The Truth About Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is one of the important metrics shown in Google Analytic report (Google analytics bounce rate). The role bounce rate analytics plays in determining the performance of a web page and a website as a whole is very vital.

This article is all about bounce rate. It reveals the truth about bounce rate which is an important metric presented with virtually other site metrics in Google analytics.The Truth About Bounce Rate

Bounce rate report is a metric to view how optimised a website or blog is to search engine and to what extent the human visitors are engaged on the website.

Do most of your visitors bounce on your website? Perhaps your web analytics do record high bounce rate and you want a strategy to reduce the bounce? These burning questions are all about bounce rate.

When I started this blog, the bounce rate was as high as 95. Today, my blog bounce rate has reduced. I do record a bounce rate between 10 and 20. And I hope that isn’t bad.

Do you really have to care about a high bounce rate of your site? If it’s necessary to reduce it, when and how?

Bounce rate itself sends signal to the search engine to judge how relevant and useful your website is to the visiting audience. This means a good bounce rate could help your website SEO and improve your organic traffic.

However, website bounce rate as an SEO metric isn’t all-inclusive. And if used alone, it could give wrong perception of the general site performance and relevancy. Other metrics that matter are used hand-in-hand with bounce rate report:

  • Page exit rate
  • Average Pageview per visitor
  • Average session duration
  • Traffic rate and source
  • Conversion rate
  • Visit frequency and recency

But what does bounce rate mean, how can it be defined and calculated as found in Google analytics?

Bounce Rate Definition

What is bounce rate? I could define bounce rate in simple words

“Bounce rate is the ratio of single page visit to total visit usually expressed in percentage.”

That is, the percentage of site visits where visitors land on a website page (called landing page or entrance page) and “bounce” without taking any action that might lead to viewing other pages on the same website.

The term “landing page” is critical when determining the bounce rate of a page. That is why the term “bounce” is initiated. Bounce explains a webpage that is landed upon ( through organic search results, direct type-in-traffic, referring sites or otherwise) and left immediately. The web page serves as a landing page and exit page without any interaction of visitors to any other page within the website during the visiting session.

Bounce Rate Calculation

Lots of questions keep arising on how to calculate bounce rate of a webpage. It is pretty much simple. Let say a website receive 140 visitors during a given session. And out of these visits, 60 bounce. That is, they exited the landing page without taking any action. The bounce rate expressed as a percentage is

\mathbf{\frac{60}{140}\times100=42.9}

This is just to get an idea of how bounce rate is estimated. You don’t have to stand about the calculation/statistics for your website. All you need is to install analytic tool to watch your site bounce rate as well as other SEO and conversion rate metrics.

When it comes to such analytics, ‘Google analytics’ comes to mind. Apart from being a free performance and analytic tool, you can easily get it installed with clicks of mouse.

Average Bounce Rate for Website

Average bounce rate for website/blog varies across industries and site types. You need to watch the bounce rate industry average to optimise your site for good bounce rate. The following are acceptable bounce rate average.

 Web portals 20%
 Service oriented website 15%
 eCommerce site 30%
 Landing page 80%
 Content blog/website 40%

How Does Bounce Rate Occur on a Website?

  • Clicking on outbound links
  • Clicking the browser back button to another website
  • Typing another website URL in the address bar containing the webpage address
  • Closing the browser window or tab containing the webpage
  • Leaving the page idle until the session time-out period (usually 30 minutes) elapsed

Reasons for High Bounce Rate

Does your website experience high bounce rate?

Many reasons stand behind high bounce rate of a website. To reduce your site bounce rate, you need to find out what makes the bounce rate to be at high-end. These are major top reasons why some websites have high bounce rate.

