When going over website analytic reports with clients I often get a very worried look when we get to their bounce rates? I usually get a panicked “Are you serious?” after they see a 50% bounce rate. First, let’s not get ready to spend the entire year’s marketing budget to hire a new SEO (search engine optimization) firm. Second, let’s dig a bit deeper.
Read further to find out more about good bounce rate percentages.
Google’s definition of a bounce rate is “the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page). So this could mean that a visitor to your website may have received all of the information that they were looking for (hopefully this is the case), OR they did not find anything interesting once they landed on your site and left (bounced off). In either case, you need to dig deeper to discover what the case is with your site.
I decided to take a look at some of our client sites over the past 6-12 months. We have a number of different types of sites that we work with; ecommerce, local service businesses, educational sites, international distributors, etc. So let’s start by taking a look at 3 different types of websites.
eCommerce Bounce Rate
On the eCommerce sites, it’s very easy to determine what’s going on. If people are not buying, are they leaving? Are they looking around a bit more? What’s going on? I’m going to use a t-shirt company (that sells products worldwide) as an example.
If they are buying, it’s a conversion. Easy enough and that doesn’t count as a bounce. But before we started optimizing the site (for SEO purposes and conversions), the bounce rate was at 90%. YIKES! But upon deeper investigation, we found that all of the Google Adwords ads (which was a large part of their traffic) were pointing to the front page. Therefore when people were expecting to find a specific t-shirt, they were directed to a front page with more than 400 products. Not the easiest way to find what they are looking for.
Immediately upon changing those ads to direct people to the exact page with the product they are looking for, the bounce rate dropped immediately by 30%. Not to mention that conversions went up by about 20% (and that’s the most important thing). All because of one simple change. Now this was the biggest influence in this particular site and we did drive the bounce rate down further as time went on, but I wanted to use an example that had the largest impact.
Local Service Business Bounce Rates
We started to work with another much smaller company that had a very poor website with another abysmal bounce rate of 88%. This was a local 1 person law office.
The site was not optimized correctly and once this was taken care of it started to show up much better in the search results. Once this happened, the client started to receive more business just based on this alone. Enough business that she mentioned to us that she had to refer some business to other lawyers because she could not handle it.
Now, I don’t say this to try and win anyone over with our SEO services. I’m using this strictly as an example for this case. Besides, like I said, she was a one person shop in an area where she had little to no competition doing any website marketing correctly.
Now once the site was optimized, the bounce rate did drop a bit…. about 20%. You’ve got to be kidding me? 20%? So now we are looking at a 68% bounce rate…what’s going on? How is she turning away business with almost an 70% bounce rate?
After some further digging, and implementing some eye tracking software, we found out that most people who were looking for her site found what they were looking for (or not looking for) right away.
She was a divorce attorney and family law attorney. Once people found her site, they could see right away if she was someone they wanted to contact. They were looking at the types of services she offered. If they didn’t see what they were looking for, they bounced. If they needed a business attorney, obviously they would bounce because she was a family law attorney.
But her business was going up? How was this happening if everyone was bouncing off?
The contact information.
You see, before we got a hold of the site, there was no contact information to be found on the site with the exception of the contact page. Nothing in the sidebar, nothing in the footer and especially nothing in the header. But once we updated all of this information, she started to receive more calls.
The eye tracking software confirmed this. Once people found out that she was the type of attorney they were looking for, they started to look for (and find) a way to get in touch with that business.
When we build a site, the phone number is usually in the header, sidebar and footer. Once visitors got this information, they bounced. Obviously we don’t care if they bounce after they called the client. We just want them to call. So a bounce rate is not ALWAYS a bad thing.
The last example we will use is an education website that was designed to bring people in with free educational videos and material and offer a paid training program as well.
Now the bounce rate for a site like this was REALLY low. It was hovering around 10% on a consistent basis. WOW! We hit the jackpot…or did we?
There was a lot of traffic going to this site and once they hit a page, they would see a headline for another training video that we were offering and a lot of visitors would also click on one of those videos. But 10%?
Here are some bounce rate numbers:
• An exceptional bounce rate is around 26-40%
• An average rate is 41-50%
• Anything over 75% is not very good. The exception to this rule is blogs and news websites where people find the story they are looking for, read it and move on.
How are we hovering around “Miraculous” with a 10% bounce rate?
Is Your Bounce Rate Too Good to Be True
Now you may not hear a lot of companies admit this, but yes, we do occasionally make mistakes. But we are also always looking at different ways to improve on what we are doing and mistakes sometimes do happen.
After some heavy research, we found that the problem with the educational website was that the Google Analytics code was entered twice on each page. This was a WordPress website and the analytics tracking code was entered once in an area inside the theme (when we built the site) and again in an analytics tracking plugin. This greatly skews your results.
After removing one of the codes, we saw over the next month that the site was hovering around a 30% bounce rate. Not miraculous like we hoped, but more along the lines of realistic.
So while the bounce rate numbers don’t tell the whole story, the are a good measuring tool to keep an eye on. The longer you keep people on your site, the better the chance that you will get them as a customer or find them returning to your site again in the future.
Do you have any stories about good website bounce rates or suggestions? Leave them in the comments section below!