How high is your bounce rate and does it matter?

Almost every time I assess a client’s website I hear the same question.  What does bounce rate mean?  So time to explain.

What is a bounce rate?

On your Google Analytics report you will always see the bounce rate as a percentage and it’s actually the percentage of single page visits where your visitor arrived on a landing page and left from that page.   In short it’s a measure of relevance and quality and if you have a high bounce rate it can suggest that visitors are not finding what they are expecting to find i.e. the page they landed on is not relevant and there was nothing else to attract their attention so they left.

Bounce rate doesn’t always have to matter

A lot of sites have hidden landing pages or products that they direct people too specifically, so a site with a high bounce rate doesn’t necessarily have to be a flawed site if you are sending people to specific pages and they book services or buy products from that page, as it’s served it’s purpose and you don’t necessarily need them to look around your website.  If you want them to then it’s down to the redirection you offer on hidden landing pages as to whether they do.

Bounce rate gives you and idea of how your adwords and organic searches work

A lot of people think the bounce rate is only important on an adwords campaign but it can be important on your organic searches to, as it helps you understand what your customers are doing.  Often sites that do a lot of AdWords campaigns have high bounce rates because they’re directing people via the AdWords to specific services or products.  It doesn’t always means a bad thing as if you’ve set up conversion data you can get good info about how effective your campaigns are.    You may not be aware but one of the tools Google uses to assess the cost of a click is the quality/relevance of your site on an organic level, so if you haven’t bothered with your organic SEO because you get people to your site with AdWords, you’re missing a trick on two fronts.

Why good Organic SEO helps with your AdWords cost?

Good does value relevancy on a site, if you haven’t bothered with organic SEO your site may have relevancy issues and sites with poor relevancy pay a premium for adwords.  So when you get good SEO on our website, you not only pick up a higher ratio of free organic searches, the cost of your AdWords tends to come down per click.  Remember that optimising your site organically is cost effective long term and much more sustainable.  When you stop paying Google for your AdWords, the customers stop, if you’re site is well optimised and you keep it updated, it costs very little and the customers keep coming.

You can check organic and Adwords Bounce Rates in Google Analytics

The good thing is that Google Analytics can tell you bounce rates on your site in general, on specific pages as well and on your AdWord campaigns.  It can also tell you the number of visitors, where they are coming from, what keywords they used to get there and how long they stayed on your site.   Lots of good reasons for making sure that you sign up for Google Analytics.   It’s not much good having a website if you don’t know what it’s doing for you, is it?

Information sites, site using hidden landing pages and Adwords and Ecommerce sites are different in the way bounce rates show

Ideally your bounce rate should be under 50% but a few points over isn’t a major crisis. An information site with no hidden landing pages would want a bounce rate like this.  But sites using AdWords and hidden landing pages and Ecommerce sites tend to have higher bounce rates and this isn’t necessarily a bid thing, but you do need to keep an eye on the stats to ensure they are not disproportionate.  If you’re paying a fortune for AdWords and 98% of the hits are bouncing out without converting to anything, then something is wrong with your AdWords. Equally i’d be worried at a high bounce rate on hidden landing pages (although at least you’re not paying for the clicks unless they’re being used solely for AdWords) as this points to relevancy issues. So keep an eye on your sites, look out for the pages with very high bounce rates and the AdWords campaigns that are costing and not delivery and review things regularly.

Information sites

If you’re site is predominately an information site then note the pages have a much higher bounce rate than others and navigate your users to other areas of your site from these pages, using links, offers, new content. If there is somewhere interesting for them to go they are less likely to “bounce”.  It’s more important on an information site to keep our users moving around the site.

If you require any further information on SEO, adwords or Google Analytics please feel free to contact