For many people who own a blog and also have the Google Analytics script installed (everybody should have it, by the way!), the bounce rate numbers are extremely important, even though it’s not completely clear why. It’s just that, since the term was introduced, everybody kept saying that your blog’s bounce rate is extremely important, that it highlights quality and lower bounce rate results in more income and that opinion remained as the golden rule of thumb when it comes to bounce rate. But how important is bounce rate today, in 2016, when it comes to your blog? That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in today’s article.
First, let’s see what bounce rate actually is!
When a visitor comes to your blog, he or she will most likely land on a particular page. If that visitor, after reading more or less (time spent on page doesn’t matter) leaves your website by either closing the window, hitting the back button on their browser or following one of your links to a different website, it’s called that the visitor bounced. If you only have that visitor, then your bounce rate would be 100%. If another visitor comes and he decides to check out another page on your site, then your bounce rate is reduced to 50% (because just one “bounced”).
In other words, the bounce rate represents the percentage of your blog’s visitors who come and visit just one page and nothing else.
How important is bounce rate in blogging?
Many people – and that does make some sense – consider that Bounce Rate is directly connected to the quality of the blog. The claim is that people will want to read more if your blog is high quality, while low quality means that they come and leave (unsatisfied). Many also claim that bounce rate matters a lot when it comes to SERPs (search engine ranking positions) and that Google places blogs with lower Bounce Rates on top of the search results.
This is, of course, not true.
It might be that Google once used that as an important ranking factor or it might have never mattered. The truth is that Google is indeed looking to rank high quality websites higher than others, and bounce rate has NOTHING TO DO with a website’s quality. If you look at all the spam/viral types of websites that have a 16-gallery article with images republished from another website, with each photo on a separate page, them you know that the website has an insanely low bounce rate. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s popular on Google – it just means that the owners use a trick to increase page views, most likely for increased ad views.
Bounce rate has nothing to do with a blog’s quality!
Just think about a blog delivering high quality tutorials in multiple niches. They write unique, high quality articles that offer all the information one needs to do whatever the article is about. They add photos, maybe even videos to make everything easy. Let’s say that’s a tutorial on building a chicken coop from scratch. A person might visit that page, follow the tutorial and love it then leave. They are looking how to build a chicken coop and nothing else – related posts might be building something else on a farm or farming tips, but the visitor is only interested in building a coop. Does that mean that the article is bad? No. Does that mean that the article shouldn’t be high on Google’s search rankings. No. Bounce rate does not matter when it comes to ranking, so stop worrying about it.
Then why does Bounce Rate exist if it’s useless?
Even if Bounce Rate is not important when it comes to the success (or lack of it) of a blog, it doesn’t mean that it’s completely useless… Most likely, if you have a bounce rate that’s 100%, then you have a problem. You have a problem, because even though most people will come, read the article they’re interested in and leave, there will always be some that will like your content a lot and click to see more. There are and should always be people interested in reading more, no matter what’s the niche of your blog.
So basically, you should only look at the Bounce Rate as an indicator of how engaging is your content for people to keep on reading other stuff on your site. On a blog that’s very targeted to a particular niche, the bounce rate should be lower as an indicator of high quality articles. When you have a blog about staying fit, then people will most likely check more than one article to get the whole picture. If you have a blog sharing tutorials as in the example above, then bounce rate is normally higher because most people interested in building a chicken coop don’t care about upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
Even more, many claim that higher Bounce Rates could also mean better revenue. Why? Well, because a person “bounces” when they leave your website – it doesn’t matter to Analytics where they go. So they could come to your article, read and love it, then click your affiliate link. Your bounce rate increases, but your potential income does so as well. It’s not a guarantee, though as it doesn’t mean that somebody who visits 10 of your blog’s pages will make you any money. It’s just another metric that makes more sense to care about on some blogs and less on others.
From personal experience, I’m usually getting a Bounce Rate of around 80% on my blogs. The more visitors your blog has, the higher the chances for the bounce rates to be higher. My best performing blog (in terms of revenue, traffic and SERPs) has a bounce rate of 83.55%. I also have a blog with a bounce rate of 59.32% which is generating almost no income (even though it ranks well in the search engines too).
Based on my own experience, search engine position, revenue generated and Bounce Rate have no connection. So stop worrying about them too much and focus on delivering high quality content!