What is a Good Bounce Rate?
Have you ever wondered why conversion rates leave much to be desired, despite the high volume of traffic on a site? The reason is probably that users leave the site without performing any target action. In SEO terminology, this concept is known as a bounce rate. It clearly and numerically describes what we just said.
We talk about what a good bounce rate is, how to measure it, how to influence it, and much more in this article.
What is a Bounce Rate?
Let’s begin with the definition of a bounce rate. The bounce rate is the number of users (converted to a percentage) who left the page without performing any targeted actions within a certain time frame. A targeted action usually means filling out a contact form, clicking on a link, placing goods in the cart, placing an order, etc. These are often users who only viewed one page of the site.
However, special attention is paid to the session time, if a site user leaves the same tab open in the browser for more than half an hour, this is also considered a failure. If they continue to browse the site after this period, the countdown of a new session begins.
What can be said about single-page sites? How would you calculate the bounce rate in this instance? In fact, in this case, the ratio is calculated between the number of users who visited the site and switched to another for a certain amount of time and the total number of site users.
How does a bounce rate work? The importance of this indicator is undeniable, you can attract a fairly large number of visitors to your site, but the conversion rate will be negligible. Additionally, the bounce rate affects the site’s position in Google search results, when it is higher than average, search robots conclude that something is wrong with the site, and prioritize resources with lower values for this parameter.
Useful information about the bounce rate:
Bounce Rate Formula
Here are a few words about calculating the bounce rate formula. This is what it looks like (the calculation is performed separately for each page):
- Rb – the bounce rate
- Tv – the number of users who were present only present on one of the site pages, and left without completing any target action
- Te – the number of users who visited the site at all
What Factors Determine the Bounce Rate?
After defining the bounce rate, we will identify the five factors that determine its value.
Try to analyze what kind of traffic prevails on your site. So, if the majority of users come from informational requests, they will not be configured to purchase, unless, of course, this is your target action.
Practice shows that the lowest bounce rates are typical for visitors who are familiar with your site, meaning that they entered its name in the search bar or went directly to the desired URL, and came purposefully for purchase or some other target action.
The Pages that Users Visit on Your Site
Typically, older blog posts have a high bounce rate, as opposed to the pages with descriptions of fresh and frequently posted products. This is quite logical, and you can fix it by including links to something more relevant to your site in old posts. Read more in the article How to Write a Great Blog Post.
Website Design and Layout
Unfortunately, there are still sites whose layout and design leave much to be desired. This is especially noticeable in mobile versions, where half of the buttons and windows that drop down or move to a side are simply unavailable for clicks/inputs. For how to optimize your site for mobile devices, read Mobile Search.
Matching Page Content to the Theme of the Site
Think about the kind of questions that led users to a specific page of your site and if they were able to find an answer to them. This is especially relevant for pages with informational content, which are often spammed with keywords and lack usefulness or relevance for the reader. To check if the content of your site is in order, read the Website Content Audit article.
Site Speed and UI
The optimal site loading speed is no more than 3 seconds, and the rendering speed is no more than 1.5 seconds. If these rates are not met, the bounce rate will be extremely high and Google uses this data for ranking, which means that the organic traffic will also decline. Thus, you will have to arm yourself with tools for analyzing site speed, such as GTmetrix or Pingdom tools, to see if everything on your site is working correctly.
How to Calculate the Bounce Rate
What is the bounce rate in Google Analytics?
You do not need formulas to calculate this bounce rate. You just need to create a Google Analytics account, this is the main tool for checking the bounce rate and open the Audience->Overview tab. It is here that you will see the overall bounce rate of the analyzed site by page, device type (mobile or stationary), and by period.
In General, Google Analytics is a useful tool, but you have to get used to it, Google offers an excellent guide in all languages. Because if you do not correctly configure the parameters, you can get completely incorrect results for bounce rates. We will explain the reasons for this in detail in the following paragraphs.
What is a Good Bounce Rate?
