Thursday, May 20, 2010

What is a good bounce rate?

A bounce rate, for those not familiar with the term, is the percentage of users who come to your site and then leave without going to another page. Too many SEOs, and other experts, write articles and give seminars where they say such things as “any bounce rate under 50%” is good,” or that a “30-40% bounce rate is good” and a 50% bounce rate means that you have to work on x, y or z in order to bring your site to the optimal bounce rate percentage.

I don’t think any such generalization can be made. You may have a page for upcoming events and the user went straight there to make certain he had the date and location correct. People may be looking for your phone number, find it on the first shot, and then bounce off. It does not mean that there is anything wrong with your keywords, your site organization, or the way you are presenting information on a page. It means the user found what they were looking for.

Frequent visitors to your site are probably not going to crawl through your site each and every time they come there. They are coming for specific reasons. Often times that will mean that they will get what their looking for on the first page.

Example: you’re looking to find out if your team won or lost last night. You go to and there is the score on the top of the page. You may not want to go any further. You found your information and you left. The same thing holds true on your website. You could lower the bounce rate by forcing the user to click through a series of pages to find the data they’re looking for (such as hiding your company address or phone number) but that would be counter-productive.

What does this mean? It means that you cannot have a one-size-fits-all approach to bounce rates. If a frequent user comes to your blog he may not click through your site but still be a very satisfied user. Analyzing your bounce rate will have to include thinking about the user – if the user found what he was looking for and bounced off. Great. Don’t dwell on the fact that he didn’t stay longer. The more the user incorporates you into his routine the less he is going to crawl through your site.

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