Bounce rate is a web analytics metric that measures visitors’ quality to a site. Web (landing) pages’ high bounce rates often cause websites to have low conversion rates.
Definition of Bounce Rate
Wikipedia’s definition and formula of bounce rate:
Bounce Rate represents the percentage of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.
The formula used to calculate bounce rate is:
Bounce Rate = Total Number of Visits Viewing One Page / Total Number of Visits
Google defines search engine traffic’s bounce rate as:
A high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and convert. You can minimize bounce rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run.
Note that bounce rate is different to exit rate.
Analyze Bounce Rate, Reduce Bounce Rate
Avinash Kaushik and Jakob Nielson recommend measuring and analyzing your website’s bounce rate by segmentation.
Avinash Kaushik reckons you should:
- Measure bounce rate of your website
- Measure bounce rate of your different traffic sources
- Measure bounce rate of your search keywords
- Measure bounce rate of your PPC traffic (i.e. Google AdWords, Microsoft Bing AdCenter, Yahoo Search Marketing campaigns)
- Measure bounce rate of your top trafficked pages
Jakob Nielson believes you must analyze bounce rates separately for four sources of visitors:
- Low-value referrers
- Direct links from other websites
- Search engine traffic
- Loyal users
Dosh Dosh’s Maki believes you must measure bounce rate against your overall web site goals, improve your site’s bounce rate, and get more page views. To increase the ratio of page viewed per visit, include additional links:
- Links to feature articles with in-depth analysis
- Links to other news articles on the same topic
- Links to a dedicated reference page dealing with only the specific topic
- Links to a comment section/forum to invite participation by readers
- Links to a Back story or general background information
- Links to a multi-media presentation (audio/video)
Bounce Rate as a Search Engine Ranking Factor
If search engine traffic is important to your website, Stone Temple’s Eric Enge believes bounce rate is one of the factors in Google’s search algorithm. SEO Black Hat also has had this fact confirmed.
Bounce Rate Reports on Free Web Analytics
Measure and analyze bounce rate through one of the free web analytics:
- Google Analytics – Identify high bounce rates through Traffic Sources Report and Content Report
- Yahoo Web Analytics
- Baidu Web Analytics – Requires a Baidu PPC Phoenix Nest account