First of all, what does your bounce rate mean? The bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on a particular page and then leave the website from that very same page. For instance, if I search for “maine seo”, land on my blog, decide that it wasn't what I was looking for, and then go back and try my search again…that would count as a part of my bounce rate. At the same time, if I searched the very same query, find this blog, find what I'm looking for by reading a post or two, then leave…that again would count towards by bounce rate.
For this reason, bounce rates can be misleading. A person could spend 5 seconds or 5 minutes on the page before “bouncing”, you don't know. They could very well have found what they're looking for and decided to call you or email you. Google Analytics goals, in this case, wouldn't help with this disconnect. Only by asking your customer with something like “How did you find us?” would you know they actually ever visited your site.
But I digress…the only additional information Google provides if you drill down into the bounce rate section is the bounce rate per day:
If you go into the Content section, you can see the bounce rate for individual pages. Typically, the pages with the most pageviews (or the top content pages) will also have the highest bounce rate. You can also see that the % Exiting is often similar to the bounce rate:
So, what's a good bounce rate? It really depends on your industry. My blog has almost an 80% bounce rate. This is fairly typical for both my industry and for blogs in general. With blogs, searchers will read a post or check out the homepage and then move on – hence the higher rate.
In particular, I've notice that websites for hotels, inns, and motels tend to have a low bounce rate – something in the 30% range, since people searching for hotels know specifically what they're looking for when they click on the result. Furthermore, when you're perusing a hotel's site, you want to check out more than one page. At a minimum, that includes something that resembles amenities and rates pages.
When are you in trouble? In general, the bounce rate isn't the most important stat to pay attention to. But there a few things you should keep your eye on, including:
- If your bounce rate increases or decreases dramatically. Did you change something for the better – or worse?
- If the bounce rate on one particular page is significantly higher or lower. This might cause you to change that page (for a higher-than-average rate), or other pages on the site to replicate it (for a lower-than-average rate).
- If the % exiting far exceeds the bounce rate. This means that people have visited more than one page on the site, but something is causing them to leave the site from this point. Should they be?
Your bounce rate is heavily dependent on both your industry and your site architecture. But if you bare the above in mind, you can effectively manage it.