Too many times have I had people come up to me, friends and colleagues alike, asking me why their blog bounce rates are so high. Bounce rate is one of those metrics that every blog owner should be tracking and analyzing on a regular basis. But what exactly is bounce rate? An often misconstrued metric, bounce rate is simply the rate in which visitors entered your site, did not click on anything, and exited.
There’s a common myth in the SEO community that says bounce rate is the rate of visitors on your site for less than X amount of seconds. This is simply not true. Visitor A can visit domain.com/blog-post and read that blog post in its entirety, leave the site after 20 minutes and that session will be logged as a ‘bounce’. Why? Because the visitor did not click on any internal links from the landing page in which he/she entered.
So if Visitor A was logged as a bounce after spending 20 minutes engaged in my blog post, doesn’t it seem silly that Google Analytics classifies this as a bounce? Everyone will have their own opinion but I say that it’s not silly because Visitor A did not feel the inclination to explore my blog further, read additional posts, read my about page, post a comment, etc. I’ll use a phrase coined by analytics expert Avinash Kaushik , the visitor “…came, puked and left.” The visitor did not complete any additional actions on the site and therefore should be considered a bounce.
To get a better view of your bounce rate when blogging, segment your traffic in Google Analytics to study only New Visitors . This will ensure that your repeat blog readers are not being included in your bounce rate calculations and only including those new visitors who you would otherwise want to read additional posts, subscribe to your RSS feed, and so on.
While there is no magical number for what your blog’s bounce rate should or should not be, it is important to put this metric into context. How does the bounce rate for one blog post differ from the other? How do your bounce rates differ for people coming from Google versus those from a referring site? Always use comparative data points and trends when analyzing your bounce rates.
Understanding what these key metrics actually mean is critical when analyzing your Google Analytics reports; specifically any custom reports made to identify poor performing landing pages/blog posts. Segment your traffic, look at bounce rates by search engine, keyword and landing pages to better understand why your bounce rates may be higher than the norm.
What has been your experience with bounce rates ?