In this article, we’ll give you a brief intro into the world of website bounce rates—what it is, how it’s measured, and why it’s important. Stick around until the end of the article for five actionable tips to reduce your own website’s bounce rate!
In this article:
- What is a Bounce Rate?
- How Do I Measure and Track My Website's Bounce Rate?
- What's Considered a Low or High Bounce Rate?
- What Does It Mean to Have a Low Bounce Rate?
- Is a High Bounce Rate Bad?
- What Are the Benefits of Reducing Bounce Rate?
- How Do I Reduce My Website's Bounce Rate?
What is a Bounce Rate?
A bounce rate is the percentage of web visitors who land on your site then leave soon after without interacting with or clicking on anything else on that page.
The formula for computing a page’s bounce rate is as follows:
Of course, you don't typically calculate this yourself (how tedious would that be?). Most of us use Google Analytics and other tools to track and evaluate bounce rates. Here are examples of what many web analytics tools consider a bounce:
- Closing the browser
- Clicking on the browser’s Back button
- Entering another URL in the browser’s address bar
- Not clicking anything within some seconds of the page loading
Digital marketing professionals usually use bounce rates to gauge the quality of two things about your site:
- Traffic: Whether the majority of your visitors go to your page to make a purchase (high-converting) or just browse through (low-converting)
- Content: Whether what you’re publishing is meeting your visitors’ expectations
How Do I Measure and Track My Website's Bounce Rate?
As mentioned above, calculating your website’s bounce rate using the formula above manually would be hugely time-consuming and laborious. The best way to measure and track your website’s bounce rate is to link it to a web analytics tool.
These are programs that track your visitors’ activities as they move through your website, such as what pages they visit, how long they stay, which product pages they lingered on, and even which items they added to their carts and checked out.
Here are the most popular web analytics tools available in the market today:
How to view your website’s bounce rate using Google Analytics
The first step is to log into your website’s Google Analytics page. Once logged in, click the following on the left-side menu: Behavior > Overview. Your dashboard should look like this:
From the dashboard, you can see your website’s overall bounce rate. In the example above, a certain website scored an average bounce rate of 45.82% from March 1 to 31, 2021.
To view the bounce rate for specific landing pages, click on the following options on the left-side menu: Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages. You’ll see the bounce rates for the first ten pages on your site like this:
From the example above, the first URL has a bounce rate of 57.79%. You can go down each row to view the bounce rates of each page on your website.
What's Considered a Low or High Bounce Rate?
Backlinko’s Bounce Rate study noted that websites generally have a bounce rate averaging between 41% to 51%. If your overall bounce rate is between these two values, it’s a sign that you’re getting quality traffic from the content that’s currently on your website. Anything higher is a cause for concern.
On the other hand, other studies like the one conducted by CustoMediaLabs saw that ideal bounce rates often depend on the website type:
Apart from looking at bounce rates by website type, you can also benchmark your website’s bounce rate against the averages for sites in your industry:
What Does It Mean to Have a Low Bounce Rate?
Generally speaking, having a low bounce rate—whether you're comparing it against industry or website type benchmarks—means your website is doing well. Your visitors click around your page, indicating that they’re interested in what you’re doing.
For example, let’s say you’re the proud owner of a brick-and-mortar shop called John’s Pet Supplies Store. You’ve had your eCommerce page set up for about six months now, and you’ve finally connected it to Google Analytics. Upon checking your most current numbers, you saw that your average website bounce rate is 42%.
Your page is an eCommerce site under the Pets & Animals category. Based on the numbers above, here’s how you’d assess your current bounce rate:
- Good as it’s within the bounce rate average rates for an eCommerce website ( 20% to 45%)
- Good as its’ lower than the bounce rate average for Pets & Animals websites (58.04%)
In summary, you can figure out whether your website has a good (low) or bad (high) bounce rate by comparing it against average rates by website type or industry.
WARNING: Don’t celebrate just yet when you see that your website’s average bounce rate is 10%. Suspiciously low (less than 20%) bounce rates are also a cause for alarm. If you see this kind of bounce rate for your website, it’s likely an inaccurate reading. Better open your web analytics tool and check whether it’s tracking your site’s activity properly just to be sure.
