The Bounce Rate is a website statistics that is considered by many, including some search engines, to represent the overall quality of your website and traffic. It is actually more interesting and useful when you use it to gauge the effectiveness of a marketing strategy than when it is used to analyze your entire web traffic.
The bounce rate of a website is unique to that particular website in many respects. It depends very much on the niche and type of the website itself, in addition to the source of your traffic. At the very outset you should understand that there is really no good and bad bounce rate. The bounce rate should not be used to measure the success of a website. You should have a different statistic or goal to measure the success of the site. It could be the sales generated if it is a retail website, or the enquirers or emails if it is a service oriented site or even Adsense revenue if it is a blog. The fact is that the bounce rate can be a very misleading stat.
Primarily you can categorize websites into two: websites and blogs or journals. The site can further be categorized depending on the niche, sector or industry. Each of these various categories will have varying degrees of bounce rate.
Bounce Rate of Blogs
It is generally accepted that blogs, journals and wikis have a high bounce rate when compared to other websites. Your website will also vary depending on the type of blog, the blog niche and the subject matter that it deals with. Although quite hard to commit, an average bounce rate around 70% is expected for most blogs. Understand that this is an average across all blog niches. A better comparison will be to compare to other blogs in the same niche or that deal with the same subject matter.
There are several of reasons why the bounce rate could be high for the blogs and wikis.
Repeat Visitors: Blogs tend to attract a whole lot of repeat visitors who are loyal to the blog. And these repeat visitors do not tend to visit more pages, but just the latest entry. They probably have already read the previous blog posts.
Concentrated Content : Blog posts usually tend to be self-contained on a very specific topic. So visitors, usually search engine traffic, tend to be satisfied with the landing page content. Even if they are not, they tend to return to the search page rather than search around in the blog site.
Bounce Rate of Websites
Websites tend to have lower bounce rates, usually averaging around 30% or 40% or so. Again, this can vary between websites depending on the industry and the website itself. Websites can be categorized into various number of industries, as specific as you want it to be. Let us see the average bounce rate of some of the popular niches.
- Retail Sites: Retail sites should have less than 30% bounce rate. The retails sites usually draw well targeted traffic. They also tend to have a multi-step process for the sale to happen. It is usually image driven with lots of related products. It prime target of a retail site should be to make sales, which means a high bounce rate is not going to bode well here.
- Lead Generation: These are mostly offline service oriented websites. They tend to have a average bounce rate of around 40%. They do not sell services outright over the internet and may require users to perform an action like make a phone call or sign up for a consultation. Again, a lower bounce rate is preferred but probably not as much as retail or e-commerce websites.
- Portals: They tend to have a low bounce rate of around 20%. Mostly because they have a lot of content and require you to click or drill down categories to find content.
- Self-service sites: Service oriented website which can be done online. They tend to have a low bounce rate too of about 20%.
- Content Websites: These are websites with large amount of content, which tend to get high search visibility and lie somewhere between a blog and a portal. They tend to have a high bounce rate of over 50%.
In spite of the kind of website or blog, it is always useful to drill down and segment the bounce rate to find exactly what kind of traffic is bouncing most. Or to identify the exact webpages that is bouncing the most visitors.
Bounce Rate by Traffic Source
Direct Traffic: Probably the traffic type that does not matter in terms of the bounce rate. These are also most probably repeat visitors or visitors who are looking for a specific information on the website.
Referral Traffic: Expect this traffic type to have a very low bounce rate of around 20% or so. This is because the traffic is coming from a reliable website who is recommending you and the visitor has a genuine interest to have clicked on the link.
Organic Search Engine Traffic: This is usually a hit-or-miss. Expect anything and everything between 35% to 55%. As your website gets more popular and ranks higher for more and more keywords, it also tends to get a higher bounce rate.
Paid Traffic: You want this to be as low as possible, virtually close to 0%. Remember, you are paying for this. But you are probably never going to get anywhere near zero, so aim for something more reasonable like 20% or so. If the bounce rate is too high, then you will have change your marketing strategy and optimize it on the keywords. You can even remove keywords which are not performing well.
If your website has a very low bounce rate, say below 10%, then it is probably worthwhile to double check the implementation of your tracking code. Sometimes, some mistakes like inserting the tracking code twice could provide you with the wrong data.
Bounce Rate by Page or Page Type
Another way to segment the traffic is by webpage. You can drill down and check the bounce rate for each of the webpages on your site. You might find that it is just a few pages that have a very high bounce rate.
Make a list of pages that have a very high bounce rate. Go through the content of each of them and try to analyze why they might have a high bounce rate and if it is justified.