Understanding Your Website Bounce Rate and How to Begin Improving It

According to Search Engine Land, Google receives over 63,000 searches per second every day. Think about that- literally thousands of people are searching the web right this very second, most likely for drastically different things.

Regardless of whatever the intent might be, though, searchers typically all have one thing in common: They’re looking for an online resource that will provide them with the information they seek quickly and easily.

Ideally, they’d like to find it on the first try, but as searchers ourselves, we know that it doesn’t always work that way.

For example, say you open a webpage with a title that looks promising and hurriedly skim its contents- but your question is still unanswered, so you close the page, probably within 30 seconds of opening it.

We’re all guilty of doing this, but what we may not realize is that this seemingly minute action contributes to that website’s bounce rate, which is an important metric that Google’s algorithm takes into account as it determines which pages should appear on page one for that query moving forward. 

What is a Website Bounce Rate? 

First, let’s back up a little bit.

A “bounce” occurs when a user enters your site, but leaves almost immediately, without interacting with anything else on the site. Your website bounce rate is the calculated percent of time that bounces occur on either a certain page of your website or for your website as a whole. 

From an SEO perspective, your website’s bounce rate can be super helpful to determine whether or not your website is set up for success in engaging new users.

It will let you know if visitors are actually staying on the pages they land on and interacting with whatever it is you have to offer.

Similarly, if a website has a strikingly high bounce rate, that can be an indicator to Google that it’s not a great resource, and probably shouldn’t rank on page one.

Where Can You Find Your Bounce Rate?

In your Google Analytics account, your website bounce rate appears on the very first screen upon logging in.

Keep in mind that, untouched and unfiltered, this bounce rate includes data from all traffic sources. I definitely recommend modifying the dates in the bottom left corner to view your data within whatever date range you want to analyze.

What is a website bounce rate and how you can decipher and improve yours.

As you dive deeper into your Google Analytics data, you can also see a breakdown of bounce rate at the page level.

On the left hand menu, click Behavior -> Site Content -> All pages.

This report, in particular, is really helpful in prioritizing which pages might need some more love than others in terms of bounce rate, and you can sort your pages from highest to lowest bounce rate for easier viewing and strategizing.

What is Considered a “Good” Bounce Rate? 

Now that you’ve determined what your bounce rate actually is, it’s time to put it into a bit of context.

According to Moz, the average bounce rate for a landing page is generally around 70-90%.

That typically surprises people, but if you think about it, already low attention spans are only continuing to diminish year after year as people, in general, continue to expect on-demand information 24/7.

Plus, bounce rate as a whole is pretty subjective, so it’s really important to consider your bounce rate within the context of your own business and target audience.

Taking Bounce Rate With a Grain of Salt 

One of the biggest issues with bounce rate is that there’s no conclusive way to measure the reason behind why someone bounced.

Google Analytics certainly gives us a lot of data, but obviously, it’s impossible to actually get inside a searcher’s head. 

Sure, a bounce could mean that someone landed on your site and immediately bounced because they didn’t like what they saw or didn’t find the information they were looking for. Or, it could also mean that they landed on your website, quickly found what they were looking for, and moved on to the next thing.

This is especially prevalent when customers are just looking for quick business information, such as your phone number, email address, physical location, or hours of operation- all of which are usually listed right on the home page or in the header/footer of the site.

That doesn’t mean you should remove this information from those places by any means, it’s just something to keep in mind as you analyze your website’s bounce rate. There’s a reason why 70% or higher is considered the average!

Moving Forward with Bounce Rate in Mind

Once you start analyzing the content on your business’s website and identifying some potential reasons for a bounce, you’ll get better at pinpointing whether or not these factors are within the realm of your control.

Maybe there are some instances where you can develop your content to clear up your message, or maybe you should just chalk it up to being completely normal- it’s up to you to monitor your own unique traffic patterns and decide from there. 

As with anything, balance is key.

Bounce rate can certainly help to provide a general overview of how users are behaving and interacting with your website, but ultimately, there’s way too many unknown factors that surround it to place too much emphasis on it.

As long as you understand this and prioritize your SEO strategy accordingly, you’ll absolutely be able to leverage this information to better set up your website for increased conversions and overall success.

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Emily is a marketing professional by day and a freelance writer by night. Based in Buffalo, NY, she can most likely be found drinking coffee, uncovering unique stories, and dreaming of adopting multiple dogs. Keep up with Emily on her website and blog.

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  1. Christina says:

    Great article! I’ve tended to lean towards “Bounce Rate means they bounced or are not interested in the past”. It’s helpful to think that the bounce rate could be high because the viewer FOUND the information they were looking for. As with anything, this is one metric of many to analyze and improve your web presence!

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