We always go on about how important GOOD website design and structure is from a user/customer point of view but now it really is THAT important. Why? because now Google take if into account when deciding where to place your website in its search rankings.

It’s called Bounce Rate and it now has an effect on your SEO.

What is Bounce Rate?

Bounce Rate as displayed in Google Analytics is defined as the the % of people who visit your website and then navigate away without visiting any other page on your website.

In short, it is the percentage of visits from your customers that arrive on your site possible through the homepage or some other landing page, but visit no other pages, and then leave.

Having a high bounce rate is very depressing, it’s like getting loads of customers just standing on your shop doorstep but never actually coming inside, and now to make your life even worse, Search engines have now started considering the bounce rates in their organic ranking algorithms.

Having a high bounce rate will affect search engine position because it implies to the search engines that your website is not relevant to the searched term used to land on your site and will consequently penalise the website which will ultimately be reflected in its search engine position.

However if your website is of a high quality, looks good and relevant to the target market, is easy to navigate and has targeted the right keywords then there should be no need for a person to bounce away from the website. Instead they should be engrossed by the content of the website, and navigate around further. This is then rewarded by search engines as good user experience and will then be noted by the search engines as their aim is to provide their users with the best quality results.

Why Does My Site Have a High Bounce Rate?

There count be a number of reasons so you will need to check:

Website Content

Your site content sucks. Could be as simple as that, your website should add value to your visitors. The flow of information should be in such a way that it should be able to carry the visitor from the page they are on to the other pages on your website. Your website is like your home, if you want your guest to see the entire house you need to take them around.

Website Design and User-friendliness

Presentation is extremely important on the internet. Don’t do silly things. How often do you like to visit a website which throws up pop up windows in your face the moment you visit? Most people just leave straight away. Unless they are very relevant and well presented, but mostly its a no no.

Site Navigation Structure

Always keep your site navigation simple and intuitive without leaving anything to your visitor’s guess work. Its very likely that most of the bounce rate is caused by poor navigation system on the websites.

Technical Errors

404 pages and other technical errors should be avoided at any cost to minimize the bounce rate.

Irrelevant Keyword Selection

Search engines consider the keywords used in your site content in their ranking algorithm. If your website shows up for “dog training” while you are selling “dog food”, chances are, the visitor will simply leave your site. The same goes with meta titles and descriptions of your site pages.

Links From External Websites

You have less control over this as anyone could link to your website so quality backlinks from relevant websites are a must but, sometimes you might get that rare backlink from an unrelated off topic website. This might pull in irrelevant visitors which in turn leads to increase in the bounce rates.

So what bounce rate should my website have?

There is no definitive answer as to what a high and low bounce rate is as it is dependent on factors such as the nature of the website and how many web pages it contains. Obviously 0% is the ideal figure but not realistic. As a general rule of thumb anything below 30% is low, whilst anything above 50% is considered to be high and therefore should be addressed in order to ascertain the reason for the high bounce rate.

How can I monitor the bounce rate?

The bounce rate of a website can be monitored using tools such as Google Analytics which can tell its users which individual web pages have the highest bounce rates over a period of time.

So there you have it, its just so important to have a well structured and designed website from the very start. Check out your bounce rate and if its over 50% cry a little and then when you’ve calmed down do something about it by reviewing your navigation and content along with other things mentioned above…