What is Considered a Bounce Rate?

"Bounce rate" is not really clear to most of us bloggers, some do not even know about it, others have a very hazy idea about it but there are those who really knows. If you want to improve your blog's visibilty on the eyes of Google, then you need to learn about things like bounce rate. On December 18th 2008, someone posted the following questions at webforumz.com :

I have read a couple of articles that correlate bounce rate and search engine performance (at least for Google). I'm trying to figure out what exactly is considered a bounce and some other stuff, so I made a list of questions:

1. What is the duration for a single page visit until it is no longer considered a bounce when a visitor leaves?

2. What if a visitor lands on a page, and then visits another page within 5 seconds and then closes the browser. Is that considered a bounce?

3. When external links are opened in a new window (i.e. target_blank, rel="external", onclick=... etc) is it considered a bounce? Is there any difference between using HTML and Javascript to open a new window?

4. If opening external links in a new window is considered a bounce, does it change anything if the user then comes back to the site which has remained opened and then starts browsing around?

Before the site admin of  webforumz.com Mike McDonald answered these questions, he emailed some Google folks. He got an answer from Adam Lasnik, one of Google's search evangelists, which goes like this  :

Hey Mike,

If you're talking about bounce rates in the context of Google Analytics, I'm afraid you probably know as much as I do. I love the product, but don't know the ins-and-outs of it very thoroughly.

If you're talking about bounce rates in the context of Google web search and webmaster-y issues, then we really don't have specific guidance on bounces per se; rather, the key for webmasters is to make users happy so they find your site useful, bookmark your site, return to your site, recommend your site, link to your site, etc. Pretty much everything we write algorithmically re: web search is designed to maximize user happiness, so anything webmasters do to increase that is likely to improve their site's presence in Google.
Regards, and best of the season to you...

- Adam

Mike also sent an email to Matt Cutts, who works for the Search Quality group in Google, specializing in search engine optimization issues. Cutts forwarded him to Avinash Kaushik, Google Analytics evangelist, who has this to say :

Bounce is a Visit level metric.The definition is simple, if there is a Visit (a session technically speaking) with just one page view in it then it is considered a bounce. IE Someone came to your site, saw just one page, did not other action, left your website.

When asked this question : What if a visitor lands on a page, and then visits another page within 5 seconds and then closes the browser. Is that considered a bounce?, Avinash Kaushik has this answer:

No bounce. Remember time has no bearing on bounce computations. Just page views. In this case there are two page views in a session. No bounce. The WAA standard definition of bounce rate, and that of Google Analytics, only considers the page view. Time has no bearing on the equation.

If you want to read the complete thread you can go to webforumz.com

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