Your website bounce rate is defined by Google as “a single-page visit where the person left from the entrance page” i.e. didn’t click through to other pages on your site once they arrived.
A lot of people tend to put emphasis on reducing the bounce rate and often base their understanding of their audience on it. The problem is, the bounce rate isn’t always an accurate measurement. This is largely because of the way Google measures it.
Unless your site visitor clicks through to another piece of content or page then it is measured as a bounce. But what if they actually liked the content and consumed it or applied it?
Here are three examples of how you can get false readings on your bounce rate:
1. Engaging content – As a business owner our goal is to have engaging content. But because of the way the website bounce rate is measured, if our content is too engaging it may be measured as a bounce.
For example, if a visitor lands on a page, reads it and leaves it open while they apply it, for example a recipe or a podcast, but then closes the tab, they are still measured as a bounce. Even though they have loved your content and will come back again.
2. Bots and tab users - If you look at the list of people who are referring visitors to your site you may find a large percentage of bots. There can also potentially be staff members and friends who are clicking on a URL and looking at what they need and then closing the tab. Hence more false bounce rates. (There are ways to clean this up but that’s for another blog post as it is quite involved.)
3. Brand awareness advertising – What happens when you run a Facebook advert for brand awareness to a specific landing page on your website? You might be sending traffic to a blog post (as part of a sales funnel) so that you can pixel those interested or to create brand awareness. These visitors are going to click on the content and then move on. Hence adding to your bounce rate.
But don’t throw out your website bounce rate as a completely inaccurate measurement just yet. Observing your bounce rate is still an excellent trigger to make sure you check that you are doing all you can to keep the engagement of your audience.
Just be sure to evaluate it realistically and take into consideration these three factors that can affect it. If you are looking for ways to reduce your website bounce rate here is another post I wrote on recommended ways to reduce your website bounce rate.