If you’ve spent any time looking at web analytics, chances are you’ve heard the term “bounce rate.” But what does it mean? And why is it important to know about it?
Put simply, bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who enter your site and leave (with “leave” defined as clicking a link on your site and not visiting another page).
Bounce Rate Example
Mark had been running his website for a while, and the bounce rate was high. His site architecture wasn’t great, and his load time was slow.
He found some help from BallenBllogger.com on various strategies to lower the bounce rate on a website.
Mark improved the content on each page, adding new pages with even more engaging content. Then, he changed up the site architecture so it’s easier to navigate through all of the pages on his website.
Next, Mark made sure there were no deadends (orphaned content) or confusing redirect loops that could make people feel like they’ve come across something they shouldn’t have seen yet.
Mark also added in videos where appropriate too; making sure he took advantage of any opportunities to engage visitors for as long as possible after they clicked through to his website.
Two months after Mark implemented the changes, his website’s bounce rate is down by 15%, and conversion rate is up by 30%.
It should go without saying that lower bounce rates are better than higher ones for any web page, but what should your average bounce rate be?
The Importance Of Measuring Bounce Rates
Bounce Rates can indicate whether or not people like what they see on your website.
If the bounce rate is high, visitors may be bouncing because they don’t like what they see (such as having an outdated design), dislike the site navigation, aren’t finding what they need on the site, etc.
Suppose your content is entertaining or valuable enough to keep people reading. In that case, it may also be helpful to look at your “Avg. Time on Site” metric in conjunction with your bounce rate to get a sense of whether people are arriving at your site and staying long enough to read through an entire article.
It can indicate whether or not you’re attracting the right people to your site.
If you’re doing SEO for a website trying to attract buyers, you may not care if there are lots of people on your site who aren’t looking to buy.
For example, creating iPhone wallpaper backgrounds on Pinterest generates a lot of traffic to blogs with these graphics.
Most likely, however, these visitors are only there to grab the image and won’t become loyal followers, make a purchase, or be valuable traffic.
It can indicate whether or not people are finding what they’re looking for quickly when they arrive on your site.
If many visitors are bouncing, they may be having trouble finding the information they need. This isn’t just an SEO problem—it also reflects poorly on your site’s navigability, which is vital for all users.
It can indicate how well you’re doing at achieving your website goals.
Bounce rate can be one way to check whether or not your design and content successfully get visitors to take action.
For example, activities such as filling out a contact form, making an online purchase, leaving their contact information so you can follow up with them later, etc., are actions that should be measured.
What should my Bounce Rate Be?
Any score under 40% would be considered a good bounce rate, while 40-55%. Bounce rates over 55% may require strategic efforts to improve the page.
A bad bounce rate would be any score over 55%. Higher scores may indicate that visitors do not find what they are looking for on your site and end up leaving.
Some bloggers are less concerned with bounce rates on pages that respond to a question. For example, if the searcher’s aim is fulfilled and the goal is achieved, the consumer is unlikely to “surf” around the website.
This type of high bounce rate does not necessarily signify that the page needs to be improved.
Does a high bounce rate hurt SEO??
A high bounce rate may hurt your SEO, depending on the reason for the bounce. For example, if visitors are bouncing because they don’t like your site’s design or content, it can indicate that changes need to be made to boost user experience and improve conversion rates.
However, if visitors leave without visiting other pages because they found exactly what they were looking for, a high bounce rate may not hurt your SEO.
It can be a positive sign that you’re doing an excellent job of helping visitors get the information they need quickly and effectively!
Google directly says: “If the success of your site depends on users viewing more than one page, then, yes, a high bounce rate is bad. On the other hand, if you have a single-page site like a blog, or offer other types of content for which single-page sessions are expected, then a high bounce rate is perfectly normal.”
How To Find Your Bounce Rate
Google Analytics calculates bounce rates automatically (based on the average across all websites), called Avg. Session Duration.
This data shows how long visitors spend on your site but doesn’t tell the whole story.
You can view your overall bounce rate from the home screen dashboard, from the Audience Overview, and by drilling down to page speed and content directly.
You can also view bounce rates by source. Your dashboard will also show notifications of higher bounce rates than average or lower per source.
What factors affect a site’s bounce rate?
Several factors can affect your bounce rate. These include:
The site’s design and layout: If visitors land on a page and can’t find what they are looking for, they will likely leave the site.
