Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is the ratio of visitors to a site which view more than one page, versus those who view only one page. The length of time spent on the website can also be used to specify the bounce rate. The bounce rate is an important KPI in online marketing.

Bounce rate as part of web analytics

The bounce rate is a good indicator of the success of a page or sub-page of a web project for webmasters and SEO. In the field of SEA, bounce rate can also show the efficiency of display or text ad campaigns. Various types of conclusions can be drawn from an analysis of the bounce rate.

In search engine marketing the referring source, i.e. text or image ads, have to be optimized so that the search matches the target page. However, it may also be necessary to adjust the landing page for visitors to find exactly what they were looking for.

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Interpretation of values

Bounce rates vary from industry to industry and from topic to topic. There is no one size fits all rule as to exactly when a more detailed analysis should be done to find the reasons for an excessive bounce rate. Using benchmarks from a similar industry, the quality of one’s own bounce rate can often be approximately determined.

The differentiation between new visitors and regular visitors would also be important in the context of an analysis, usually because the bounce rate would be higher for new visitors. This could also be a reason why visitors who clicked an ad bounce faster, since a large percentage are new visitors and don't yet know the site.

Another possible way of specifying the bounce rate is to convey the length of time the reader spends on a page. The bounce rate for a website may be high, but the content may still all-inclusively be consumed by the users.

Possible reasons for a high bounce rate

  • A single page without sub-pages: In this case, the analysis tool cannot count any further page views. Reloads of the page are not taken into account either. However, an analysis of the length of stay provides information on whether the visitors have found what they were looking for. If necessary, tracking needs to be adjusted to analyze the interaction of visitors to the website (tracking of downloads, etc.).
  • Faulty integration of tracking codes: Every web analytics tool works with a tracking code that must be installed in the source code of the analyzed page. Errors during installation can cause the bounce rate to be measured too high.
  • Bad page design: It may be that visitors did not find what they were looking for on the page or discover the content they searched for only after scrolling. A redesign of the site may decrease the bounce rate.
  • Bad content: If you only optimize your website in order to rank well, you’re working for a high bounce rate, because if visitors don’t find enough information on the subject which they searched, they will immediately bounce off again.

Bounce Rate vs. exit rate

Often, the bounce rate is confused with the exit rate. But these are two fundamentally different parameters. The bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors of a sub-page that leave the site without having viewed other pages.

When measuring the exit rate, the entire session is considered. The exit rate of a page indicates how often it was the last page of a visit.

Return to SERP rate

In connection with the bounce rate, the Return-to-SERP-Rate is also often mentioned. This is the number of visitors in relation to the page visitors which return to the search results after visiting the page. These figure can't be analysed in the usual ways. However, it plays an important role for the search engines because it essentially shows the search engines whether the user has found what he wanted on the landing page.

Theoretically, there are three interpretation possibilities:

  • The user has not found the desired page and searches further for other websites
  • The user has not found what they desire on the landing page and specifies the search.
  • After returning to the SERPs, the user searches for something else.

In all three cases, a negative signal will be given to the search engine. To what extent the Return-to-SERP-Rate influences the ranking of an individual page in relation to a specific search query is, however, not yet known.

Importance for SEO

In search engine optimization and web analytics, bounce rate must be observed in order to identify what needs to be optimized. When a visitor clicks on an index # organic search result and immediately bounces back to the search engine, this may be a signal to the search engine that the quality of the page does not meet the user’s expectations. It is not known whether Google incorporates these metrics directly in the evaluation of a page. However, Google recommends observing this statistic to identify poorly converted content.

The bounce rate gives important clues to SEOs as to whether design or content must be optimized in order to prompt visitors to spend more time on the site (length of stay). Moreover, the analysis of bounce rate helps to evaluate SEA campaigns.

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