Bounce rate in Google analytics is most prominent yet an underused blog performance metric to improve readership and conversions. Ideally, the lower is the bounce rate, the higher the conversion is. Respecting all levels of readers, before we know what is good bounce rate and how to improve your bounce rate, let’s know what is bounce rate.
Bounce Rate meaning – the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).
Ever since I knew, I loved playing with the bounce rate of my blogs to keep it lowest and maximize the conversions.
How does the Bounce Happen?
1. When a user clicks on any external link on a page and moves to another website [even if it is your sub-domain (sub.yoursite.com)]
2. Uses the Back button of browser and goes back to the original source (The search, another website or even your own website’s different page)
3. Closes the tab or browser window
4. Types a new url from same page to leave
5. Timeout after a 30 minutes session on a single page (A debatable factor that should be considered to make any conclusions since large videos views and idle pages with inactive users may give misleading data)
What is a good bounce rate?
50-70% is considered a good bounce rate for blogs
40-60% is considered a good bounce rate for business websites and service sites.
20-50% is considered a good bounce rate for ecommerce and shopping websites.
Does bounce rate affect search engine rankings?
Not directly but it certainly helps you improve your blog overall conversion and popularity. Let’s learn what makes the bounce rate go higher?
What Makes Bounce Rate High?
1. Traffic Source
Each traffic source has a different bounce rate because the target audience needs, expectations and behaviour differs. For example, from my blog’s screenshot, the traffic coming from a referral sources shows higher bounce rate as compared to referral traffic coming from search engines which is more focused traffic with clearer intent. Over regular analysis, set the baseline to make appropriate conclusions.
2. Irrelevant Search Engine Rankings
I noticed high bounce rate on one of my SEO Tools post that had a little mention about The Hoth. Interestingly, search engines brought traffic to this post for this keyword but users left within seconds when they hardly found anything on the post.
This clearly called optimization of that blogpost for the more focus keywords. When I did, not only the bounce rate improved, the post started ranking for several profitable and relevant keywords.
Similarly, for ecommerce or business sites, if your business is local and serve locales but your site ranks on global keywords, you’re clearly bouncing a lot of visitors back. This results either generally from poor marketing or without keyword research. Every keyword with higher search volume may not be a money keyword. Make sure your website ranks on focused keywords in search engines.
Invest in professional keyword research before getting or website created and marketed. Role of bounce rate in SEO has a huge impact.
3. Wrong audience
If your blog is serving beginner-level readers and users but you are receiving advanced level readers, it’s obvious to have a higher bounce rate and disappointed visitors. Identify your target audience, figure out the best marketing channels and places to influence their stay and lower the bounce rate.
4. Website and Blog Design and flow
The clarity, focus and minimalism of your blog design affect your bounce rate. No matter how great is the design and how low is the bounce rate, there’s always room for improvement until you go less than 40% bounce rate.
Make sure your blogpost layout and structure is easy with proper H tags and short paragraphs to ease the readership.
Focus on having only must-have elements on every page of your blog and website and keep clear navigation to help them move to next relevant page.
5. Content and Ads
Simplicity, brevity and clarity of content on your page impacts the bounce rate. If it is not aligned with your users’ needs and intent, expect those over 70% bounce rate.
Use simple power words to hold on the attention and interest of your user and keep the content language as simple as their routine language. Doing A/B testing can help you decide the best performing pages content, placements and design.
For example, in our SERPHOLIC Media web design agency website, we tested two headlines and the later won with a more user stay on site and reduced bounce rate by over 25%
6. Page Loading Speed
Users wouldn’t wait forever.
Sites with longer load time surely will have a higher bounce rate. Optimize your blog’s loading speed before launching. It’s recommended to optimize your blog for speed since you are updating your blogs on a regular basis.
7. More external links at wrong places
Every click to an external site link will increase the bounce rate.
Websites and blogs with external site links in first few lines are most likely to face this problem. Moreover, if a website has a huge number of external site links at any place on the page, users tend to click out of need or curiosity. Generally, blogs with a lot of ads can experience a higher bounce rate.
8. Purpose of the Site/Page
A page with end result will show a higher bounce rate as compared to the pages that drive users to insider pages for more information. For example, contact pages, time, and weather forecast sites will show a higher bounce rate. Having good blog sidebars with engagement elements can improve such blog’s bounce rate.
9. Forced Elements
Sites, blogs and pages with pop-up ads, survey requests and streaming video surprise and annoy the users, especially new visitors, eventually making them leave sooner than later. These elements adversely affect the site bounce rate.
What is a Good Bounce Rate
According to an Inc.com:
“As a rule of thumb, an average bounce rate is 50% for most good websites and blogs. If your site exceeds 70 percent, you should be concerned. If you’re in excess of 90 percent, you’ve got a problem.”
Bounce rate estimated for industries
Bounce rate formula
(You don’t have to calculate it yourself. It is just to show how it happens)
The bounce rate of the page 1 is calculated as: [total bounces (2070)/total entrances (2424)] *100 = 85.40%
The bounce rate of the home page ( / ) is calculated as: [total bounces (171)/total entrances (416)] *100 = 41.11%
The bounce rate of the website is calculated as: [total bounces (4039)/total entrances (5400)] *100 = 74.80%
The Bouncer About Bounce Rate
Google states that they don’t use analytics data as part of their algorithm to determine rankings, however, what they may use is “Dwell Time”. Dwell Time is time user spends on a page after clicking from SERP’s result. It is a combination of 3 metrics; Bounce Rate, Session Duration & CTR.
Subscribe to receive my next detailed guide on Dwell Time and how to use for higher conversions on your website and blogs (at the end of this post).
Dwell time is a stronger website quality and conversion signal compared to bounce rate. Anything less than a minute is considered poor. It may take a user a minute to consume your information.
How to Improve Bounce Rate
I have discussed the reasons that result into a higher bounce rate. Fixing them will make a big difference. To add more to that;
1. Keep easy and clear navigation to help your visitors explore your website and blog. Do not just focus on making the navigation look creative, rather make it look easy to spot, legible and simple.
2. Blogs can have an interactive sidebar rich with interesting items like popular posts etc. to keep the users entertained and engaged.
3. Develop a genuine need to explore more of your website or blog on each page after they have received the information they came looking for.
What to do next?
Just log into your Google analytics and scan your website for bounce rate. Analyze what you can improve. Feel free to ask me if you need my help. Would be happy.
If you didn’t even have the Google analytics and webmaster tools configured, do it right now. It’s the first step right before your website launche to see your traffic behaviour.