I sure have been a good girl this year. Google has brought me a 10 percent bounce rate. I know what you’re thinking, I must have been a perfect angel for a bounce rate like that. Although it depends on the industry and the type of page, a decent bounce rate is hovering between 40-50 percent.

First, let me tell you what a bounce rate is. Google defines bounce rate as the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. For the math buffs, the bounce rate = one-page visits divided by entries to the page.

Now that we know what it is, how do we use it? The bounce rate is a great way to analyze the quality of traffic coming to your website. When a visitor comes to your site and stays a while, you tend to get a higher conversion rate. If a visitor comes to your site and quickly leaves, chances are that they didn’t find what they were looking for and will probably not come back.

I’m sure there are books on bounce rate and how to decrease it, but I’ve decided to pick three things that you can look at in your own analytics.

  1. Quality Content – I know that is a big term that is being used a lot now, but it is important. The days of your website being an online brochure are over. Searchers are looking for up-to-date content (very nice) that is relevant to them. You have to think from the point of view of the searcher. What do you have to offer that person?
  2. Honest Optimization – It is important for you to optimize for the content you are providing on the page. Trying to optimize for everything and everyone (very naughty) will only hurt you. You won’t get the quality traffic that might convert and you will get a high bounce rate.
  3. External links – Monitor the number of external links and make sure to have them open in a new window.

Other things you might need to know about bounce rates:

  1. Visits to your subdomain will count as someone leaving your site (without a proper filter), and thus incorrectly increase your bounce rate.
  2. Google Analytics will also count 30+ minutes of inactivity on a page as a bounce.

Sometimes a bounce is not a bad thing. If a searcher went to the site (say a contact us page) and found what they were looking for (say a phone number), I’d say it’s a good thing. Google Analytics is a great way to see behavior and it can help guide your online marketing and site content.  The key word is guide. Remember what your real goal is, increase business. If the page is achieving its goal, then the bounce rate may not be that important. If the page isn’t achieving its goal, the bounce rate is a good analytic to look at.

So the questions is, have you been naughty or nice? What kind of bounce rate will Google give you this Christmas?

Author Amanda Hall

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