Is Your Bounce Rate Killing Your Blog?

By Guest Author

This is a guest post by Sté Kerwer. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Bounce rate is a number that’s used to gauge the quality of the traffic your blog or website receives. There are a number of things that can effect your bounce rate, some you can control and some you can’t, and contrary to popular opinion there’s really no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ bounce rate. But no matter what it is, you can always try to make it better.

Basically, the bounce rate takes into consideration the number of people who visit your blog, how many pages they view, and how long they stay on your site. The lower the number the better, but it’s not an absolute indicator of the quality of your site. Before you can determine if your bounce rate is killing your blog you have to figure out where that number came from.

If you have an established blog that’s been running a consistent 30 or 40 percent bounce rate and all of a sudden it jumps up to 70 or 80 percent that’s not necessarily cause for panic. An established blog probably has a fair amount of repeat traffic. Your visitors have already read most of your blog. When they stop by now they’re only interested in reading your most recent post and then they’re going to leave. Don’t worry. They’ll be back for your next post, but they’ve already read everything else so there’s no sense sticking around.

Established blogs also attract a large amount of unexplained search engine traffic. The search engines glom onto all kinds of keywords you’re not even aware of. Let’s say you use Britney Spear’s name as an example in the middle of your post about writing good article titles. The search engines are going to see Britney Spears and include your site on the index for that keyword, even though your site is about a totally unrelated topic. People who click on your link in the index are going to arrive at your blog expecting to see news about Britney and when they don’t they’re going to click away.

So these two factors are beyond your control and can both have a massive effect on your bounce rate. But there are things you can control that will keep your bounce rate from killing your blog.

  • Poor navigation: If your links don’t work or visitors can’t easily find what they’re looking for on your site then they’re going to click away.
  • Irrelevant content: If your title promises one thing but your content doesn’t deliver, readers will exit your site before they even reach the end of the article.
  • Poor website design: Too flashy, too bright, too loud, too anything and visitors will become agitated and leave.
  • Slow load times: Google has already stated that load times are taken into consideration. A lot of users are still on a dial-up Internet connection. If it takes too long for your site to load, they’re not going to hang around.
  • Cluttered pages: Cluttering up the page with Adsense ads, banner ads, opt-in forms, surveys, polls, Facebook widgets, Twitter widgets and whatever else you can think of will not attract more attention. In fact, it does just the opposite. The reader can’t find the information they’re looking for because it’s surrounded by all that clutter so they just click away and go somewhere else to find it.
  • Pop-ups: Putting a pop-up on your blog is like putting a big, beefy bouncer at the entrance of your bar. A lot of people are intimidated by pop-ups and won’t even bother entering your site. If they do, they’re afraid they’re going to pick up a virus if they stick around so they make sure to get out of there quick.
  • Internal linking: Create internal links to lead your readers to more relevant content, deeper within your blog. Even some of your repeat visitors may have missed that previous blog post or might appreciate the refresher course. And it’s a great way to introduce new visitors to everything your blog has to offer. Set up those internal links to increase the amount of time that all visitors spend on your site.

Why is bounce rate so important? Obviously, the more time your visitor spends on your blog the better your chances of him turning into a loyal, repeat visitor and then into a buyer. But search engines are also beginning to consider bounce rate in the algorithms that determine index position. A high bounce rate won’t necessarily kill your blog. But everything you to do lower it helps increase your chances of success.

This post was written by Sté Kerwer, the guy behind Dukeo.com. He blogs about affiliate marketing, making money online, email marketing, SEO, mindset for success, Blogging, WordPress and a lot more. Make sure to visit his blog for more on those topics.




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15 Responses to “Is Your Bounce Rate Killing Your Blog?”

  • linda@adventuresinexpatland.com

    Really found this post informative and helpful. I’ve read about bounce rate before and had a general idea, but you did a great job of explaining it in simple terms. I came away with a couple new ideas to work on, and I appreciate that!

  • Ritesh @ TechSpacia

    hey Sté… yes, this bounce rate has become a problem for me now. what i miss is internal linking. Plugin is not working as it should do. I guess i will have to go for manual linking.

  • Sté Kerwer

    @linda A lot of people know that bounce rate is an important indicator about their website’s health but they fail to understand where it comes from, so I thought a little explanation could be useful.

    @Ritesh regarding internal linking, I like to use SEO Smart Links to automatically include internal links into the content of my posts. You could give try this.

  • Tom Ewer

    Hi Sté,

    Good article with some useful advice, but I did notice one thing:

    “…how long they stay on your site”

    To the best of my knowledge, bounce rate is purely whether a user clicks on an internal link in your site, or heads away. Time doesn’t come into it.

    Cheers,

    Tom

  • Sté Kerwer

    @Tom actually, time is a factor to determine if a visitor is a bounce or not.

    Here is an excerpt taken from Wikipedia: “A bounce occurs when a web site visitor only views a single page on a website, that is, the visitor leaves 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.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bounce_rate

    Notice the importance of session-timeout. It means that if your visitors read only 1 page, but stay on it long enough, the analytics session will expire and they won’t be counted as a bounce.

  • suraj

    i too facing bounce rate problem..so i am going to take some steps to decrease it..

  • Brian

    “…and how long they stay on your site.”

    Bounce Rate doesn’t take time on site into account — it’s purely a measure of what percent of people visited only one page of the site. Whether they stayed on that page for a second or an hour, it’s still a bounce if they viewed only one page.

    I like the WordPress Posts by Tag plugin for adding topically relevant links at the end of an article — provided, of course, that you do a good job of tagging your posts.

  • Tork @ Reviewd

    Yeah, bounce rate is real importento! My bounce rate is luckily around 50% or lower, but I run a free link directory service where half of the people logging in are people that want to add their blogs (ie. needing to click twice) or people popping past to see if their site is up yet.

    I have big images staring you in the face to click them, and people usually do. So the tip is, make it obvious to navigate around your site and people will! 🙂

    – tork

  • Netero

    Usually blogs with little to no content have very high bounce rates, especially mfa website where theie bounce rates are through the roof!

  • Grant Hughes

    One of the better posts on bounce rate I have seen. Some sites have a naturally high bounce rate because they deliver the information the customer is seeking and once found the customer leaves.

  • renjiv raman

    My website’s bounce rate is staying with in 60-65% for the past 2 month.I dont know whether its a bad thing.But i believe in one of the older posts Daniel has mentioned that anything below 70 will be a good figure for a blog.

    Anyways thank you for the post!

  • Sté Kerwer

    @suraj good luck with your website!

    @Grant thank you for the kind words, tried my best to explain bounce rate. Indeed, sites with short content will definitely have a high bounce rate because they provide a “quick fix” to the visitors’ need (for example, conjugation sites or dictionary sites). On the other hand, a content site such as a blog should have a low bounce rate if it provides quality information.

  • Jamie Northrup

    Great tips, I’ve never taken the time to check out my bounce rate until today’s post came out asking about it, and I think I will print this out to try and work on it. Thanks for sharing Sté.

  • Lionel Bachmann @ Model Trains

    Nice post. As you pointed out, it’s important to know where your visitors are coming from when determining bounce rate. Google Analytics is a good tool to use to determine this. You can look at the keywords people are using to get to your site, and the bounce rate for each keyword. If they are using keywords that are not relevant to your site, then a high bounce rate is expected. But if the keywords are relevant to your site and you have a high bounce rate, then you have some work to do to on the page to keep visitors on your site.

  • Art Paper

    Definitely yes. Bounce level means that your visitors have bad experience with your website surfing, and that is one of the important SEO factors that affect your blog position in SERP.

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