R Kelly penned a ditty some years ago urging listeners to bounce bounce bounce bounce – Ignition was the track in question for those curious. If you’re here for the lyrics to that however, sorry to tell you – but you’re in the wrong place. Nope, this is a blog on bounce rate, although the two correlate more than you’d think, as ClickThrough online copywriter, Martin Boonham, explains.

For those unfamiliar with the term, bounce rate is all about a web user’s response to your site. How relevant they find something – hence the ironic nod to R Kelly – and how they react to the page in general.

Bounce rate: a definition

Bounce rate by definition is the percentage of visitors to a website who navigate away after viewing only one page.

Actually, it’s quite easy to visualise a ‘bounce rate’. Imagine you’re going to a restaurant, outside looks fine, then you step in and dishes are everywhere, rats are running around and the proprietor has a fag on. Even if you’re a fan of the typical greasy spoon cafeteria, you’re hardly going to stay at a restaurant in that condition, are you?

From an online perspective this is no different. If a browser clicks on a link from the SERPs after initially being wowed by your meta data enough to click on the link – but is then greeted with an unsightly mess, the chances are they’re also going to scamper sharpish.

Relevancy is key – No R Kelly content? Let’s bounce!

Site design is only one such factor in bounce rates however. You also need to consider if the content is relevant.

If you landed on this blog looking for content related to R Kelly for example, you might be somewhat disappointed – although in fairness, I have been known to make my own catchy ditty’s around the office, but I digress.

If your meta title and description seem to talk of one thing, hence encouraging the unsuspecting web user to click through, and the landing page promotes something else entirely, people are also likely to leave.

Aside from on page issues, a single page site may also be prone to a high bounce rate as GA does not register multiple page views, unless a visitor has reloaded the page.

Bouncing isn’t always bad

Thus far, a high bounce rate has been deemed a negative thing, but this is not actually always the case. For instance you may want a high bounce rate if the page in question is promoting a downloadable eBook, white paper or other such document. Again understanding the point of the page is crucial.

How can I improve my site’s bounce rate?

A careful consideration of your site’s content and making sure all your call to actions, keywords and meta title and descriptions are in sync is one way to improve bounce rate.

In some cases, an informational page might simply be used to soak in information before the reader then dashes off with a brain now packed with the knowledge they required. In this instance, some calls to action may help, but the browser may simply have been looking for reasons their site has a bounce rate for example and, satisfied with the well written prose, returned to work to freshen up their site.

If you’re struggling from a technical side of things however, you may need to delve a little deeper and look at your tracking code.

Ultimately, knowing the best way to deal with a high bounce rate is something you’ll want the experts to look into.

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About the author:

Martin Boonham is an online copywriter for ClickThrough Marketing, he has worked there since October 2012. He has a Masters in Print Journalism from Nottingham Trent University, where he also gained his NCTJ qualification at the same time; achieving qualifications in subbing, shorthand and media law.