What is bounce rate and why is it important?
You might have heard the term bounce rate being, well, bounced around now and then when talking about the effectiveness of websites. But just what exactly is it? We thought we’d let Google explain:
‘A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.
Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.’
So, in simple terms, a bounce is when someone has viewed your site but had no interaction with it. In almost all cases, a high bounce rate is considered a bad sign, but it is more complicated than that.
For example, on a blog, a high bounce rate could mean that visitors have read the content and then left. Which is kind of exactly what you need for a blog. But if it’s a product page, a high bounce rate means that potential customers have seen the item and then decided not to purchase, which is obviously not ideal. However, you should remember that bounce rate is only one metric and doesn’t tell the whole story by itself.
How is bounce rate analysed?
You can view your bounce rate over time on Google Analytics. Just change the drop down menu from ‘sessions’ to ‘bounce rate’ and you’ll see it. You’ll see bounce rate listed among the metrics split by the report page you’re looking at – so this could be page, medium, device category or others.
In order to take some measurement of how the bounce rate is performing for a certain page, it’s necessary to measure it against other parts of your site. But try to use pages that are similar in function. Comparing a blog post to a product page, for example, won’t give you a fair indication of bounce rate. It would be best to compare just product pages to see which are performing and which aren’t.
Does bounce rate affect ranking?
Does Google use bounce rate to calculate your page ranking? This is one of the big questions. It all depends on how you’ve configured your analytics tracking, so it is possible to manipulate the figures slightly but this is not advised.
Exactly how the Google algorithms work and if bounce rate is really an important factor in ranking is still in the air. But if people are visiting your site and then immediately returning to their search, it’s a sign that not all is well. And that is the real benefit that knowing the bounce rate can give us.
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