The majority of site owners realise that there are usage statistics available, and understand that these can provide useful information about their site visitors. However, many never seem to find the time to review these statistics, or are bewildered by the sheer volume of data available. Most site owners will know to take a look at how many visitors they get, but there is plenty of other information available that provides valuable information about their site visitors.
Recently a client asked me what a “good bounce rate” should be, and in considering my response, I realised that Bounce Rate in particular was one statistic that site owners don’t really “get” – which is a great shame because it can be a very useful statistic. This post therefore focuses on the Bounce Rate – explains what it represents, how it should be interpreted, and how it can be used to help increase the effectiveness of your site by improving your conversion rates.
What is a Bounce Rate?
Google ‘s definition of a bounce rate is : “the percentage of single-page visitors, or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page” – i.e. the percentage of your site visitors that only view a single page on your site. So, the higher your bounce rate, the fewer visitors are actually spending time on your site.
A high bounce rate indicates that the 1st web page your site visitors see is not appropriate to them – there is nothing on these pages to encourage them to look further into the site – (although it may also suggest that the one page they looked at provided exactly the information they were looking for). A low bounce rate indicates that visitors have an interest, look at multiple pages and stay for a longer time on your site, and most of the time the longer visitors stay, the more likely they are to convert (purchase a product or make an inquiry).
A bounce rate also provides an indication of the “quality” of a page, and it is quite possible that the search engines might take this statistic into account among the factors influencing search rankings. Its also wise to bear in mind that bounce rate applies to a particular page and that each page on your site might have some other bounce rate.
What makes a Good Bounce Rate?
Exactly what makes a good bounce rate is a bit harder to specify, because it will very much depend on the type of your site and the market you are in. It will also rely on which page you are looking at. A high bounce rate on a contact page may be OK, because it suggests that the visitor was looking for your contact details and may be phoning or emailing you, i.e. they found what they were looking for. However, a higher bounce rate on your home page (or even worse your most important product pages) is much more of a concern because it indicates that people are not interested in this page, are being turned away by what they see, or are not being encouraged to click further into your site.
I generally see bounce rates of between 50% and 70%, however, many of my clients (mostly in niche areas) are obtaining bounce rates of 20% or less.
Why would I want a better Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is an indication of page quality. A higher number of pages on your site with low bounce rates means that users are spending longer on your site – and are therefore significantly more likely to convert. Reducing bounce rate is a Conversion Optimisation strategy, and can eventually be a lot more effective way to improve sales and inquiries on your site than conventional SEO techniques.
How can I improve my Bounce Rate?
Generally you ought to be trying to achieve as low a bounce rate as you possibly can. We recommend that you start off by examining the bounce rate of your key pages such as your home page, landing pages for PPC campaigns, and pages associated with conversions (inquiry form, product pages, etc).
Take a close look at these pages from a users perspective – do they provide the information or functionality that a user would want or expect?
The original source of the traffic to your high bounce rate pages should also be examined. You should normally expect a lower bounce rate for direct traffic than you would for search traffic. A very high bounce rate for search traffic may suggest that the page is ranking for keywords and key phrases which are not properly answered on that page. After some manipulation of Google Analytics, it is possible to ascertain which key phrases are ending in greater bounce rates for a certain page (if you’re unsure on how to do this, contact us and we can help you to analyse your usage stats).
If you are operating a Paid advertising campaign make sure you take a very close look at the bounce rate of your Ad landing pages – if these are receiving a high bounce rate, not only are you wasting cash on click costs, but your Cost per Click is also apt to be high because of a low quality score.
In this post we’ve really only had a chance to provide simple facts on the information open to you through your web site usage statistics, or techniques that will help you to enhance conversions of your site. If you’d like to discover more about Web Analytics or Conversion Optimisation, don’t hesitate to contact us at WebConsulting.