What is Bounce Rate and How to Address It?

Bounce rate is a metric in internet analytics that measures the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your website after only viewing a single page and not engaging with any content or taking any action

In this guide we’ll take a look at bounce rate to help you understand what it is, why people are bouncing, and what you can do about it. 

What Causes People to Bounce?

Powered with this knowledge we can assume that a high bounce rate is bad and a low bounce rate is good. 

A high bounce rate can be a cause for concern, as it often indicates that visitors are not finding what they expected or desired on the landing page. It can also suggest issues with the page’s relevance, usability, or overall user experience.

It’s important to understand that bounce rate is a metric that requires a little more interpretation based on the business you’re in. 

If you operate a news blog or something similar, there may not be any reason for visitors to engage or click around on the site. In this case, a high website bounce rate may not indicate that anything is wrong with your content or your website. 

An ecommerce site on the other hand will perish if people simply click over to the store, do nothing, and then click away. 

Just make sure you understand that the bounce rate will vary based on the type of business you’re in. 

So, what causes people to bounce? 

slow loading pages

Slow Pages: Make sure you’re keeping up on your core web vitals and checking the performance of your site according to loading times. If the page takes too long to load, the user might feel like it’s not working or simply lack the attention span to stick around. There’s probably 500 other websites offering the same content as you so you need to make sure if you get that click, you keep it. 

Irrelevant Content: If the content on the page doesn’t match what the user expected or it’s simply not good, they’ll click away without doing anything. 

Bad Web Design: If your site is cluttered, confusing, or too difficult to use it may deter people away. Make sure the pages flow nicely, everything is clickable, and the site follows a format that makes sense. 

Autoplay Media: Nothing is more annoying than automatic ads playing in the background when you’re trying to read something. It’s disruptive, annoying, and can cause people to leave. 

mobile optimization

Poor Mobile Optimization: With the majority of traffic coming from mobile, you can’t afford to lose any visitors here. Make sure the site works, reads, and operates properly on all mobile devices. 

Too Many Pop-ups: Excessive pop-ups, especially those that appear immediately upon landing, can be irritating and drive users away.

Misleading Content: Don’t try this because it doesn’t work. Clickbait does not work with organic traffic and if your title tags and meta descriptions do not align with the content on your page, people will bounce very quickly. 

Technical Issues: If you have too many broken links, 404s, glitches, or broken media, users will lose trust in you which can make it more difficult for them to want to engage with your site or buy something from you because they may feel worried about getting scammed. 

Lack of CTA: I put this last but it’s so important and is often an afterthought. If visitors don’t know what to do, how can you expect them to do anything? Make it crystal clear with big buttons and engaging calls to action so they know where they’re supposed to click to get what they want.

What is a Good Bounce Rate?

good bounce rate

According to custommedialabs.com the typical bounce rate sits at an average of 40-50% but again, varies tremendously based on your industry. 

Ecommerce websites should shoot for 20-30% whereas landing pages and news pages can expect a bounce rate around 85%. 

Keep in mind that a how-to blog or quick-hitting informational blog may have a bounce rate as high as 90% or more. People land on the page, get what they need, and then get out. It doesn’t mean your content stinks, it could actually mean the opposite. 

You’ll also want to remember that while you have a target audience for your content, your audience might still be very diverse and as a result, can bring visitors that are more likely to bounce. 

Lastly, consider the differences in devices. You can imagine why bounce rate would be much higher on mobile than desktop. Chances are if someone is engaging with you on their desktop they might be working and doing something professional that requires a little more time and effort. 

If they’re engaging with you on mobile they might be scrolling and searching for something quick. The only thing you want to make sure is that your website bounce rate isn’t higher on mobile because the site isn’t optimized properly. 

Where Do You Find Bounce Rates? 

This information isn’t exactly plastered all over your website, so where do you find it?

Go to the Google Analytics website (https://analytics.google.com/) and sign in to your Google Analytics account. If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one and set up your website’s tracking code.

bounce rate in analytics

In the left-hand sidebar, you’ll find a menu with various reporting options. To see your website’s bounce rate, follow this path: “Reports” > “Behavior” > “Site Content” > “Landing Pages.”

Everything inside that red box is what you’re looking for. 

Take notice of these bounce rates and look at the difference between blogs and ecommerce pages. The pages that actually sell items are between 47-63% whereas the blog posts are in the 90s. 

Let this be your indicator not to stress too much about bounce rate. This is a very successful website despite having pretty high bounce rates. 

How to Improve Bounce Rate?

Now that you’re familiar with bounce rate, how do we address it if it’s too high? Here are a few ways: 

  1. Include Plenty of Media: Enhance your content with images, videos, and infographics. Visual elements can capture users’ attention and make your content more engaging.
  2. Break Up The Text: Organize your content into smaller, digestible sections with clear headings, bullet points, and short paragraphs. This makes it easier for users to skim and find the information they’re looking for.
  3. Work on Technical SEO and Site Performance: Optimize your website for speed and mobile-friendliness. Fast-loading pages and a responsive design contribute to a better user experience, reducing bounce rates.
  4. Get Right to the Point: Hook readers with a compelling introduction that communicates the value of your content. Make sure your main points are clear and accessible early in the article.
  5. Satisfy the Search Intent: Ensure that your content aligns with the search intent of your target audience. Meeting their expectations reduces the likelihood of bouncing.
  6. Use Heatmaps to Test: Employ heatmaps and user behavior tracking tools to analyze how users interact with your website. Identify pain points and design issues to make informed improvements.
  7. Link to Related Posts for More Info: Include internal links to related articles or content on your website. This encourages users to explore more of your site, reducing bounce rates by keeping them engaged. Link Whisper is a great tool to help you find new internal link opportunities

Final Thoughts

So, what is bounce rate? By now, you should have no problem answering this question. Remember that improving your site’s engagement is an ongoing process and not something that will require a few tweaks to notice a significant difference. 

The most important message I can send you away with is not to dwell too much on bounce rate. As long as your site operates properly and you’re not doing any sort of black hat SEO, you don’t likely have much to worry about. 

Design your website for users, write great content, include plenty of images and media, and stay up to date on the latest plugins and tools to help you with your content. Good luck! 

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