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Thread: Bounces (one-page visitors)

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    Default Bounces (one-page visitors)

    My bounce rate - visitors arriving on my site and clicking away without delving deeper - is 66%. Sounds horrible, I know, but every site has a bounce rate - Google's is 26% and Bing's is 48%. Coca Cola has a 61% bounce and eHow has a bounce rate of 74%, so maybe 66% isn't so bad. Nonetheless, I think reducing the bounce rate would be a great way to get more business out of one's site. I mean, the people who searced for your keyword came, they are there, so it might be easier to get them to see what you offer than focussing on new people, all the time. Rather like helping the people who came into your store instead of ignoring them trying to get other people into your store.

    So - What is your bounce rate?

    Alexa the Web Information Company


    What can we do to improve (ie. reduce) the bounce rate?

    Dos and Donts of Creating a First Class Homepage


    According to the above article, this is what we should have on our homepage...

    -- all-encompassing benefit statements
    -- general, all-encompassing keywords
    -- links to main products/services
    -- copy thatís focused around your customer
    -- a preview only of what you offer
    -- a benefit-oriented title
    -- copy that gets to the point


    And the things we should not include are...

    -- every benefit you have
    -- every keyword in the home page copy or in the footer
    -- a link to every product or service you offer
    -- generalized copy
    -- your entire story
    -- unclear title filled with keywords
    -- anything that makes it hard for visitors to see what you offer.


    I thought this was a great article and I'm going through my homepage now to make sure I conform to all the above. I'd be interested to hear what others think of this list and how they think their homepage conforms.

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    The home page advice seems fine. I don't know that you need to conform to every point, but it does seem like good general advice. Keep in mind though that the problem could be due a disconnect between traffic and your site. For example your home page might rank well for a phrase that isn't a good match for the page. Imagine your home page ranked well for the phrase "gingerbread cookies." Your home page clearly isn't about gingerbread cookies so you'd expect those people to bounce. That's not an indication that there's anything wrong with your page though.

    Bounce rates can be a misleading metric. It's probably not best to make changes based solely on bounce rate. For example a high bounce rate could be an indication that the page visitors landed on was exactly what they were looking for. They got whatever information they needed and left. A seemingly good bounce rate could be an indication that visitors landed on a page and what they expected wasn't there. They click around to another page or two that looks promising, but turns out not to be. They leave without having found what they wanted.

    Think about Google. Anyone visiting the home page likely wants something else. If they want search results they type a query and are taken to another page. The process requires 2 clicks so regardless of what you think of Google's home page, the bounce rate has to be low. On the other hand say you search directly through your browser so the page you landed on is the results page. In that case Google's goal is 100% bounce rate as Google wants you to click on one of the links on the page and leave.

    I'm not trying to suggest you should ignore bounce rates, but you should look at them in the context of other things. You generally wouldn't want a high bounce rate on your home page, but on a specific article or blog post it might not be a big deal. Bounce rates by themselves don't paint a particularly detailed picture.
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    I'm with Vangogh on this. Bounce rate is just another metric. The suggestions are good but unless you are pulling a 90% bounce rate, don't sweat it too much. A lot depends on the industry you are in. In some industries a 50% bounce rate is bad and in other business areas a 80% bounce rate is good. Don't ignore the bounce rate but don't overemphasize it either.
    I have several years of small business Internet Marketing experience with specializations in email marketing, SEO, and local search engine marketing.
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    One one of my sites my bounce rate says it's 81%. However, it has a consistent visitor-ship (3 years) of around 500 per day, with 45000 page views a month. Will I do anything drastic to try and change that?
    Not really. I'm fine with it, especially since I took 6 months off recently and let it go.

    I'm more concerned about where the traffic is coming from and how they leave. Since most of my visitors leave through an affiliate or content link, I'm pretty sure that not too many people are getting there looking for something else. Actually , I think very few people get to that site by mistake.