  • Poor navigation and usability (poor user interface): This has to do with your website design. How easy is the website for readers to get access to the inner resources of the website/blog?
  • Detailed Information: When users get enough information on the page and the issue that warrant the search for the information is resolved, they may not navigate to another page. This is a positive signal that credits your page for reader satisfaction. However, do you have to be satisfied with this kind of bounce and the associated high bounce rate? Keep reading
  • Single-page site: A single page site that doesn’t require multiple action steps on the same domain that hosts the page has high bounce rate.
  • Bookmarked page: If a visitor bookmark a page as a reference for specific information, she visits the page, finds the information and do bounce out. This high bounce doesn’t mean the page is stuck. Such page can convert to sales. Improve the page monetization and bounce rate by inserting clear call to action
  • Website speed Issue: If the website isn’t optimised for speed, the visitors tend to bounce when the loading time is above average and become annoying. Internet users aren’t that patient. Your page should load within 2-3 seconds.Generally the longer the loading time, the higher the bounce rate. All other things being equal.
  • Marring introduction: Your article introduction has great influence on your site bounce rate. It creates the first impression (good or bad) for the readers. It quickly answers the questions readers conceived immediately she landed a webpage. “Does this article provide my need. Does it quench my thirst and answer my query? Your article introduction could make or mar the winning potential of the whole article and influence your website bounce rate.
  • Lack of communication: It isn’t when you engrave black on white that you communicate. That isn’t enough. You communicate when your readers rightly consume your message and thought. If your website doesn’t communicate the expected message, there is a great chance for high bounce rate.
  • External link: When you set outbound links to open in the same tab as your page, you create room for bounce through that page.
  • Ads Distraction: Your visitors are interested in the contents, the information you shared NOT ads. But you do. And you have to do that with caution and strategy. Don’t overstuff your content with advertisement. Too much ads on a site lead to recurring bounce and overall high bounce rate for the site.
  • Poor and irrelevant contents: Quality content and bounce rate can be correlated. There are much with quality content. I can’t dig much on it here.

Is High Bounce Rate Always Bad?

Really no, high bounce rate isn’t always daunting for the success and better performance of a website. You need to be subjective about high bounce rate.

What is the page goal: If the page has high bounce rate, does it serve the purpose for which it was created? Each page of your website has specific goals. If the set goals completion is independent of other page, high bounce record for the page shouldn’t trigger alarm.

How much traffic does the page with high bounce receive? Where is the traffic source and to where does the page refer most of the traffic? You can get the insights to these questions through your site Google analytics reports.

  • If the page with high bounce rate receive substantial amount of traffic and doesn’t complete desired actionable goal on its own, the bounce has to be improved by clear call to action.
  • If the page receive most of its traffic from search engine (especially Google), what does bounce rate mean? Check the page view duration per visit. If average view duration is low, high bounce is a concern that needs attention. Visitors probably bounce back to search engine that gives the traffic. This isn’t a good bounce and could affect your website SEO and performance on Google SERPs.
  • Is the page with high bounce a good referrer to your affiliate or own products? For example will you panic if a page bounce occurs by sending prospects to your offer on other domains or clicking on the advertiser banner? Definitely no, such high bounce rate is desired and intentional.

So simply said, a high bounce rate isn’t always bad. A quality content sometimes initiates bounce when visitors get virtually all the information they need from the page. When the goals are met and the visitors take the actions you desire, you won already.

Moreover, some pages are just there to exert authority and boost the general performance of the website. They aren’t meant really to initiate sales.

Is the page high bounce critical for your e-commerce activities? Is it a lead page or subscription page? Bounce rate should be subjectively considered before making judgement on the site bounce rate, good or bad and whether the bounce rate is high or normal.

Otherwise, there is a need to follow actions to reduce your website bounce rate for seo and organic traffic.

How to Reduce Bounce Rate

It isn’t every time you want your visitor to stick to all your pages. If you’ve analysed the bounce rate of a page and you see a need to reduce the visitors bounce, below are some steps and tips to reduce the bounce.

Quality Content and Bounce Rate

Develop the skill for writing engaging contents. The following articles might help you understand how quality content could improve your website bounce rate, traffic generation and general performance of your website.

