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Bounce Rate benchmark
If a Bounce Rate is over than 40%, I take it as an indication that site visitors are not getting involved with site content. That is to say, more than 40 people in every 100 visits are clicking on the page and clicking off immediately without checking any other content on the site.
Broadly speaking, a high bounce indicates one of two things.
- The landing page does not match the expectation the searcher had when they clicked the link to reach the page.
- The landing page is technically flawed. For instance, the page may be slow to load or presented in a way that makes the content hard to read.
How to lower your Bounce Rate
You can address the issue of visitor expectation by improving the anchor text or tailoring the page more to the keywords that are already in the anchors. If this high Bounce Rate is from search-engine traffic and the keyword that visitors use to find the page does not appear to fall within the focus of the page, this keyword could over-emphasise an aspect of the page that distracts from the main topic.
To improve the bounce rates for visitors from unexpected search terms, create a new page about the stray topic and use the unexpected keyword as anchor text through to the new page. Eventually, the new page should become the landing page for the unexpected search term. A landing page should provide the information and services that the link you clicked on promised. For website links, that is the anchor text. For search engines, that is the listing text, which Google takes from the Meta information.
The second issue requires a re-evaluation of your site design and might involve employment of a designer or developer. A simple (if drastic) way to find this out is to remove your CSS file for a few days and see if the bounce rate drops for this period. If there is a substantial drop, you know that your layout is confusing your visitors.
Bouncy bouncy bouncy fun fun fun
Having said all this, we can't always assume that a low bounce rate is good news. A user may be clicking on the page, thinking it looks like a reasonably trustworthy page and clicking on to see if they can find the information they require, not finding it, but keeping on clicking. Unfortunately, though we cannot take this to be a good thing unless visitor converts. Just as a high number of visitors means nothing if all those users are leaving the site instantly, a low bounce rate means nothing if the users who are clicking through the site do not convert.
The moral of the story is, keep an eye on the statistics, but also keep in mind what those statistics mean. Positive looking numbers have absolutely no value without context.
Google Analytics Glossary
- This is self-explanatory; it shows the number of visits your page receives. Think of the hit counter on your old GeoCities site. It's like that.
- Bounce Rate
- Percent of visits landing on a single page that left without further interaction with the site. The use of the word "bounce" refers to people pressing the back button; but can also occur when the visitor closes the browser or tab.
- Conversion Rate
- Percentage of visits resulting in an important action that you have defined as important. For example, completing a contact form or exceeding a set amount of time on site.