Editor's note: As with any test, you should consider if you have a large enough data set to draw conclusions. If your website is getting under a hundred visits a month, you probably should be worried about getting more traffic before stressing about the bounce rate! Your sample size here wouldn't be large enough to say with accuracy that you have a bounce rate problem.
Is a High Bounce Rate Bad?
We already know that having a low bounce rate (not the suspiciously low kind) is the gold standard. But what if your website’s bounce rate is higher than the benchmarks?
High bounce rates reflect trouble about your website. In short, high bounce rates are bad, especially if your goal is for people to go through your website far enough to hit the Checkout or Contact Us button at the end.
Bounce rates that exceed the normal averages can point to the following issues:
Little to no conversions
When most of those who visit your page bounce away, it means they didn’t go beyond that specific page. Further, it means your site wasn’t successful in encouraging visitors to click on internal links and dig deeper into your website. Should you let this go on, you can lose a lot of paying customers.
Low content relevance
High bounce rates also tell you something about the quality of your website’s content. If you notice that your bounce rates are getting higher and higher by the week, it could indicate that your current content is not relevant to your visitors. What you write about and how you write it on your landing pages may not be as convincing as you think it is. Worse, it may not be the kind of content your target audience is looking for!
One of the biggest contributors to high bounce rates is an unfriendly website design. It’s possible that people don’t click beyond the page they’ve landed on simply because they can’t find their way around your website. If visitors can’t find the Contact Us button on your navigation bar, they’ll click out and find another website with a more obvious contact form.
What Are the Benefits of Reducing Bounce Rate?
Based on the graph, you can see there is a definite correlation with a lower bounce rate increasing your chances of appearing on page 1 of Google SERPs.
Fixing your bounce rate means improving your website – it's a "one hand washes the other" situation where to lower your bounce rate, you need to:
- Speed up your website’s loading time
- Improve your website’s navigation and design
- Match your keywords with the content and user intent
- Improve mobile optimisation
These things in turn improve user experience, convert better, and will also help your site rank higher with SEO. It's a win-win.
Lowering your bounce rate doesn’t just make it easy for Google to rank you high on search results. Improved bounce rates also make it easier for your customers to interact with you online. This increases the chances of them clicking on the check out page of your site.
How Do I Reduce My Website's Bounce Rate?
Here are five actionable things you can do right now to improve your website’s bounce rate:
1. Use high-value keywords
One way to lower your website’s bounce rate is to optimise your content around high-value keywords.
Why? Before we answer that, let’s first define what high-value keywords are.
High-value keywords are those that don’t bring in massive amounts of traffic to your site. Their strength, however, lies in the quality of customers they bring to your page. You see, the customers that are lured by high-value keywords are those that are high-converting. In other words, they’re customers who are actually ready and willing to make a purchase.
Let’s go back to the John’s Pet Supplies Store example. We did a quick keyword research and ran pet supplies on the WordStream keyword tool, and here’s what we got:
Examples of high-value keywords related to pet supplies are (1) buy pet supplies online and (2) buy cheap pet supplies online. Notice how these two describe a customer’s intent to purchase? These are the kinds of keywords (aka transactional keywords) you should optimise your content for.
Now, back to the why? When you target people who are ready and willing to purchase your product, they’re more likely to interact with elements on your page. Let’s count the number of interactions your website will get when a high-converting customer lands on one of your web pages that are optimised for a high-converting keyword:
- Interaction #1: From the Products page, the customer clicks the “See Reviews” link
- Interaction #2: After reading the reviews, the customer clicks “Add To Cart”
- Interaction #3: Customer reviews their cart and hits the “Checkout” button
- Interaction #4: Customer inputs their payment details
- Interaction #5: Customer confirms their order
That’s a total of five interactions from one customer alone! All it really took is to target the right customers with the most appropriate, high-converting keyword.
2. Publish relevant and fresh web content
One of the best ways to keep your bounce rates at an optimal low is to keep your page up-to-date with fresh and relevant web content.
Updating your page to feature new content that your audience really wants to read about is a sure way to attract engaged customers.
