Bounce Rate Baloney
 

What is a Bounce Rate? Bounce Rate is a metric in Google Analytics that measures how long a visitor stayed on any one page of a website and whether the visitor interacted or engaged with the site. An interaction could include visiting another page of the website, clicking a link, leaving a comment, etc. It’s a percentage determined by dividing the number of visits of a single page that exited the website without any engagement by the total number of visits to that page. Google interprets this as a sign that the visitor did not find what they were looking for.

Some people might view this as a bit of bounce rate baloney considering that a visitor may have just been visiting a website to find a phone number, hours, or the address. All of which Google recommends should easily be found on each page of a website for the best user experience.

Does bounce rate affect your search rankings? Officially, according to Google, it doesn’t have an impact. Though a high bounce rate warrants some concern, it could also mean nothing at all. However, some case studies have shown a strong correlation between low bounce rates and higher Google search rankings.

Essentially, if a website is performing well enough in most other categories of search ranking factors, the bounce rate may not matter a whole lot because it is just one of many indirect ranking signals. It matters, but it matters along with a kit and caboodle of other search ranking factors.   

If you’re wondering what a good or average bounce rate is, well it’s somewhat subjective, but the bounce rate experts over at RocketFuel suggest that the average bounce rate is around 50%, while high bounce rates hovered around 90% and a score of 27% would be considered low. They also noted that most websites often see fluctuations ranging between 26% and 70%.

If there was only one kind of site, perhaps this metric might be easier to define and understand, but because blogs are visited for different reasons than retail sites, it should be calculated differently. Could you complete a transaction on an ECommerce site in less than a minute? Using Amazon.com as an example, if a visitor to their site already had an item in the shopping cart from a previous visit and decided to move forward with the purchase, it would probably take less than 30-seconds on the site to complete the visit, especially if that person’s payment and shipping information had been previously saved. Whereas a news-centric site or blog that is based on content should expect to keep a visitor on their site longer.

Perhaps type of site will soon be factored into Google’s algorithm for calculating Bounce Rate?

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