In the meantime, follow the following tips

  • Be simple: Write in a style that is easily understood by anyone encountering your website contents. Let them have good experience. Shun complex words. Use simple sentence structure. Avoid long paragraph. 3-4 sentence paragraph is enough.
  • Avoid static Blog: Is it a blog? Make it live with regular updates, how often your website is updated? A regularly updated blog/website retains and engages visitors. Retention and engagement on a content page initiate visits to another page on the website and keep bounce rate low.
  • Communicate it: Are you communicating? Lack of communication get the whole things stuck. Bounce rate apart.
  • 2-way communication: Develop 2-way communication style. Let your audience into discussion.
  • Maintain high readability: Assess the readability score of your content using Flesch-Kincaid Reading Easy Score (FRES).

Test content readability to improve site bounce rate

Maximum (best) score =120
 Ensure 60 and above. The closer yours is to 120, the better your content readability.

You don’t have to go about the calculation. If you use WordPress SEO plugin in your blog. It does the whole calculation and give optimisation option as you’re preparing your post.

Images and Bounce Rate

Inclusion of images into your website contents is an amazing way to improve user engagement and reduce bounce rate. Readers tend to be attracted to images. However, this has to be done in the right way. Otherwise you’ll be surprised how your website bounce rate rapidly rises.

Take note of these tips when using images to reduce your website bounce rate:

Optimise your images to be relevant to the theme of your page contents. If you do just this, your pages would be search engine optimised and would be prevented from “untargeted traffic” through image search of search engines. Untargeted traffic increases bounce rate and decreases conversion rate.
Never overstuff your pages with images. This act prevents clicks in the end.

How?

” Too much images on a page (just like ads) triggers competition. And this sometimes makes readers indecisive and bounce without clicking any element and/or images as well as links (actions) to which the images are meant to create attention. This translates to high bounce rate.

And

“Images, as always said, speak louder. Human brain interprets and consumes graphics faster than text. When too much images are presented on a single post/page, brain become strained, saturated and bored. The next thing is navigating out of the website”. And what does this mean? High bounce rate

Avoid too many ads, optimise the placement to reduce bounce rate

Yes, you need them, the Adsense, links to your product pre-sale articles or sales pages. But don’t turn your website/blog to sales pitch.

Most new webmasters/publishers fall here. They want to earn money as soon as the website is set up. They don’t give room for maturity and growth. Here are few tips:

  • Gain sufficient traffic before marketing and advertising through the blog/website
  • Place ads in appropriate location
  • Understand when few actually means more. Don’t overstuff your content.

Content Interlinking Reduces Bounce Rate

One of the benefits of deep linking your website contents is higher pageview per visitor and lower bounce rate. Included in this concept is “Related Post”. Include related post links to older contents to reduce your website bounce rate.

To get a better result and high click-through rate (CRT) for your internal links, it is a best practice to use the correct approach. Make your readers into clicking proposition by stating the reasons and benefits they would derive by visiting the content page through the links.

I love Estine Muki submission on using descriptive linking approach to induce clicking and reduce bounce rate through the linking system. You can check in his blog post here

Pop Ups Encourage Bounce

Pop up is a best way to increase your bounce rate if desired. They make webpage scary and annoying for most readers.

If you’re using pop ups for your email subscription campaign, lead generation or other call-to-action, use the template that makes the close button visible. Visitors who aren’t interested could easily close the pop up and continue with the session.

To optimise your pop up you can utilise cookie based pop up that is displayed to a visitor for a given set of time after the last visit. Say weekly or monthly.

Encourage Mobile Users. Don’t let them bounce

The number of internet access through mobile keeps increasing. To prevent bounce from these mobile users and improve the overall bounce rate of your site, you need to consider them in your web design.

Make sure your web contents load nicely on mobile with responsive design. Go for responsive theme for your blog.

Clean Environment Matters to Optimise Bounce Rate

House your contents in a clean environment. Watch the contrast of your website, the fonts and background colour. Is there proper colour combination?

