What is Bounce Rate?

by Extreme John on August 5, 2009

If you are anything like me chances are a ton of the terms that bloggers or pro bloggers use can quickly become very hard to understand, which can be somewhat frustrating when your reading through different blogs or [intlink id="2843" type="post"]weekly wrap ups[/intlink] and you see the term Bounce Rate. The first few times I saw the term Bounce Rate being used I pretty much just moved on and didn’t give it a second thought, hell I’m an old man now if the bounce rate hasn’t killed me by now chances are that it won’t.

Anyway, I set out on a mission to get to the bottom of this “bounce rate” crap and to find out what a high bounce rate or low bounce rate percentage means for my specific blog. Now being the stats addict that I am it’s safe to say that once I read up about bounce rates (doing that as I write this), I will most likely be trying to figure out how to increase or decrease my bounce rate in Google analytics.

I headed over to my favorite search engine Bing and typed in what I would imagine most people would type in when they want to find out what a bounce rate is, while at Bing I entered “what is bounce rate“. Bing than turned around (yeah like it’s human) and gave me a bunch of various search results to answer my question, that’s great news since I already started typing this crap and if I found nothing I would have been pissed.

Top 5 Bing Results for “What is a Bounce Rate?”

  1. Bounce rate – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. What does Bounce Rate mean? – Analytics Help
  3. Bounce Rate : Sexiest Web Metric Ever? | Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog
  4. Reduce Bounce Rates : Fight for the Second Click
  5. Web Site Bounce Rate v. Buy Rate

Now let’s keep in mind and stay focused here, the reality is that I am just trying to find out what bounce rate is and based on the search engine Bing search results that were returned I have the information I need, it came very clear in the first search result in the list. Below is what Wikipedia has to say about bounce rate which is perfect for anyone looking for the basic information about bounce rates and using analytics bounce rate figures to grow your blog or website.

Bounce rate (sometimes confused with exit rate) is a term used in web site traffic analysis. It essentially represents the percentage of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.

The formula used to calculate bounce rate is: Bounce Rate = Total Number of Visits Viewing One Page ÷ Total Number of Visits

Well that looks like the answer to our question… Well kinda, you see my problem with the bounce rate figure is that there are a few factors to figure into the equation that might be missed me someone simply looking at numbers that doesn’t understand what can effect those numbers. The first thing that can effect that bounce rate number is a blog or website that opens links in the same window, instead of opening links in a new window.

Before anyone jumps all over me about my theory on opening links in the same window like I do here on Extreme John, you have to consider just how much that action can effect your bounce rate. If you are a blogger that knows how to make money blogging than chances are your going to open stuff in a new window, your not worried about page views as much as your worried about keeping your ad’s exposed to the visitors on your site. Remember opening links (hyrperlinks) in a new window will reduce your page views, and on the flip side opening links like I do here will result in increased page views and an increased bounce rate. Oh and increased ad exposure.

#ff0000;">Extreme John WARNING
I will be using curse words below which I know are not acceptable forms of communication on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

Some of you are probably wondering why opening links in a new window will reduce your page views…. Ok time to pause, I am so fucking pissed right now. I wrote the end of this entire article, two paragraphs to be exact and you know what happened when I published the post? It fucking took me back to the admin login screen, this shit has been happening on my blog for like 8 months and it’s by far the most annoying thing ever, @lacerocks wasn’t able to figure it out so hopefully one of you will before I snap. Back to what I was saying…. Told you I was writing this RIGHT NOW.

Some of you are probably wondering why opening links in a new window will reduce page views, well think about it.. Your blog or website will be sitting in the background while your visitor is checking out all of the links you recommended they check out, they will also be looking at the same exact ad’s they were exposed to when they first arrived at your n00b blog, assuming you try to make sales or advertise on your blog. Fresh ad’s = Fresh Cash, oh wait I don’t advertise here don’t listen to me, I’m just the moron with the hottest exotic limousine business and the largest privately owned indoor tanning salon business in Florida.

Opening links in a new window is a bitch move for the most part, unless your a noob or youngster there is no reason to have links open in a new window, seriously like someone can’t figure out how to hit the back button? I am old school and I refuse to open links in a new window, well sometimes but for the most part (bi-polar) opening links in a new window is pointless, not to mention your ad’s never rotate or refresh… wouldn’t that suck after all the hard work you did to try and make money online? FRESH AD’S = FRESH MONEY ONLINE!!