Most SEO experts say that the bounce rate should be below 40% and not exceed 55%. A rate of up to 60% causes minimal optimization (we will explain what this is later), and exceeding a bounce rate of 90% indicates measurement errors, as does a rate lower than 20%.
However, keep in mind that numbers are just numbers, and for some pages, for example, a site’s blog pages, a high bounce rate is quite natural, which cannot be said for the homepage. therefore, read to find out what parameters you should use to get an idea for the average bounce rate for each type of site/page.
What is an Average Bounce Rate?
Above, we already explained what a good bounce rate is for a blog.
Keep in mind that different kinds of sites have differing values for a normal bounce rate. Certain percentages are considered the norm for some sites, while they are somewhat different for others. So, Google Analytics offers the following gradation for a normal bounce rate, depending on the type of site:
- 40-60% – sites with informational content
- 30-50% – lead-generating sites
- 70-98% – blogs
- 20-40% – online stores
- 10-30% – service sites
- 70-90% – landing sites
As you can see, the average bounce rate may vary greatly by industry.
What is a Bad Bounce Rate?
We have finally reached the main point, the discussion of what a bad bounce rate is. This is an indicator whose value exceeds the average bounce rate, while of course considering the type of page on which the analysis is performed. So, if this is the homepage that you plan to use to transition to other pages of the site, a high bounce rate will be a cause for concern. Conversely, high bounce rates are natural for landing pages.
Thus, in general, you have to look at all the indicators for all existing pages, investigate traffic types, and only then can you draw conclusions.
3 High Bounce Rate Causes that You Do Not Have to Worry About
Paid traffic or traffic from social networks
Many sites attract traffic through paid advertising and social networks. This is a good thing for the sales funnel, the bounce rate might also be high due to the high volume of visitors. Thus, compared to organic traffic, this channel of attracting visitors will give you a high bounce rate. Of course, the bounce rate even with the prevailing paid traffic should not exceed 80%. In this case, consider whether you are using the wrong keywords and you need to increase organic traffic. For more information on this topic, see the article SEO vs. PPC.
Traffic from a Blog
A blog is a great opportunity to attract large volumes of organic traffic. However, users usually go to a blog for information requests that are not related to purchasing products or performing any other targeted actions.
This is why a site’s blog pages always have higher bounce rates compared to homepages, product pages, etc.
To remedy the situation, we recommend using internal links to other pages of the site, for example, to categories or specific product pages.
Alternatively, you can offer to subscribe to the site to receive notifications about product re-stocking, promotions, and so on. Or, for example, create a form for the user to fill in, and after registering, they would receive a link to download a free lesson or something of the sort. For more information, see the article Blog Optimization.
Mobile Traffic (Usually, the bounce rates for mobile sites are much higher)
Because today more and more Internet users are using their mobile devices to visit sites, it is predictable that the number of rejections will be considerably high, given that the majority of mobile traffic is from social networks.
However, a high bounce rate from mobile users might also indicate that the site design is not up to par with what mobile devices require, and it is difficult for users to figure out how to complete a target action, or for instance, the site just takes a long time to load.
Thus, try to test the promoted website on as many different mobile devices as possible, to understand that it is not about the UX or vice versa.
In general, if you see that the site’s bounce rate leaves much to be desired, it does not mean that you need to change anything. The point is that you might have received incorrect data. Let’s figure out how this could have happened.
The Two Common Reasons for Getting Incorrect Bounce Rates
There are not many reasons why you might get the wrong idea about bounce rates, there are two.
If you have already worked with Google Analytics, you probably know that due to a large number of functions, parameters, and indicators, configuring this service for a specific site can be difficult. For instance, incorrectly configured Google Analytics can give you an entirely incorrect bounce rate. How do you figure out if there is a configuration error?
Most often, users are faced with the fact that the Google Analytics bounce rate shows an enviable value of 0%. This is either because you installed multiple instances of Google Analytics at once or the code that collects analytics was installed in the wrong place, i.e., in the footer.
