One question I get asked very often is about the bounce rate statistic in Google analytics. Many people believe that a high bounce rate is a bad thing but is that really the case?

Columnist George Aspland wrote an article on last year (2016), explaining that sometimes a high bounce rate is ok and here’s why.

If someone lands on a web page and then leaves the site, that would be marked as a bounce. But what if they left because they found what they are looking for? If they found the information they wanted, they might easily simply leave the site!

Perhaps the page in question is targeted at a certain demographic. Perhaps highly technical. Many people might then leave the site because they simply aren’t in the target audience.

It’s normally said that someone visiting many pages on a site is a good thing and often may be the case. But not always. Perhaps they were looking for some information but then never found it and left the site.

I think if your site does have a high bounce rate, it’s sensible to see if you can ascertain why. Perhaps the information on a page is relevant but the layout and overall design is letting the site down. This could be a reason for someone not hanging around for too long.

I would say that if you have a high bounce rate, don’t panic as there could be many reasons as to why someone visits a single page on your website and then leaves. You can only judge a website on a case by case basis.

I certainly lay out web pages to ensure that the information on each page is as relevant as possible to a possible search term. That means the visitor should find what they need on the page and I deliberately avoid distractions as in other links in a side bar for example. Relevance is what Google advocates.

So, in summary, I would say that if you have a site with a high bounce rate, further investigation is required but it could turn out to be no bad thing.

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