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Past Done-For-You Articles

Done For You Articles 20th August 2014

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Bounce Rate: A Critical and Misunderstood Metric

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Your bounce rate says a lot about your site, but you have to put it into context. For some sites, site-wide bounce rate is a very useful metric, for others, not so much.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors that only view one page on your site. A high bounce rate on your homepage, for instance, indicates that visitors are not receiving the type of information that they were looking for. It can also indicate that your homepage is poorly structured, or that it contains too much information.

A session is defined as a unique visit to a site. A session ends when the visitor leaves or is inactive for 30 minutes. If the visitor comes back to the page within 30 minutes, Google will record that as one session. If, on the other hand, a visitor returns after 30 minutes have elapsed, that counts as two visits.

How Bounce Rate Affects Your Rank

A high bounce rate is considered a measure of ineffectiveness. As such, your general aim should be to lower it wherever possible. If you can lower your bounce rate even a little bit, you will see an improvement in conversion rates and rank.

Google’s goal is to provide searchers with useful results. If visitors are leaving your site right away, it is in Google’s best interest to show your site less often.

A “Good” Bounce Rate

Obviously, a bounce rate of 0 is ideal, but this is not obtainable. Further complicating matters is the fact that a “good” bounce rate is not a fixed number. Generally, visitors will leave your site under two conditions: they achieve their objective, or they did not find the information they were looking for.

There’s not much you can do about the latter other than providing valuable, unique content. As far as visitors leaving because they achieved their objective, consider a web page with an embedded video player. That site is likely to have a very high bounce rate unless you provide the visitor with easy access to relevant content on other pages.

Because there’s so many different types of content on a given site, you have to consider the bounce rate in context. For this reason, the site-wide bounce rate is not a particularly useful piece of information in most cases.

What to Track

As mentioned, you definitely should track your home or landing page. You will also want to track the bounce rate of any pages associated with PPC campaigns. A high bounce rate on these pages can help you troubleshoot poorly converting campaigns.

Google recently made the bounce rate metric a bit smarter with the addition of the “Adjusted Bounce Rate.” This type of bounce rate takes time spent on the site into account. Going back to the video player example, you can now account for the amount of time users might spend on that page.

This new type of bounce rate will help you better gauge the value you are providing to visitors. Incidentally, another great way to track user engagement is with a heat map. A heat map and the bounce rate metric taken together can provide powerful insights into a site’s usability and overall value.

Keeping abreast with the social media marketing landscape is a key component of success. If you’d like to have access to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.

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