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Who needs a low bounce rate anyway? I certainly don’t!



How many of you care about your bounce rate? Generally speaking, many bloggers and webmasters love looking at bounce rates with a high level of scrutiny. Personally, not only do I not really use it, I totally ignore it!

Quick bounce rate explanation

First, let’s make sure we know what a bounce rate is. If you use a tool that tracks your site metrics, I use Google Analytics, a bounce rate can show you how many people leave after visiting just one page. In other words, if Visitor A lands on your homepage (can be any page really) and leaves to another site while Visitor B and Visitor C land on your home page and click on another article on your site, you have a bounce rate of 33%. Visitor A left and the other two stayed. It doesn’t matter what the duration is as long as they went to another page within the site.

We’re led to believe that a low bounce rate helps us understand that visitors are staying around your site and reading multiple articles, pages, and whatever else you have going on. Think really hard. Is that really helpful? Maybe, right?

Why bounce rates may matter

For some folks, a low bounce rate might be a goal you want. For example, if you have a marketing or SEO campaign that directs users to a specific page but then needs them to drill down to another page to purchase or sign up for something, then a high bounce rate hurts you. You don’t want them leaving until they get to the page where they can do what you want them to do.


Why some of you shouldn’t care about bounce rates at all

Consider this, how many times have you been to a site and browsed for what seems like an eternity but didn’t actually buy anything (the visitor who didn’t bounce)? Now think about how many times you’ve popped into a site to get information, like directions, hours, etc (the visitor who bounced). Which of those scenarios is better for the site owner?

In many cases, I believe if you set up your pages right, you could get your visitors to your goal without having them click anywhere else! I mean, I think it’s great if a visitor spends an hour on my site reading twenty different articles but is that better than a visitor clicking on one of my affiliates? I mean, my call to action is basically asking for visitors to click on those links when I’m trying to sell something.

Of course, there are some huge buckets of exceptions like if you’re running an e-commerce site where a lot of browsing takes place or a company/organization site where you want visitors to explore and learn about your offerings. That said, neither of those is me!
Bounce rate isn’t really a great metric

You might call it short-sighted but the truth is, branding and loyalty don’t pay the bills unless you’re well-known. Besides, those things will come in time and a bounce rate can’t measure them well. The point is, bounce rates are situational and may not be relevant depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

So come on in, click on an ad, and then come back tomorrow to do the same thing. If everyone did that, I’d gladly take a 100% bounce rate!

Like I said, I don’t use it as a measurement and lowering it isn’t part of my strategy but, for those who are curious, freebloghelp.com’s bounce rate is 67% over the last 12 months.

What’s your bounce rate? And more importantly, is it even useful for you?

Are you still thinking about your bounce rate and how to increase it?

A few weeks ago, I posted an article explaining why I think bounce rate is a poor metric for most sites. This indicator is determined by merely looking at how many visitors came by and how many continued on to other pages on your site versus those who didn’t. The end result is a percentage of visitors who left your site, or in other words, bounced.

The bounce rate formula, if you really want to know, is pretty straightforward:

Bounce rate = visitor who left after a single page / sum of visits

Obviously, the lower bounce rate, the better. That is, if you even care about bounce rates. Again, I, for one, do not. But if you’re one of the few who can actually use bounce rate to measure performance.
 

The following is what dictates someone who left:

  • She/he closed her browser window
  • She/he closed her browser tab
  • She/he entered a new URL in the browser
  • She/he used the browser search bar and displayed results “over” your site’s content
  • She/he went ‘Back’ either using the back button on the browser or shortcut key (usually Alt + Left Arrow)
  • She/he clicked on an external link from your site (e.g. ad, blogroll, commentluv, etc.)

It doesn’t matter if she did any of these things in the first few seconds or after a few hours. A bounce is a bounce!

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