Sorry I slip up sometimes and that’s just me, but in reality regardless of how lost, moronic, psychotic, insane, suicidal, narcissistic, egotistical or whatever else I might be, do yourself a favor and recognize that if you open your links in a new window considering bounce rate seriously is silly. If you open hyperlinks in the same window and users click through but still come back to your blog or website to continue to click through your articles than you are looking at a true bounce rate, if you are opening in a new window sorry your bounce rate is crap.

You know it’s funny, when I started writing this I really had no reason to write this article except to satisfy some curiosity and maybe share it with the five to ten people that don’t already know and understand this info. Now that the post is written and will be slapped into rotation and hit the blog sometime this week, I guess I can sit back and wait to see what the feedback is. Did this article help you? Was it useless or useful? Haha. Take a minute and leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the post or better yet le me know how you feel about bounce rate.

I have had a few beers and went on a few tangents, now it’s time for me to get lost and let you enjoy your day/night, if you liked anything about this feel free to follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my rss feed. Have a killer day and remember, open your links in the same window.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

james moralde
Twitter:

Cool it there John. I can feel your anger from this part of the world. :twisted:

Anyway, I happen to be one of those who until now doesn’t understand this bounce rate thingy. I was about to grasp the concept but the emotional content of this post kinda rocked my boat a bit and spilt whatever I learned. I think I’ll read this one more time but this time, I’ll keep myself away from the spray. :mrgreen:

Right now, my practice is to open external links in a new window. When the link points to something within my blog e.g. another internal post, the link opens on the same window.
.-= james moralde´s last blog ..Basic Manual Keyword Research Methods I Learned So Far =-.

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Extreme John
Twitter:

@James hey I’m a passionate guy sorry, and honestly if you had any idea how many pieces or posts or full posts that I have lost due to that issue, you would be screaming too. :)

In all honesty people can open links however they want to, it’s a personal preference. I hate new window, others love it.

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Doug Dillard
Twitter:

Love the passion there John. I have been very curious about bounce rate myself lately as we just signed up for Google Analytics just over a month ago and that is some of the main terminologoy… so I appreciate this post.

As for opening links in a new window… that really just bugs me. But I do have to say if you go to my site right now and checkout any post page at all… every single link on the site, even the ones in the sidebar and the home page link opens up a new window and it is KILLING ME!

I am trying to get CommentLuv to work on my site and every time I activate it does that. I contacted their support staff and told them my issue and I got an email back today saying I have to keep it activated so they can check it out for me. Unfortunately I have not heard back from them yet, so I have to leave it activated and suffer knowing all the links are opening up new windows.

I can’t wait for it to be fixed or unactivated :)
.-= Doug Dillard´s last blog ..Win a 15 Article Package! =-.

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Compute Live
Twitter:

Thanks for the clarification on Bounce Rate..But I Think its kind of important to make the visitors say on your blog as long as possible… :lol:
.-= Compute Live´s last blog ..World of Warcraft Patch 3.2 Release Patch Notes =-.

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Extreme John
Twitter:

@Doug not getting any love from the CommentLuv folks? Usually they are pretty good about that stuff, did you comment on their blog?

@Compute Live I agree keeping people on your blog is extremely important, having the perception they stay on your blog while it sits in the background behind 20 other windows or tabs is nothing more than self soothing :)

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Doug Dillard
Twitter:

It took them less than 24 hours to get back to me and then we had a pretty fast back and forth reply session. The only thing is they were not able to reproduce the same issue I was having on their computer so they could not help… so I disconnected it again :(
.-= Doug Dillard´s last blog ..What You Can Do With PLR Content? =-.

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John Sullivan
Twitter:

I’m raining down on your site right now blasting it but I wanted to remind you that blogging is all a game my friend.
People will like you or not Convincing them to like you enough to stay and come back again and again is the name of the game. Say if you only seen your tanners once.
Now that your BRINGING IT all these worries will take care of themselves.Click that link and then try to find your link and this is just the pre show to the main event.
Skip all that and let me get back to work :)
ah as a side note that entrecard widget is not helping :) I used it myself for months thinking it would bring all kinds of cool people it DON’T and bring a HIGH BOUNCE :)
.-= John Sullivan ´s last blog ..I want to throw you a BEATDOWN =-.