The second factor that can form a false perception of the bounce rate is that spambots are scanning the website you are promoting. These are not the cute Google bots that crawl your site for content relevancy.
These bots are searching for material to publish on spam sites, and their stay on your site might be conceived as a full-fledged user session that did not end with a target action. This means that this will also affect the bounce rate and it will be unreasonably higher.
How to Optimize the Bounce Rate of Your Site: 12 Effective Recommendations
Now we will show you how to improve the bounce rate for the site you are promoting.
Optimize Page Loading Time
Remember how much patience you have to wait until the site is fully loaded. Ten Seconds? Five? Internet users have become so accustomed to UX on high-quality sites with millions of visitors daily that load with the click of a finger, that spending more than three seconds waiting for something to load does not seem rational to them.
Conduct Smart Page Formatting
Some webmasters design pages so that they contain a lot of hidden elements that are activated when you click on them. The most striking example of this is when you go to a blog, part of the text is usually hidden under the cut, and when you click on the clickable link, a whole canvas of the text opens up in front of you. This practice is gradually becoming obsolete.
Thus, SEO experts on so-called smart formatting, which does not produce infinite pages with massive text blocks. The fact is to perform the main, targeted action requires too much effort from the site user, and therefore, usually results in a high bounce rate. What should be done to make the page look more friendly to visitors? There are several practices for this:
- use clickable headers with tags
- dilute the text canvas with pictures
- use bulleted lists (just as we are doing now)
All these simple tricks are implemented using tags, so you do not even have to contact the layout team (usually an experienced copywriter can do this).
Do Not Abuse Widgets
Some webmasters use a rather dishonest technique, this is when pop-ups appear as soon as a user visits a web page and begins to navigate through it. This usually leads to a fairly high bounce rate because no one wants to constantly close annoying elements.
Therefore, if you have an urgent need to use widgets, do not launch them when you start loading content on the page. It is better to do this when the user is going to close it.
As for the widget content, it is better not to waste your visitors’ time on nonsense in the spirit of: “Are you sure you want to close this page and leave our site? ” instead, lead users to perform targeted actions. For example, if you are promoting an online store, it makes sense to ask the user if they would like to purchase the products they viewed or put in their cart. You can also offer an additional discount, a free gift to order, free delivery, a free course/lesson, or something else that can be useful.
If your site does not belong to the e-commerce category, instead of offering something for free, you can invite visitors to register on the site or subscribe to social networks. The pop-up window may also contain a link to new blog posts, etc. As you can see, the range for what you can put in a pop-up window is huge. Another thing is that it is not worth it to abuse these elements.
Remove Broken Links
Broken links are links that point to a non-existent page, file, or site. Rather than going to the desired page, users land on a page with an error message, usually a 404 error. If your site has such links, you should get rid of them because they also increase the number of rejections. For more information on this topic see the article What Are Bad Links?
The fact is that Google’s search robots examine all pages when ranking sites and also pay attention to links that are placed in text context. When the robot hits a broken link, it goes through it and gets the same error. If there is a large number of broken links, search robots begin to classify the site as a low-quality web resource and give priority to other sites that do not have such links.
The same thing will happen with users. If the vast majority of links on the site that they click on are broken, they usually leave the resource and do not return.
Ensure Continuous Page Relevance
The relevance of content means that it matches the search queries for which it appears in the search results. For example, a user comes to your site with the query “where to buy hand-knitted socks in New York”, and if they find what they are looking for, then the site will be considered relevant. And if, for example, the user ends up in a directory with normal socks, it turns out that your copywriters cheated and simply used semantically identical keys where it is not appropriate.
Generally, you should work on creating a semantic core and select the keys that most accurately fit the subject of your site. Otherwise, you may face a high bounce rate because they simply will not find what they are looking for in the search engine on the website you are promoting.
