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Friday, August 12, 2011

Why most bloggers needn't worry about high bounce rates

I was encouraged to read a couple of posts that talked about bounce rates from a web analytics person. In them, he describes several contexts in which high bounce rates should not be construed as being a negative reflection of the quality of the site or content.

My own bounce rate is nearing 75% to date. In the web metrics world, bounce rate is defined as when "the visitor leaves a site without visiting any other pages [within the same domain] before a specified session-timeout occurs." In the aforementioned blog, the first entry talked about when the page's call to action takes the user to an external page or an advertisement link, and what is most valid for blogs, when the page arrived at is a so-called "destination page".

Since most blog designs that I've seen provide the most recent entry content for quick viewing on the root or landing page, people whose blog posts are brief enough to be displayed in their entirety, returning readers only need to read the most recent content, before moving away.

This is why I actually prefer the definition that Unica uses for bounce rate, which is where the visitor spends 10 seconds or less before moving away from a given page. This would more reliably indicate whether the user had arrived at content which they were seeking, although clearly if the landing page only exists to provide a call to action such as downloading a product from an external source, it's still plausible that event tracking is necessary to determine if a high bounce rate is problematic.

However if you, as a blogger, still wish to work on lowering your bounce rate, try following these tips: they're courtesy of a fellow not-too-concerned-about-bouncing blogger.

About Mayo

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Professional: As "Senior Enterprise SEO Strategist" in IBM's Digital Marketing division, I provide consulting and training services for both internal and external clients. Formerly I was involved in Natural Language Processing, software localization, quality assurance and documentation authoring.
Personal: INTJ Nikkei Nisei ex-patriated Canadian who takes photographs and enjoys Baroque through late Classical music. The G+ page shares some of the "best of" photos.