The look of your content page must be welcoming to reduce visitors’ bounce. If you don’t stick to traditional black font on white background, choose website font-background combination that enhances text readability

Speed and Bounce Rate

High bounce rate is often recorded for a page that consumes much time to load. Visitors tend to leave the page before it’s fully loaded. You might need to review your page load time. There are some tools to check your page load time. Some of these tools give the suggestion to fix: 

  • tools.pingdom.com/
  • developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

To optimise your page for speed,

  • Check for heavy plugins.
  • Optimise the size and type of images used.
  • Use light, well coded theme for blogs.
  • How efficient is your host server? Pay attention to your web hosting provider efficiency

Have you any clue?

What do you think about website bounce? Does high bounce rate affect your website seo if you’ve experienced such bounce in the past? How do you reduce the bounce rate? Your opinion is much appreciated. Share your thought in the comment section.

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About Lasisi Afees

Professional Blogger and Internet Marketer. He has deep passion for blogging and sharing ideas on making money online. Connect with him on Twitter,   Facebook  and Google Plus

Comments

  1. WOW! That was detailed stuff! Truth is that bounce rate is a factor that describes the kind of user engagement that a blog enjoys. And for blogs, it is better to maintain a low bounce rate. Many advertises too keep an eye on bounce rate, when it comes to selecting blogs for publishing their ads.

    You’ve very well defined, described and showed what exactly bounce rate is, how is it calculated etc. That part will sure help a newbie or laymen, who is new to this concept.

    In the next important section, you listed some common causes that results in high bounce rate. Knowing the problems can actually help us find the solutions to them also!

    In the ways to reduce bounce rate part, you’ve listed some evergreen methods! I must admit that fact.

    Two of my favorite ways, the ones that many bloggers overlook are- pop ups factor and mobile friendliness. Pop ups may times mislead visitors or drive them crazy! This may lead to high bounce rate.

    Talking about mobile friendliness, if a blog is not rendered well across mobile screens, chances are that the blog will lose lots of visitors and end up increasing bounce rate.

    I found the link to this post on Kingged. I’ll be Kingging it there. 🙂

    Arun

    • Hi Arun,

      thanks for reading the post. I agree as you said that bounce is an important metric advertisers watched to assess website/blog they choose for their PPC, CPC and other forms of campaigns. They know that low bounce rate of a blog is an indication of the blog engagement with visitors which are prospects t their offer.

  2. kumar sunil says:

    Hi,
    The bounce rate is a nightmare for the webmasters, if it is on the higher side. In fact, the Google analytics is a best and free tool to stay informed about your website bounce rate.

    This article has the quality to assist many webmasters to understand the pros and cons of the bounce rate.

    Thanks for sharing a quality.
    kumar

  3. Bounce rate is very big factor, In my thinking, but many just don’t look towards factors like this, which can hugely effect a website. A very high Bounce rate means, Visitors are not getting what they want (not always, but in most cases) and are leaving website to find more content, which also be called as Pogo sticking, if those visitors click on other search results in Google. Indirectly, We may lose our authority as Google will consider our content as worthless and will take down rankings. So, Bounce rate has lot do, no matter, which niche we are working on, from Blogging to eCommerce, this factors needs to be focused on, if we are really looking to provide good user experience.

  4. Vrisha Malan says:

    Yes, this is a serious problem. I am also facing this. I am at a 65% bounce rate. I look at my site as easy to understand, informative and to the point. I’m unquestionably not an SEO expert, so it’s a bit tough for me to navigate through all of this.

    A quick question is the Click on an Affiliate Link or Adsense Link considered as a Bounce? If yes, then it’s cool because many bloggers their goal is to make money and usually the money comes through Clicks (Cost Per Click and Cost Per Sale)!! may you guys explain, please?

    Anyways, thank you for the guidance and can you make advice about how to improve this factor. Great article full of helpful information.

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