    I have more traffic from feeds, and images and to internal pages and posts than I do the home page. If you look at the bounce rate number, it may seem like every one is leaving, but if you look at other metrics, clearly they are not and are clicking links that make me money.

    The only reason I actually looked at it was because of this post...otherwise I haven't been concerned about a bounce rate number since the site was new. And if I remember correctly it has always been about the same, but I have seen it lower when the traffic was higher.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 03-16-2011 at 01:39 AM.

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    In some industries a 50% bounce rate is bad and in other business areas a 80% bounce rate is good.
    Definitely true. I don't think there's any single % that signals good or bad for all sites. It's another reason why you can't look at bounce rate in isolation. You really can't look at any single point of data completely in isolation. Most are meant to be combined with others and taken together they attempt to paint a picture of what's happening on your site.
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    I forget what mine is but I remember it was way lower than that. My main website provides a very boring service though so I suppose if someone clicked they were already interested.
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    The bounce rate can vary considerably by page. Sometimes it means that the user found that the page (and the site) was not useful and bolted for something else. On the other hand, it could mean that the page contained exactly the information the user needed and there was no reason to look further.

    For example, on my LLC site I include a separate page for information on each state. The page on my entire site with the worst bounce rate last month was the California page (83%). But it had almost 1,000 page views and the average time spent on the page was over two and a half minutes. Yes, they left my site, but only after spending a lot of time on that page. The fact that enough people found the page useful that they spent an aggregate of 42 hours reading it last month is good enough for me.

    Obviously, most of the people who landed on that page were finding it useful. Since that is my main goal with the site, the fact that they didn't read any other articles is fine with me.

    To me, a bounce rate combined with a very low average time spent on a page is a red flag. Perhaps the page itself is bad, or maybe it is turning up in searches for terms that are not intended for that page. Either way, it requires some corrective action.

    Some sites are created in a manner that virtually guarantees high bounce rates. Many "made for AdSense" sites are complete rubbish and know that anyone landing on their site will leave immediately. They just hope that the user will leave by clicking an ad rather than his "back" button. As Harold pointed out, if someone exits through an affiliate link, and that is the site's revenue source, then a high bounce rate often simply doesn't matter at all.

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    David the page on your site is a perfect example of why you can't look at bounce rate in isolation. Sometimes the page in question was exactly what the person was searching for. They may not have clicked to another page, but the page was still successful.
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    I'm reading that G is now (or has been for some time) taking bounce rate into account in their algorithm.

    Argument: If a visitor clicks on a link on a G results page and returns very quickly to G to click on another link, the page did not contain what was wanted. If a visitor clicks on a link on G results page and doesn't come back to G immediately, that is a clear sign that the page delivered what was expected, or led to another page that delivered. ergo, the first page is a poor result for the search term and the second page is a good result for the search term. And G is taking that ito account.

    So, I think bouce rate is having more influence on search results, particularly since the Panda update.

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    I think what you were reading is mostly speculation. Google is certainly tracking things like bounce rates, but it's unlikely they play any significant part in ranking since it's such an easy thing to spam. All you have to do is visit your competition and bounce. You could pay an army of people from South East Asia a very small fee to do that for you or develop robots to scale it further.

    Also a bounce isn't necessarily a bad thing. If someone is looking for something and they find it on the first page of your site they land on, there's a good chance they'll bounce after visiting the page.

    If a visitor clicks on a link on G results page and doesn't come back to G immediately
    The amount of time it takes for someone to come back has nothing to do with bounce. If I only visit on page of your site and then leave it's a bounce. Whether I spend half a second or 2 hours on the page it's still recorded as a bounce.

    Panda was about low quality pages. Bounces aren't necessarily a sign of low quality. Someone visiting a page reading for a few minutes and then leaving is a bounce, but the few minutes spent is an indication the page was quality.

    As I said above bounce rates on their own are a mostly useless metric. They really don't tell you anything useful. You need to combine them with other metrics before they tell you much of anything.
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