The pages on your site: If you have a lot of one-page sites linking to each other, there’s a good chance those visitors will have a high bounce rate.
The time of day: If you notice that your bounce rate is higher at certain times of the day, it’s likely due to site visitors checking your site while they are doing other things (e.g., eating dinner).
Not optimized for mobile: You may see a higher bounce rate if your site is not optimized for mobile devices.
The user experience: Your visitors won’t stick around if your site is not easy to navigate or is complicated to use.
You are ranking for an irrelevant term: If you rank for a term that is not relevant to what your site offers, the bounce rate will be higher.
For example, if you rank for the term about a mouse, and your visitor is looking for info regarding a computer mouse, but your blog is about the animal mouse, they will bounce back to the search engine to find another page.
This bounce back to the search engine action is also called pogo-sticking.
Offers/Products: Visitors will leave if your site’s content does not match the offer or product it’s supposed to deliver.
How can I reduce my bounce rate?
A high bounce rate is most often an indication that your site needs to be improved. However, there are several things you can do to reduce your bounce rate, including:
Updating or adding content: Regularly updating fresh content will encourage visitors to stay on your site longer. Check your publish dates on articles, and start with the oldest. Check to see your facts are current and work to extend the length of the post with quality content.
Adding in-depth content: Long-form, in-depth content can also help increase time spent on your site by keeping the audience engaged.
Having a clear Call to Action: If your visitor knows exactly what they’re supposed to do (and where they’re supposed to go) on your site, their time spent will increase.
On-page SEO: Using keywords and phrases relevant to your page’s topic can help visitors find you when they search.
Including social media sharing buttons: These buttons placed strategically on relevant blog posts or product pages will help visitors share your content. Embedding social media buttons encourages discovery and sharing of your content, which can positively impact your bounce rate.
Testing load time: When it comes to bounce rates, slow page speeds are significant offenders. As previously stated, many people do not want to wait for their web pages to load.
Optimize for mobile: If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you will see a higher bounce rate than those who are. In addition, Google has reported that 1 out of 3 mobile searches lead to offline conversions, so it’s vital that you ensure your site is optimized for all devices.
Offer exclusive content: Offering in-depth blog articles, video tutorials, or eBooks can help increase page views, actions, and dwell time. Visitors may also return to continue reading/viewing the content.
Offer a special promotion: Offering coupons, discounts, or gifts can encourage the visitors to take action. Your offer can require the visitor to click through to your lead capture landing page.
Welcome new visitors: Using a live chat feature on your blog/website to welcome new visitors can also help reduce bounce rates by turning strangers into potential leads.
Use Subheadings: Providing subheadings and subtitles throughout your content will help break up the text and improve the user’s experience.
Offer ways to subscribe: Providing visitors with an email capture form can encourage potential leads to sign up for further updates, such as blog posts or newsletters.
Remove Pop-Ups: Pop-ups can be pretty annoying to site visitors, so it is essential to use them sparingly. These are more likely to lead to a high bounce rate because they interrupt the user experience. In addition, they can be intrusive and disruptive.
Use a Heat Map: Using a heatmap like Mouseflow can show you where you are or aren’t getting clicks on the page. It also measures the customer journey showing which pages are generating the most clicks to other pages.
Add video content: Video content encourages people who may not have otherwise engaged with your site or shared it through social media platforms to do so. For example, if you’re running an eCommerce store, using product videos can help convince potential buyers to make a purchase.
“Content analytics reports show the bounce rate for video blogs is 34 percent lower than the rest of the site on average – a stat that proves the format’s power in keeping people on pages and getting them tuned into what companies are saying.” – Lauren Kaye
Make Your blog more readable: Ensure that your web copy is easy to read and engaging. Studies show that complicated vocabulary and long sentences can lead to higher bounce rates. Before you publish, check your spelling and grammar with a program like Grammarly. Avoid passive voice.
Make the CTA clear: An excellent way to reduce bounce rates is to ensure that your site visitors know what they should do next. For example, if your call-to-action needs elaboration, you could include it in the body content or consider providing a hint in your title tag.
Increase time on site: Add photo galleries, video, audio, infographics, and slideshows to your site. Rich Media will keep your visitors engaged and encourage them to explore more of your content.
Use bullet points.: Bullet points can help make it easier for readers to understand your content. In addition, they are more likely to engage with the information if it is delivered in a clear, concise manner.
