Is a high bounce rate in Google Analytics bad?

Is my bounce rate too high?
Before delving into whether having a high bounce rate on your site is bad I’ll first explain exactly what ‘Bounce Rate’ is.

High Bounce Rate not always bad

Bounce Rate is defined as a person visiting a website and leaving after viewing one single page.¬†Analytics programs do differ slightly with their technical definition of ‘bounce rate’ but I’m using the most popular in this example, Google Analytics.

Now, the above definition could make you give up. If someone comes to your website looks at just one of your lovingly crafted, well designed and well written pages then leaves, what’s the point, right?

But Wait….

Let’s think about this for a moment and use one of my blog posts as an example of where having a high bounce rate isn’t always bad but in fact can be very good for you and your visitors.

A while ago I wrote a post about canonical issues and how to ensure you don’t have two versions of your website being crawled by the search engines. Now this post has proven to be very popular, the reason being that on one single page it exactly answers the question being asked in the search engines. So if this page 100% answers that search query then quite possibly the person will go away a happy bunny and feeling good about the world….or something like that anyway!

My point is that in my analytics it’s going to show that person looked at just one page then ‘bounced’ off away from my website. However if that person has been totally satisfied with that post or page, has obtained the information they required, that cannot be a bad thing, can it?

If I drill down in Google Analytics I can see the following information for this particular page:

GA Page Drilldown

Take a look at the ‘Bounce Rate‘, OOOHH not good, now though, take a look at ‘Avg. Time on Page‘ with a figure of over 9 minutes. Now this page isn’t some lengthy tome but rather a concise and informative page setting out the steps required to achieve a set goal. Therefore this average time on page figure suggests to me that people are visiting this page, spending time reading it and hopefully perhaps cutting and pasting the code examples before returning to their own website to get it better optimised.

Think about the content!

So when you’re looking at bounce rates and wondering if a high bounce rate is bad please do bare in mind the actual content of that page and also the intent:

- Is it information aimed at sharing knowledge, then a higher bounce rate is fine.

or

- Is it a product landing page, if it is then try changing it to reduce bounce rate.

Also consider any Adsense advertising or affiliate links that may be getting clicks (and generating income) which may be making these visitors bounce.

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About

Trevor is the owner of Click Web Seo. Years of experience in IT has brought a wealth of knowledge to the company. With a real passion for making websites perform better, he relishes in providing cost effective search engine solutions.