What Is Bounce Rate? How to Calculate and Improve Your Rate

Bounce rate can affect website traffic and how well you convert visitors into customers. But what is bounce rate, and how can it impact your business’s success? 

This blog post will walk you through exactly what bounce rate is, why it matters, and tips for reducing it so that more visitors are exposed to your website content and products. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Bounce rate is a metric used in web analytic tools like Google Analytics to measure the percentage of visitors who visit a single page of a site before “bouncing.”
  • A website bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by the total number of visits to that website. High bounce rates indicate users are not engaging with content due to its design or quality, which can be detrimental to ad revenue and sales.
  • Bounce rates vary from site to site depending on factors such as content or user experience, so it is important to consider industry benchmarks when evaluating results.
  • Causes for high bounce rates include slow load times, poor website design, irrelevant/low-quality content, and unsatisfactory user experience.
  • Ways to lower your bounce rate include making sure your website works well on mobile devices; creating easy-to-read site content; satisfying reader’s search intent; choosing relevant keywords; and improving site speed.
what is bounce rate

What Does Bounce Rate Mean?

Bounce rate is the number of users who click on your website, look at a single page, and then leave. It’s a metric used in web analytics to measure the percentage of visitors who visit only one page on a website before “bouncing.”

It’s calculated by dividing the total number of single-page visits by the total number of visits to that website. High bounce rates indicate that users aren’t engaging with the majority of your content due to the content itself or your site’s design, which means you can be losing out on ad revenue or product sales — as well as just missing out on more people seeing your site content. 

Conversely, a low bounce rate can indicate an attractive and successful website with quality content that makes visitors want to view more than one page. Bounce rates can vary from site to site depending on factors such as content or user experience, so it is important to consider relevant industry benchmarks when evaluating your own results.

Additionally, it is important to consider other metrics, such as time on page and pages visited per session, to get an accurate picture of how your audience interacts with your website.

How to Discover Your Bounce Rate

Now that you know what bounce rate is and understand that a high percentage can be detrimental to a website’s success, let’s work out how to find your bounce rate.

Bounce Rate Formula

Bounce rate is calculated by taking the number of single-page visits and dividing it by the total number of visits to a website. However, we generally want to establish bounce rate as a percentage. The following formula will allow you to do that:

Number of single page visits ÷ number of total visits ✕ 100 = bounce rate %

Google Analytics (GA) simpflies this process by providing a bounce rate report tool. GA also records single-page sessions as having a session time of zero, which can help you identify these visits.

What Is the Average Bounce Rate?

A website’s bounce rate varies based on its industry. According to data from Customedia Labs, some average bounce rate ranges are as follows:

  • E-commerce and retail: 20%–45%
  • B2B websites: 25%–55%
  • Non e-commerce content: 35%–60%
  • Dictionaries, websites about events, blogs, and portals: 65%–90%
  • Landing pages: 60%–90%
  • Lead-generation websites: 30%–55%

What Is a High Bounce Rate?

Again, what constitutes a high bounce rate varies depending on the industry your web page falls under and depends on what you consider the average bounce rate to be. It’s generally agreed that if a website’s bounce rate is higher than 70%, it’s cause for concern.

Why Do People Bounce From Websites?

bounce rates

Having visitors to your website bounce frequently can indicate something isn’t quite right with the experience they’re getting from your web pages. Let’s take a look at some of the possible causes of a high bounce rate that is leading to single-page sessions.

Slow Load Times

Slow load times are a killer for visitor interaction and a major cause of high bounce rates. A study by Deloitte on mobile website loading times found that an improvement in loading time of just 0.1 seconds led to an almost 10% increase in customer engagement and interaction.

It’s not just for mobile sites, of course — we’ve all tutted impatiently as a desktop browser struggles to load the next page. Slower load times are frustrating, and they risk dampening visitor interest quickly. Work on improving your page load time to improve your site-wide bounce rate, as well as single-page bounce rates.

Poor Website Design

When was the last time you opened a website and thought, “This clearly hasn’t changed since the early 2000s”? What did you do once you had that thought? If you’re like many people, you probably didn’t stick around. 

Poor website design can make or break visitor retention. After all, nobody will hang around if your website is difficult to navigate or if the design doesn’t inspire trust. This is particularly true for commercial websites. A poorly designed and obsolete website aesthetic is likely to drive the average consumer away after a single-page session.