Another way to keep your website fresh with content is by updating your company blog. Marketing Insider Group recommends publishing two to four new blog posts per week to drive the most website traffic and encourage conversions among your visitors.
As you can probably tell (since you're reading this!) we strive to keep the Ape-X Blog content updated with the latest in SEO, PPC and content tactics, tips and trends:
3. Write content that delivers on its promise
This tip sounds a little intimidating, but stick with us! We’ll discuss this with an example.
Let’s say you scroll through your Facebook feed and come across a post that offers a free eBook on cold calling:
When you click the Download button, you can expect two things. You’ll either:
- Download an eBook on cold calling straight to your files folder; or,
- Be redirected to a webpage where you’ll be asked to input some details before being sent the actual eBook, also known as a lead magnet.
Either way, you expect the eBook to provide exactly what the initial post promised—cold calling templates.
How bummed would you be if, upon clicking the post, you don’t get the eBook at all. Instead, you are redirected to the company’s About Us page. You’d quickly exit the page (which increases the site’s bounce rate) and think twice about clicking anything that the company posts on Facebook ever again, affecting brand perception.
Here’s another one—if you write an article entitled Top 10 Ways To Boost Your Social Media Engagements, your readers expect to read about this topic. Leading them to a random link, such as a page that tries to sell your social media management services, disrupts the user experience altogether. Think about it: they clicked the article because they’re looking for tips, not a service (not yet, at least!).
Hopefully, these two examples showed you just how important it is to create content that delivers on its promise. In technical terms, make sure your content matches your reader’s intent. This applies to everything you publish on your digital platforms—social media posts, blog updates, meta descriptions, you name it!
This doesn’t just apply to your article body though—this also includes the preview thumbnail for the link, the Page Title, Meta Description, and other content that tell your audience what to expect from the page. Make sure that you review your meta data, on-page content, and user experience to ensure that they are meeting the promised journey.
Simply put, don’t write clickbait-y content! It’ll get you website hits, but at the expense of higher bounce rates.
4. Format your content for readability
There’s nothing a website visitor hates more than website copy that’s an eyesore to read. If they don’t like how copy is formatted on the page, you can kiss those customers goodbye and say hello to bad bounce rates.
The best way to format your website copy is to use the right heading tags. Here’s a guide to how you can use heading tags for your website content:
- Title Tag: Use as page titles for your website (ex. About, Products, Contact, Blog)
- H1 and H2 Tags: Use as the most important headings for a webpage
- H3 and H4 Tags: Use as subheadings for items under H1 and H2 tags
5. Add compelling CTAs to your pages
One of the biggest mistakes people make to their websites is to leave their readers hanging. Leaving your customers with nowhere to go is a surefire way to get bad bounce rates. If they don’t know what to do next, they’ll do the one thing there is to do—press the X button on their browser.Get around this by adding relevant call-to-action (CTA) on your pages. Take a look at the yellow CTA button that’s front-and-centre on the Ape-X SEO and PPC Services homepage:
We start by asking a question most entrepreneurs will definitely say yes to—want to grow your business? Because seriously, what business owner would say no to that, right?
If we just left that heading on its own, the business owner looking at our page would probably be confused, wondering what to do next. But because there’s a Get Started CTA button right after that question, we’re able to tell that person what to do next.
6. Make external links open as new windows
The last actionable thing you can do to reduce your bounce rate is to make it easy for your visitors to see the external links you’re adding to your content.
From the visitor’s POV, clicking on an external link and having it open in the same window is taxing. They’re not only redirected away from the original page, but they now have the extra task of clicking the Back button.
What if they’re too lazy to click Back? This prompts a decrease in page views and adds to your high bounce rate.To keep this from happening, make sure that your external links open in a new window. You can do this when you’re inserting links into your content your site’s CMS:
On both WordPress and Shopify, adding links to anchor texts are set to open in the same window by default. Take the extra time to change this setting to open in a new window before hitting the publish button on your next blog post! It’ll take less than a second to do, and the benefits are worth it.
Need help reducing your website’s bounce rate? Look no further than Ape-X SEO and PPC Services! Schedule a call, and let’s talk about how to best optimise your website today.