Is a low bounce rate really important?
No, I am not speaking about the rate at which you can bounce off a trampoline or the like 😉 I am referring to the bounce rate you see mentioned in your Google Analytics account 😉 This bounce rates refers to the amount of “single page visitors”, people that come across your web site and after having seen the first page, the so called landing page, bounce off to other pastures new… Visitors that don’t stay and don’t interact with your site.
The idea to this post is based one a comment Hans from Internation Musings left on my Entrecard and Adgitze post. He asked: “What does the low bounce rate do…?”
Let me explain bounce rate a little bit further first. Bounce rate is a value in your Google Analytics Account, one amongst many and it has a sibling called “avg. Time on site”, the two of them together are one, if not the most important, indicators of the appeal of your web site to visitors, especially to new ones. A high bounce rate indicates Google that your web site doesn’t have enough quality content to keep visitors engaged and on the site. Lets see this from Google’s point of view:
Blog A claims to be about Blogging Resources, visitors typically come via searches or sites that are all related to blogging resources. They find what they are looking, stay around, read a few articles, post a comment or two and the like. The bounce rate of Blog A is low and the average time on site is high.
Blog B also claims to be about blogging resources, but the blogger has changed the focus of the site and blogs now more about the newest adventures and pictures of his / her cat instead of blogging about blogging resources 😉 A visitor takes a look and disappears quickly to another site, as this was not was s/he was looking for. Unless the visitor is a cat lover obviously 😉 The bounce rate of Blog B is high and the average time on site is low.
What happens now in Google’s eyes? Google looks at the keywords that brings visitors to a site and depending on the visitor behavior determines the authority the site has for these keywords. That is really only one seo factor amongst many, but a very important one. So, if your main key words are blogging resources and your bounce rate for this key word is low, Google will assign you a higher authority for this key word (SERP) as when your bounce rate is high. And in the end this means more targeted traffic to your web site!
In a nutshell: In an ideal world your bounce rate is low (under 50%), your page views and time on site are high and your Google Trustrank becomes also high for your key words and site. In an ideal world…
Famous last words:
When do you want to have a high bounce rate?
Very easy, a high bounce rate is completely normal -and desired- for a one page niche web site or a pitch page. You WANT your visitors to either leave via clicking an ad or by placing an order. Other than that, high bounce rates are really bad for your web site.
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