Should You Be Concerned About Your Bounce Rate?

Honest-SEOOften business owners are very concerned about their bounce rate, because it is a statistic that affects your website’s SEO and gives you information about how users are engaging with your website. Your bounce rate measures the number of visitors to your site who leave the page they visited without taking any action. They “bounced.” In Google’s eyes, this might mean they didn’t find your site useful or it wasn’t what they were looking for, so they moved on to look elsewhere. Obviously, as a business and website owner, you want users from organic search traffic to stay on your site to better convert them to clients or customers, but your bounce rate isn’t the only way to measure how effective your site is or how users are engaging with it. 

Whether or not your bounce rate is an important metric to tracking your SEO’s effectiveness depends on the kind of business you run. If  your site has any kind of e-commerce involved, your bounce rate is an important metric to track. No matter what kind of business you run, it’s important to understand bounce rate so you can contextualize it in your online marketing and SEO strategy.

Your bounce rate matters not only to you in terms of converting leads, but it also matters to Google’s algorithm in the way it ranks your content. If you have a high bounce rate, the algorithm will assume that the content you’re providing does not satisfy the user’s intent. For example, if you search a question and get an article that is related to the topic but doesn’t answer your question, you may just click right back to the search results page. Not only does that count as a bounce, but it tells Google the page didn’t answer your question. While a single instance of this doesn’t really affect a page’s ranking, a high enough bounce rate might.

However, this metric still may not matter much to you if you’re writing excellent content. The way Google determines whether someone has “bounced” or not depends on whether they click anywhere else on your website. For example, have you ever searched for a term, found exactly what you were looking for, and didn’t need to click around on the website to find any more info? It’s not terribly uncommon. If you’re writing excellent content that fulfills the user’s intent and they’re able to find all the information they need on the first page they click on, then you may want to reevaluate your strategy. The user may see your contact info at the top of your page and call you or send you an email. Well, Google may still count that as a “bounce” even if it ended in a conversion for your business.

It’s still important to keep track of your bounce rate even if you are a service business and you’re writing excellent content, because this metric is information you can use to track your SEO progress and may help you recognize when something isn’t working well. If you’re not getting the conversions, it’s possible your content isn’t as good as it needs to be. It’s valuable to track where your customers or clients come from so you know what’s working and what isn’t.

Bounce rate is more important if you have an ecommerce website. If you want users to pay for something on your website, they’ll have to click onto another page in order to get to the checkout page. No matter what you’re selling online, from cookware to business courses, if your bounce rate is high, it means that you’re not converting users. They’re not finding what they’re looking for when they go to your website from a search results page, and you’re not capturing their attention right away. This is an indicator that you need to rethink your content strategy.

So when you look at your bounce rate, take into account your conversion rate and your business type and ask yourself if you’re getting the results you’re looking for rather than immediately trying to find ways to improve that metric. While bounce rates make a difference in SEO, they’re not the most important part of your SEO strategy, and in some cases, it may even be a sign that your content is working effectively for new leads and business. So, now go and evaluate your bounce rate statistics and use these tools to improve it.

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Jason Hennessey

Jason Hennessey is an internationally-recognized SEO expert, speaker, and serial entrepreneur whose ethos of “educate and empower” has earned him a reputation for excellence in digital marketing.

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