Easiest What, Why & How of Website Bounce Rate

Easiest What, Why & How of Website Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is most prominent yet underused website metric from Google analytics to improve conversions. Ideally, lower is the bounce rate, higher the conversion is. Respecting all levels of readers, before we know what to fix for a good bounce rate, let’s know what is this.

Bounce Rate is 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 bounce rate of my websites 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 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.

bounce rate traffic
Bounce Rate By Traffic Source

2. Irrelevant Search Engine Rankings

If your store is local and serve locales but you rank 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 website is serving established business owners but attracting and receiving home-makers, you will have an obvious higher bounce rate. Identify your target audience, figure out the best marketing channels and places to influence their stay and lower the bounce rate.

4. Website Design

The clarity, focus and minimalism of your design affects your bounce rates big time. No matter how great is the design and how low is the bounce rate, there’s always a room for improvement until you go less than 20%. Focus on having only must have elements on every page of your website and keep clear navigation to help them move to next relevant page.

5. Content and Ads

[tweetherder]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.[/tweetherder]

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%

Lowered bounce rate after a simpler headline
Lowered bounce rate after a simpler headline

6. Website Loading Speed

Users wouldn’t wait forever. Sites with longer load time surely will have higher bounce rate. Optimize your website’s speed (including everyday page since some pages may take longer than others) before launching.

7. More external links at wrong places

Every click to an external site link will increase 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 drives users to insider pages for more information. For example, contact pages, time and weather forecast sites will show higher bounce rate. Having good sidebars with engagement elements can improve such websites 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. These elements adversely affect the site bounce rate.

What is a Good Bounce Rate

According to an Inc.com:

“As a rule of thumb, a 50 percent bounce rate is average. If you surpass 60 percent, you should be concerned. If you’re in excess of 80 percent, you’ve got a major problem.”

What is a good bounce rate for blogs?

Since blogs are made to offer information and education, the bounce rate will be either high or low depending upon ease and presentation of the information. An average bounce rate of 40-50% is considered good for a well read blog.

What is a good bounce rate for an retail ecommerce website?

eCommerce website has a lot to explore depending upon range and quality of products. For a well designed ecommerce store, bounce rate of 45-55% is considered good.

Bounce rate estimated for industries

Bounce-Rate by Industry

Bounce rate calculation 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 Lower Bounce Rate

I have discussed the reasons that results into a higher bounce rate. Fixing them will make a big difference. To add more to that;

1. Keep an 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. Analyse 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 launch to see your traffic behaviour.

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