Not all site visits start from the same page. And when users get to any of the catalog pages, blogs, etc., they must have the opportunity to navigate on the site itself and perform targeted actions. That is why it is important to have a CTA on every page that encourages users to this targeted action (this is not just about product pages).
This way, you can help users reduce the time they spend on your site and push them forward in the sales funnel, of course, if your site belongs to the e-commerce category. This means that as a result, the bounce rate will be much lower.
Use the Links Skillfully
Special attention should be paid to working with links on the site, and the bounce rate can also be negatively affected by their wrong use. How do you figure this out? It is simple, Google Analytics will help you with this, it is a tool that allows you to get a complete analysis of every page on your site.
The fact is that some site owners, working diligently on blogs, seek to offer their readers as much information as possible by providing links to third-party sources. As a result, if the term referred to (for example, to Wikipedia) is not explained in any way further, the user clicks on it and leaves your site.
For example, the sentence: “Most of our glass has an oleophobic coating” could be called strategically incorrect. Instead, it makes sense to at least briefly explain the meaning of the incomprehensible term, for instance, like this: “most of our glasses have an oleophobic coating that protects the surface of smartphones from grease and other contaminants.”
Improve Organic Traffic Through Quality Content
You can dig even deeper, and to improve the SEO bounce rate, begin completely redoing/ adding content to the site. Usually, this activity begins with working on product descriptions and blogs.
Your task is to ensure that your content is as relevant as possible. You can do this by creating unique, relevant, and topical material that would contain a lot of useful and necessarily verified information.
All sorts of manuals, recommendation lists, tops, analyzes of statistical data, etc. are especially popular in this regard.
Adapt the Site for Mobile Devices
Unfortunately, even today, when every user visits sites from their mobile devices, not every website can boast about ideal adaptability to small screens. As we mentioned earlier, this approach makes certain strategically important elements of the site (the search bar, cart, CTA buttons) disappear from view, or are so inconvenient that users will leave the site.
These points need to be optimized, making the interface as friendly as possible for mobile users. And keep in mind that no matter how positive the user experience of the mobile version of the site is, if it slows down when loading on a smartphone or tablet, it will not have a positive impact on the bounce rate.
Simplify Site Navigation
While trying to create a custom design for a site, some webmasters completely forget about the convenience. Unprepared for design novelties, users simply cannot navigate where to click to get to the right place. As a result, they leave the site in hope of finding something simpler, and the bounce rate increases inexorably, moreover, starting immediately from the homepage.
This point is especially relevant for online stores, in the vast majority of cases, it makes sense to give preference to a custom template rather than come up with something new “from scratch”.
Work on the Homepage
The homepage is the starting point for users who have come to your site purposefully, that is, not to get information, but to perform some targeted action. That is why you must give it the perfect UX in every sense.
Recently, webmasters have been using mega-menus, drop-down navigation blocks that contain a full site map. Firstly, this approach saves space on the site, and secondly, it helps users to navigate where to click to get to the desired page.
Of course, the mega-menu is not the only way to optimize the start page. You should also work on the color selection, fonts, and other details that can further simplify the perception of the site as a whole.
Remember to Improve Product Pages
Finally, the last recommendation is to optimize the product pages. When there are thousands of products or even more goods in an online store, its owners rarely want to bother with a unique and detailed description for each unit.
On the one hand, it is a waste of time to create a new description of products with identical characteristics from the same manufacturer. But, there is another extreme, when copywriters dryly list a set of characteristics, and the description of the product itself contains soft matter that is copied from one product page to another. As a result, a page user hoping to find something sane leaves the site in search of another, more detailed, and useful description.
Therefore, before you start filling out the site, make a list of clear requirements for the copywriters, what the ideal product description should look like, and which items should be present by default.
We hope that we have fully answered the following questions: what a bounce rate is and how to calculate it. As you can see, optimizing a high bounce rate is not an easy task and requires a thorough approach. Do you perhaps have other methods for reducing it? If so, we would be happy if you share them with our readers in the comments below.