Question: What is a bounce rate?

Question from a reader: What is a bounce rate?

The other question I often get asked that goes along with bounce rate is this – How do I keep a customer on my website longer? If you understand what bounce rate is, and your bounce rate is low, then you are probably in no need of reading this post and are doing well. If you have no clue what a bounce rate is, or ever heard of it before this post is perfect for you!

According to Wikipedia:

A bounce occurs when a web site visitor leaves a page or a site without visiting any other pages before a specified session-timeout occurs. There is no industry-standard minimum or maximum time by which a visitor must leave in order for a bounce to occur. Rather, this is determined by the session timeout of the analytics tracking software.
A visitor can bounce by:
? Clicking on a link to a page on a different web site
? Closing an open window or tab
? Typing a new URL
? Clicking the “Back” button to leave the site
? Session timeout
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 his 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 occur.
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.

Here is my take on bounce rate and hopefully this will give you a better idea why it should be something you are familiar with.

Have you ever heard someone talk about a sticky site, or that you need to make your site more sticky? Making your site more sticky simply means that you are doing your best to make your customers want to stay on your website once they get to you. I think the stickiness of the site needs to start with keyword research and content creation. The more relevant the result you can give the searcher and the more specific the page is to the result given for the searched keyword the higher the conversion rate you will have. Your site will hold the person longer because they are not lose on your site looking for what they searched for – they are already there.

Let me explain it like this:

Lets say I am selling picnic baskets on my website, but I also offer gift baskets and I am only featuring gift baskets on my homepage. If the visitor has to search around my site and has to click more then say 3 times to find what they are looking for, there is an 80% chance I will lose the customer. However; if I am able to target specific keywords and send to the exact pages so when people search for gift baskets they are taken to my page. Again, the more relevant the result the longer you will keep people on your site, and higher conversion rate you will have. The more friendly the shopping cart, the easier to navigate and the more specific and correct the keywords are that you associate with pages, the lower your bounce rate will be, and your conversion rate will be much better!

Hopefully this answers the question about what a bounce rate is. I seem to get asked this question a lot so having this on my blog I am hoping will be a good thing, and that it will help. If you have any other questions about bounce rates, then please – ask away!

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