There are many things you need to consider when creating a website, and one of the main considerations is ensuring your website is optimised for search engines.
A great way to see how your visitors use your website is to install Google Analytics on your site. Google Analytics allows you to see just how visitors interact with your website, and is a vital tool for any webmaster. If you’re already using Google Analytics you’ll most likely be aware of what ‘bounce rate’ is.
What is bounce rate?
When you install Google Analytics you’ll notice that you have a bounce rate percentage show up on your Google Analytics dashboard. The bounce rate is relating to what your visitors do when they visit your website. Having a high bounce rate percentage is generally seen as bad news, but is it that straight forward?
What causes a high percentage bounce rate?
If someone visits your website, but takes no action other than pressing the back button on their browser; this visitor would cause your bounce rate to be 100%. Your bounce rate is calculated on the number of visitors your website receives.
For example, if Google Analytics is showing your website had five visitors during the day; the bounce rate would be calculated on these five visitors. If your bounce rate is showing as 100%; it would mean all five visitors landed on a page, but went no further than this.
What causes a low percentage bounce rate?
If your visitors click on other articles when they visit your website; this will show a lower percentage bounce rate on Google Analytics. So having a bounce rate at 100% is not good news, and you should aim at getting your bounce rate lower.
Does a high percentage bounce rate impact SEO?
So we’ve already explained having a high percentage bounce rate is not considered good news, as it shows visitors to your site leave almost immediately after landing on it.
If you receive many visitors to your site then you would hope to see a low percentage bounce rate, but if you look at your bounce rate on an individual visitor basis; having a high bounce rate is not necessarily bad news.
It has long been considered that Google will consider a high bounce rate as a negative sign, but this isn’t strictly true. If a visitor lands on your website from a Google search they may stay on your website whilst they read the article that matched their search criteria.
If the visitor then decides to leave your site without reading any other articles doesn’t mean the visitor was unsatisfied with your site. Many people use Google to search for a specific subject, if a visitor reads your article, and the article answered all their questions, it makes sense they may then decide to leave your site. This doesn’t mean they were unhappy with the content on your site.
This means it would be impossible for Google to judge whether your site was offering good content by looking at the bounce rate on its own. However, as a webmaster you should be looking at your bounce rate percentage if you receive many visitors. If your content is good enough, then you would hope the visitor would then be interested in reading more of your content.
Don’t worry about having a high percentage bounce rate if your site is not yet receiving many visitors. You should also avoid the assumption that a high bounce rate means your content provides no interest to your visitor. However, if your site receives many visitors, and your bounce rate percentage is high; then you should consider looking at what might be causing this.