think it is worth mentioning that your page content may already be valuable – if a person spends a long time reading an in-depth article on your website before returning to the search engines to search for something else (as they have the answer to what they need!) – this counts as a bounce to Google Analytics. In reality though, this is a completely different situation to someone who arrives on your page and then leaves again a few seconds later to find information on another site. So it’s worth looking at the time spent on the page too to determine if this could be the case – consider how you can encourage those visitors to stay on the site and interact further, perhaps sharing the page / commenting / bookmarking your site / related articles…
Bounce rate by REFERRER
Do you pay for any advertising on other websites? Is it worth continuing to do so? The bounce rate by referrer will give you some useful information to help you make this kind of decision.
To check this in your Google Analytics go to: Traffic Sources => Sources => Referrals
You can search for a specific referrer, or take an overview based on bounce rate / traffic.
What bounce rate should I aim for?
Well there is no definitive answer to this! As you can see from the above, there are lots of factors that can affect your bounce rate.
Obviously the lower the bounce rate for your website the better. Using the above guidance you can now revisit your website and work on getting your bounce rate to reduce.