Why a High Bounce Rate Is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing
Ever click on a link to an article, read it, and then leave because it had exactly the information you needed? Or did you ever Google an address or phone number, find it and close the webpage immediately? If you did any of those things, you ‘bounced’ off those sites, which popular opinion tells us is terrible for those sites. But think about it – was that necessarily bad for the sites you visited? High bounce rates get a bad rap, but what do they actually indicate? If your website has a high bounce rate, is that really so terrible?
If you’ve been looking at your site stats on Google Analytics, you know that Bounce Rates are important for your website. And if your website bounce rates are as high as 70-80% you’re probably concerned, because ‘experts’ say high bounce rates are a terrible indicator. But are they really? What do bounce rates actually indicate and how worried do you need to be?
What are bounce rates and why are they important?
A website’s bounce rate is defined as the percentage of site visitors who land on a page and leave without visiting any other pages on that website. A bounce rate of between 25-40% is great, while 41-55% is considered average. Anything above 70% is supposed to be a cause for concern. This indicates that people either didn’t like your website or didn’t find what they were looking for. However, that isn’t necessarily so. Your website’s bounce rate is just one of the metrics – the key performance indicators – that demonstrate the health of a website. There are many others and your bounce rates make sense only when you view them in that context.
There are cases when a high bounce rate could actually be a positive indicator. For instance, someone Googles the contact information of your business, visits your site, gets the info they wanted, and then leaves. This will result in a high bounce rate, but here, when site visitors leave, it wasn’t because they didn’t find what they needed. In fact, the opposite is true. They found exactly what they needed and they left. This is a good thing – it’s a win for the website. Similarly, if someone clicked on your tweet, visited your website, and spent 3-4 minutes reading the article you tweeted, this is a good thing even though it means a higher bounce rate.
When high bounce rates are a cause for concern.
Of course, a high bounce rate can also be bad news for your website. It could mean that website visitors found your website confusing or complicated and they left. Maybe they didn’t like what they saw or they found that your website wasn’t mobile-friendly enough, and they didn’t want to hang around and pinch-zoom to make sense of it all. It could be that the design or layout was off-putting or the website content was generic or outdated. Sometimes technical issues may be resulting in a high bounce rate. Irritating pop-ups, asking for registration just to browse the site are other things that can be annoying for visitors, and they will simply leave.
The fact is bounce rates mean nothing in isolation. There are 7 other metrics or Key Performance Indicators – KPIs that shed light on the quality of a website. Bounce rates make sense when you see them in context of these KPIs.
The conversion rate of your website is important – a conversion rate of about 2% is good. The total visitors versus returning visitors is another important indicator to gauge how effectively you are able to drive traffic to your website. Other KPIs include traffic and device sources, average page views per session, average time spent, and exit pages. To know more, check out this episode of Inspiration to Millions, and learn how to improve your website and elevate your brand!