Encourage Comments: If your blog post is on a topic that interests people, don’t be afraid to encourage comments.
You can do this by asking a question at the end of each blog post or linking back to previous articles on the site.
Encouraging comments will help you engage with readers and make new connections.
Tell Stories: At the beginning of this blog, you’ll find an example of a story. In this story, a mini case study, if you will, Mark improves his bounce rate by implementing specific strategies. Check out the AI writing tool Jarvis for help writing stories.
Add FAQ: If your site has frequent questions, consider adding a Frequently Asked Questions page to the blog or website. You can answer common questions about your business or industry and provide them with information they may not find on the homepage.
Improve your Meta: Your meta title and meta description are the first impressions on a search engine. If they are not enticing, people will bounce even before reading your content. Therefore, ensure that your meta matches the content of your page.
Add ‘related posts’: Providing related blog posts on your site can keep visitors engaged with your site. You can do this by using relevant keywords or tags within each of the related posts. Related posts can also help reduce bounce rates by providing other relevant blog posts that the visitor may be interested in.
Reduce the number or type of ads: If you’ve recently increased the number of ads on your site, this may be making visitors leave. Before adding more to your blog or website, look at the ones that already exist and ensure that they fit with your brand.
Deploy an Internal Linking Strategy: A blog with a wide range of topics is generally more engaging. Internal linking can help readers find interesting content, and this may encourage them to stay on your site longer.
Include Your Author Bio: You can add a bio in your blog post to make readers feel more familiar with you and your site. A bio can gain trust, encourage them to share your content on social media channels, and return for future blog posts.
Use Forms: Forms can be used to capture email addresses and build your mailing list.
To keep visitors engaged, ensure that the form is easy to find and add a single opt-in form on each blog post or add a pop-up that appears when the visitor scrolls down the page. In this article by Neil Patel, adding user forms is a top strategy in improving the user experience.
Improve the Navigation: If your visitors are having trouble navigating the site, they may think it is cluttered or poorly designed.
Ensure that there is a clear navigation menu bar at the top of your blog. You can also use internal links to direct readers where you want them to go on the page. Some bloggers add a menu to the sidebar and footer.
Use a Table of Contents: This can be very helpful for readers as they can quickly find what they are looking for without having to scroll through the entire page. You’ll notice that adding a table of contents is included in many reputable blogs and magazines.
Bounce Rate vs. Exit Rate
It’s good to know that there are tools out there that can measure your site’s bounce rate.
However, another metric is usually used to measure the term exit, called exit rate.
Similar to bounce rates, exit rates typically occur when visitors leave your site without clicking any links or visiting other pages on the site.
This data is important because if your exit rate is high, this could mean that visitors do not like what they see, and it’s time to make some changes.
You can increase your conversion rates by adding social media buttons on every page of your blog/website. You should also make sure that the site loads quickly and is easy to navigate.
Bounce Rate Based On Sources
The source of your visitors can also break down bounce rates.
For example, some sources may have a high bounce rate, and others may have a low bounce rate.
This data means that some sources send you excellent quality traffic, but most do not engage with your website after they arrive.
You can use this information to find out where you’re missing opportunities. For example, if your social media bounce rate is very high, you can see which source is sending you the most traffic that leaves without doing anything on your site.
In my analytics, I can see that referred traffic from one of my other websites has a bounce rate of 56%, while my traffic from Pinterest is 89%.
Bounce Rate vs. Conversion Rate
You also want to make sure your site is improving conversions (the opposite of bounce rates).
Conversion occurs when a visitor takes action, like filling out a contact form or purchasing a product on your site.
If you’re measuring conversion rate with Google Analytics, be aware that it’s different than bounce rate.
Google defines it as follows: “The percentage of visits to your site that result in a conversion” (in other words, the people who chose to take action instead of leaving).
So if you’re looking at a bunch of low numbers for your conversion rate, don’t fret! You might see low numbers with new websites and blog posts.
Just make sure you’re tracking the number of visitors taking action on your site after landing on a specific page.
The bounce rate is a key metric to consider when developing your website marketing strategy. If you don’t want visitors bouncing off of your site, make sure that its content addresses their needs and offers engaging information.
While many factors are affecting a visitor’s decision to stay or go, understanding what they’re looking for at this moment will help you create more effective websites that keep them coming back time after time.