What is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is a measurable online marketing metric that tells you the percentage of users who open a single page on your site and then leave without viewing any other pages. A “bounce” only occurs if the single-page visitor exits your site directly from the page they entered the site on without viewing any other pages. This is a statistic commonly found in Google Analytics’ user behavior report.

How to Measure Bounce Rate

Google Analytics – and other analytics platforms – can calculate bounce rate by taking all of the single-page sessions and dividing them by the total number of sessions to give you a percentage.

A “bounce” only occurs if the single-page visitor exits your site directly from the page they entered the site on without viewing any other pages.

The percentage of all sessions on your site in which users only viewed one page – thus triggering a single request to the analytics server – before exiting is what eventually becomes your site’s bounce rate.

Once you know how bounce rate is calculated, it’s important to understand what a high bounce rate is and how it affects your site’s SEO.

High Bounce Rates

Your site’s bounce rate can help you understand your audience’s behavior and indicate issues with your site’s content. Having a high bounce rate be a result of several aspects of your site, including the following:

  • There’s nothing inviting to engage with (no calls to action or options for further engagement)
  • The content didn’t meet the user’s expectations.
  • The site visitor found what they were looking for but were not compelled to take the next step in the conversion funnel.

While a high bounce rate sounds like a bad thing, that number often depends on your industry and the overall purpose of your site. If your site’s goal is to inform your audience, such as a blog, then your audience may visit the site, find the information they need on that page, and then leave without viewing more than one page.

Your site’s bounce rate can help you understand your audience’s behavior and indicate issues with your site’s content.

If you manage an ecommerce site, a high bounce rate is probably an indication that your site isn’t very shoppable or isn’t targeted properly. To mitigate that, you’ll want to encourage your audience to interact with your page and optimize your site for conversions.

How to Improve Your Site’s Bounce Rate

The bounce rate of a site can be improved in numerous ways, depending on the approach and perspective you take and your site’s overall purpose.


Improve User Experience

Sites that are difficult to navigate and read are more likely to prompt visitors to leave immediately. Enhance and improve user experience by making sure your text is readable. You can also make use of whitespace, stick to one color scheme and minimize the number of different fonts used on your site. If you manage an ecommerce site, showcase your products prominently so they’re easy to find and provide reviews on products/customer experiences that visitors can easily find.

A website that is user-friendly will encourage visitors to spend time searching and interacting with your site, reducing the bounce rate.

Cross linking pages of your site with relevant content and products can encourage visitors to browse through multiple pages of your site’s content and reduce your site’s bounce rate.

With Google Analytics, you can narrow down what traffic sources are drawing  low-quality traffic and retarget your content towards healthier traffic sources.

Optimize Keywords to Be More Targeted for Pages & Customers

Re-evaluate your keyword strategy to make sure you are targeting the right audience for the right pages. If your site is targeting the wrong keywords – or too broad of keywords – it might be reaching the wrong audience, or the right audience at the wrong point in their conversion path. This could be contributing to visitors who bounce from your site. Making adjustments to the keywords being used on pages with high bounce rates may help improve that metric.

A high bounce rate can be an indication that your site has low-quality traffic (that is, traffic that is not specifically targeted to what your site is offering). With Google Analytics, you can narrow down what traffic sources are drawing  low-quality traffic and retarget your content towards healthier traffic sources.

Add Images

Adding images, videos or audio files to your site will enhance your content. A site’s audience is more likely to engage when they’re introduced to high-quality, compelling images that support the site’s content.Videos and images regularly generate longer and more consistent engagement with your content, improving your site’s bounce rate.

Mobile Optimization

While Google indexed mobile first, many websites don’t necessarily treat the mobile experience with the reverence it deserves.

Don’t shoot your bounce rate in the foot and overlook mobile optimization. More and more people are surfing the web and shopping on their smart devices. If your site’s target audience is more likely to engage with your site via mobile (which applies to almost all sites these days), having a optimized mobile experience that is responsive and visually appealing can decrease bounce rates that are occurring from mobile users.

More and more people are surfing the web and shopping on their smart devices.

All too often, we see desktop sites that have a clean look and feel – but once on a mobile device – completely falls apart. Make sure to account for this growing percentage of  users by creating an easy-to-use mobile experience.

How Bounce Rate Impacts SEO

Google wants to give their users the best results, so it’s their job to find the best content from the best websites on the web. The official line from Google is that Bounce Rate is not a ranking factor – however – there is evidence that shows Google might be using bounce rate as some form of validation.

An example would be if you and one of your competitor’s sites had similar content and performed well organically for the same word, Google might go a level deeper and look at your homepage bounce rate to validate which result to choose for their users. In this case, the lower bounce rate would win.

Understanding bounce rate can give you a better measurement of how successful your site’s content is with your target audience. Bounce rate can help you understand what pages of your site are driving poor quality traffic and help you optimize your site’s pages to better appeal to your target audience.

Take some time to brainstorm how you can encourage visitors to spend more time on your site and interact with your site’s content. The changes you make to do this will improve your site’s bounce rate as well as its SEO ranking since your site’s content is connecting to the right target audience and meeting their expectations, making your site a favorable and reliable source.

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