Q: What’s a good bounce rate? Higher or lower?
A: When tracking the traffic to your website, you should be aware of your bounce rate, which is literally when a visitor lands on your website and bounces right off.
Typically, you can expect a higher bounce rate if you are running a pay-per-click campaign, or if you are getting a lot of traffic through search engines. Why? Because you cannot control how people conduct a search and you certainly can’t know what people are looking for (not exactly anyway). This is why it’s so important to be very targeted with your blog post titles, title tags, tags, keywords, and description tags—it’s one thing to draw people in, it’s another to keep them there.
PLUS, you need to deliver what you advertise. If you have relevant content, you are less likely to experience a high number of bounces. I once worked with a client whose desired search term was “Spousal Support” (meaning the book offered tips to support your spouse in a healthy marriage). But as it turned out, people searching for that term were looking for divorce attorneys, not marriage support. Had we optimized the client’s site for that term he would have experienced a high bounce rate.
Any bounce rate above 70% is BAD. With that said, anything below 30% is equally bad because that tells me no one is finding your site organically. I typically shoot for something between 35 and 65%.
Remember, too, your bounce rate is just a small part of what to look for when you gauge the effectiveness of your site and whether or not you are creating sticky content.
See where your traffic is coming from before you worry too much about your bounce rate. If your traffic is coming in direct and yet people leave right away, I would assume that you need better content to draw them in and keep them there. If you have a 78% bounce rate (for example) and your traffic comes mostly through search engines, then you might try to play with your keywords and title tags and ensure that your content is relative to your tags. You can learn more about writing effective title tags here.
Thanks to Karla Olson of Book Studio, Inc. for submitting this question.
Karla Olson has been in the publishing industry for over 25 years and has been involved in the creation and development of hundreds of books representing traditional and custom publishing and packaging.
Before founding BookStudio in 2005, she was the Creative Director of Tehabi Books; principal of Via Press, an editorial and publishing consultant; Editorial Director of The Michael Friedman Publishing Group; and Assistant Editor at Putnam Publishing. Olson is the President of Publishers and Writers of San Diego, an affiliate of Independent Book Publishers Association, and Founder and President of Read Local, a marketing coalition for authors.