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Extreme John
Twitter:

@Doug Dillard damn I hate to hear that Doug, is there anything I can do to help? If so let me know.

@John Sullivan oh I hear ya on the game part of things, it is what it is. As for Entrecard I am testing it out just like anything else, it’s already making me yawn though. As for the high bounce rate or reducing that high bounce rate I can only imagine how much worse Entrecard makes the bounce rate.

Not really a shock, think of how the whole system works ya know.

I appreciate you coming through and blasting my site, you know I’m sneakin up on that Top 3 on your sidebar big papa you better watch out.
.-= Extreme John´s last blog ..Insane Limos Announces Tampa Airport Transportation =-.

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Christa Bledsoe
Twitter:

Thanks for the info, great as always. I actually researched this a few months ago as I was seeing that in my GA and it was bugging me in that I didn’t know what it meant. Now I know what it means I just gotta work on getting that damn number down.
.-= Christa Bledsoe´s last blog ..Do All Billionaires Dress Like Bums? =-.

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Mike
Twitter:

I’ve been blogging for a while, I had it backwards, thinking it was a good thing to have a higher bounce rate, because I thought it meant that they were visiting more than one page on your site. Yeah, figured out just a few months ago, what it really was. Don’t mind me, still learning things.
.-= Mike´s last blog ..What I’m Drinking – Costa Rica Tarrazu from Best Thing To Happen To Coffee =-.

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Hard Rocking South African
Twitter:

I already knew about the whole bounce rate thing, but had never thought about the opening links in a new window/tab thing.. so you did help out a bit there
.-= Hard Rocking South African´s last blog ..Featured Video =-.

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Sire
Twitter:

Interesting points about the ads John, but you may be making an incorrect assumption in assuming that all bloggers have rotating ads. I know I do, but I reckon a hell of a lot don’t.

Oh, I also have my links opening a new window. Reckon I have a lot to learn hey mate? :wink:
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Your Chance At Achieving SEO Mastery =-.

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Extreme John
Twitter:

@Christa Bledsoe yeah it was Google Analytics 360 plugin that made me move forward and make this post.

@Mike that’s great news, makes me smile to teach :)

@Hard Rocking South African All personal preference but try it you might like the results better in the end.

@Sire I don’t know about that bro you seem to be doing excellent with the way you have things setup right now, I guess don’t change it if it isn’t broken. All though I will say when I changed ALL of my links to open in the same window it made a tremendous difference to my blog and how it is ranked, etc. Just my theory.

As far as everyone having rotating ad’s your on the money with that, not everyone does, all though everyone should keep it fresh.

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Sire
Twitter:

To tell you the truth John, it’s a pain in the ass making sure all the links open up a new page and so the lazy blogger in me may just give your method a little whirl. At least I know who to blame if it doesn’t work out. :-P
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Your Chance At Achieving SEO Mastery =-.

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Extreme John
Twitter:

@Sire without really knowing your blog goals and everything about it I really can’t make any promises. I will venture to say though, that if you do rotate your banner advertising currently your ad rotation exposure will be much greater opening in a new window.

I would also see what my current Page Views are at, than see where they are 30 days after changing the links, I would do the same with any ad dollars you make as well.

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Sire
Twitter:

Well John there are two reasons why I am willing to give it a try;

1: I do have rotating banners
2: You are “The Man” :wink:
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Article Directories A Great SEO Tool For Blog Promotion =-.

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Christie
Twitter:

I never even considered the new window vs. not! Am I the only one who just Open Link in New Tab when I see a link I want to click? :-?
.-= Christie´s last blog ..MiscBytes is now DoFollow! =-.

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Ste

I have to admit I’m of the new window type (or new tab in my case).

Anyway, I was just going to share what I consider the only useful use of bounce rate – to help with keyword research. Google analytics lets you see the bounce rate for individual keywords. If you check this for your site, you know you should be concentrating on the keywords with a lower bounce rate, right? The keywords with the higher (percentage) bounce rate are obviously not sending you the right sort of visitor.

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