For many years, Bounce Rate described the percentage of your website visitors that left within 30 seconds – this metric is no longer widely used.  Google Analytics currently provides a Bounce Rate which represents the percentage of visitors who enter the website and “bounce” (leaving the site) rather than clicking through to visit other pages within the same site – no matter how long they stayed on the initial page.  You may hear that a Bounce Rate of over 50% is considered to be a signal for concern and generally indicates that the site is getting unqualified traffic, loads too slow, is hard to navigate or is poorly written – but that signal does not apply to all companies or industries as an indication of poor performance.

For home service companies like yours, it could mean people are finding exactly what they need or want and leaving the page. They may be coming to the website just to get your phone number or with following basic questions of  “do you do the service I need in my area” and “why should I call you and on what number.”  Those are questions that may be answered right on the home page, meaning that they don’t need to visit any other pages in the site.  If you have a lot of visitors that go to your home page and then call your phone number that meets your company’s conversion goals, but because they left the website without going to any other pages in the site, Google considers those visits to be bounces.  This may result in your website having a high Bounce Rate even though it is actually performing well.

Google’s new Analytics version also shows you how visitors engage with your site including “visit duration”.  You will see that your visit duration numbers for 0-10 seconds will correlate with your Bounce Rate. This is because no matter how long the person that visited only one page in your site stayed on that page, Google considered that visit a bounce and credited time on the site as 0 seconds.

If your Bounce Rate is on the higher side, but your site loads quickly, is user-friendly, is well written & relevant, and is performing well with good conversion from visits to calls/form fills, you should continue to strive to improve your Bounce Rate while using it as one of your benchmarks to regularly review – if it should ever rise significantly, quickly determine the cause and fix it.  If your site has a high Bounce Rate and is not performing well, look to improve site quality, performance and relevance.

“Bounce” is also a term used in email marketing when an email cannot be delivered.  A soft Bounce means that the email account is temporarily at storage capacity or down for technical reasons.  A hard Bounce means that the email is permanently undeliverable as the address is no longer valid or is not in correct format.