Web Page Bounce Rate Explained and What to Do About a High Rate

Website page bounce rate is defined by Wikipedia as ” the percentage of visitors who enter the site and ‘bounce’ (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site.” You can view your own website bounce rate figures on the “Audience Overview” link in Google Analytics. As a point of reference, Google Analytics reported that last year the average global bounce rate was 46.9%.

If you look at your own website and see a bounce rate figure like mine (which is 84.95%) don’t get worked up. The most important next step is to go to the “Content”  link and select “Site Content” and then “Pages” in Google Analytics to see where the truth to your bounce rate lies.

In my own personal case, I have been writing for my website and adding white papers and instructional how-to’s since 2001. I have some interesting free content that I offer such as how to change your signature in Outlook, how to set up multiple email accounts in Outlook, how to create an address group in Outlook, and many other similar topics that are not focused on my own services. Many of these pages get several thousand unique visitors each month but are associated with high bounce rates. I have provided these special pages in my website as link bait and traffic multipliers, but as a result some of these high traffic pages have boosted my website’s aggregate average bounce rate.

In my case, important service pages in my website do have bounce rates that track closer to the global average of 46.9% or are lower.  What I feel is more important to mature websites, such as my own, is to evaluate the bounce rate on a per page basis. That being said, once you have identified high traffic pages in your own website, use those pages to drive social media traffic by encouraging Facebook likes, newsletter subscriptions or consider putting banners advertising your own services on them to try to take advantage of the high one time traffic. You may be able to convert some of these one-time visitors at least into newsletter subscribers.

Although I want to continue to offer some informational content for free, I have started to try to put these pages to work for me so that I get a benefit from the traffic while trying to move some of these visitors into helping to promote my name through social networking. You don’t necessarily want to remove these high bounce rate pages from your website, but instead need to identify what they are and then use them to your long term strategic advantage. Google likes authoritative, informational, high traffic websites and rewards them with organic search placement, but it is still important to keep a careful eye on your bounce rate just to make sure important pages aren’t slipping into irrelevancy.