How Bounce Rate Affects Your SEO
Bounce rate is an Internet marketing term used in web traffic analysis. It is basically the percentage of visitors who enter a site and “bounce” or actually leave the site, rather than continue viewing other pages within the site. Let’s discuss in more detail how bounce rate affects your SEO.
Bounce verses Session Timeout
A bounce occurs when a web site visitor only views a single page on a website, in other words, the visitor leaves a site without visiting any other pages prior to a specified session-timeout occurring. Since there is no industry standard minimum or maximum time by which a visitor must leave in order for a bounce to occur because this is actually determined by the session timeout of the analytics tracking software, such as Google Analytics.
A commonly used session timeout value is 30 minutes. In this case, if a visitor views a page, doesn’t look at another page, and leaves their browser idle for longer than 30 minutes, they will register as a bounce. If the visitor continues to navigate after this delay, a new session will be started up.
The bounce rate for a single page is the number of visitors who enter the site at a page and leave within the specified timeout period without viewing another page, divided by the total number of visitors who entered the site at that page. In contrast, the bounce rate for a web site is the number of web site visitors who visit only a single page of a web site per session divided by the total number of web site visits.
Bounce rates can be used to determine the effectiveness or performance of an entry page. An entry page with a low bounce rate means that the page effectively causes visitors to view more pages and continue on deeper into the web site.
An Inc.com article stated: “As a rule of thumb, a 50 percent bounce rate is average. If you surpass 60 percent, you should be concerned. If you’re in excess of 80 percent, you’ve got a major problem.”
An explanation of the bounce rate measure should be relevant to a site’s business objectives and definitions of conversion, as having a high bounce rate is not always a sign of poor performance.
- On sites where an objective can be met without viewing more than one page, the bounce rate would not be statistically meaningful for determining conversion success.
- On the other hand, the bounce rate of an e-commerce site could be interpreted in correlational statistics with the purchase conversion rate, providing the bounces are considered representative of visits where no purchases were made.
Whereas a site-wide bounce rate can be a useful metric for sites with defined conversion steps requiring ternary page views, it may be of questionable value for sites where visitors are more likely to find what they are looking for on the entry page straight-up! .
- This type of conduct is common on web portals and referential content sites. For example, a visitor looking for the definition of a particular word enters an online dictionary site on that word’s definition page.
- Likewise, a visitor who wants to read about a specific news story may enter a site on an article written for that story. These example entry pages could have a bounce rate above 80% (thereby increasing the site-wide average), and they might still be considered successful due to having served their purpose.