Irrelevant or Low-Quality Content

Suppose you’re searching for something in particular and click on a website that purportedly offers it but you don’t find the information there. In that case, you’re going to be annoyed and navigate away immediately. This is called not satisfying search intent, and it can lead to single-page sessions and a high bounce rate.

Similarly: If everything that exists on a particular website is copy-pasted material from various other pages on the internet, it’s going to be quite obvious that the site isn’t offering anything new or particularly useful. Users will also quickly get turned off by unnecessary, poorly written, or low-quality content designed for search engines (aka keyword stuffing) not humans. The classic recipe blog complaint of “Why is there a life story before this recipe?” comes to mind.

Craft high-quality content that is easy to read to help reduce your bounce rate and turn those single-page sessions into multiple pages per visit.

Unsatisfactory User Experience

If web visitors can’t find what they’re looking for on your site, they’ll probably click away in frustration and find it on your competitor’s site instead. To combat this issue, design your website’s navigation and menu interfaces to be user-friendly and intuitive.

Similarly, ensuring all of your links are up-to-date will mean users are much more likely to form a positive opinion of your website and stay longer. Obtrusive pop-up windows are another pet peeve of many internet users. There’s nothing more annoying than having to close a pop-up before you can continue engaging with a web page. This is even more noticeable on mobile devices, as pop-ups tend to obscure the majority of the screen. 

Consider all of these factors when looking at ways to lower your bounce rate. Use Google Analytics to view the bounce rate metric of individual pages to come up with a list of improvements.

How to Lower Your Bounce Rate

With careful planning and execution, you can lower your website’s bounce rate and keep visitors coming back for more. Learn various methods of reducing website bounce rates below to optimize your site for maximum engagement.

Make Sure Your Website Works Well on Mobile

With around 67% of the world’s population owning a smartphone, mobile traffic to your website is incredibly important. You can’t just cater to desktop users; you must also consider people with smaller screens and devices with poorer processing capacities.

Improving mobile load times by just 0.1 seconds can markedly increase visitor retention. However, there are other things you need to consider to ensure that your website or landing page works well on mobile. Does your text display well on a mobile device, or is the font too small and the columns too squished? Is it easy to find the menu bar or is it hidden to the side? Does your web page even fit on a smaller screen?

Use adaptive design for your website and landing pages so they’re legible on screens of all common sizes — this is key to ensuring the mobile user experience is the best it can be.

Create Easy-to-Read Site Content

If visitors are coming to your website to find out certain things, that information should not be difficult to read. Making content easy to read means optimizing it for readers. Easy-to-read content means you’re using an appropriate choice of words for your target audience, including simple language rather than overly complex jargon, if that’s what works for your readers. Write in short paragraphs of three to four lines maximum, and keep it free of grammar or spelling mistakes.

Visually, easy-to-read content means you’re presenting text in a readable font and clear colors. For example, don’t use yellow text on a white background or vice versa — make sure your text contrasts well with the background of your web page. It’s often a good idea to avoid complicated backgrounds behind the text as they can obscure the writing or distract the reader.

You’ll also want to include relevant internal links to encourage readers to stay on your site for longer. If you have a single-page site or landing page, you can include links to your main website as well.

Satisfy the Reader’s Search Intent

Visitors to your website who are searching for a particular topic show up expecting content about that topic. If they don’t find that content, they’re going to leave your website or landing page pretty quickly. Ensuring you’re answering your readers’ questions is incredibly important for delivering a great website experience. Doing so will likely improve your bounce rates and SEO performance too.

Choose the Correct Keywords

This is closely related to satisfying a reader’s search intent. If your web page is ranking highly for certain keywords, you should be covering those keywords and semantically related phrases within your content. However, ensuring that the keywords you’re including and ranking for are relevant to the article’s content will mean visitors find what they’re looking for and stay longer as a result.

If you find you have a high bounce rate because you’re attracting the wrong audience, it could be that you’re using the wrong keywords. Conduct an audit to determine if your keywords’ organic search results are relevant and correct for who you’re targeting.

Focus on User Experience

A web page should be optimized for the reader first — not for advertising. Remember that there’ll be no interest in (or revenue from) your web page if users can’t even browse it due to poor website design choices.

Use a Heat Map

Heat maps can tell you where on your site or at what point on a page you lose readers. Maybe they struggled with the site navigation and immediately bounced. Or maybe they read the introduction to your article and thought the content was low quality, so they left. Looking at these factors can help you improve your bounce rate and overall website experience.

Improve Site Speed

Load times are a crucial component of user satisfaction. Here are some tips to improve your site speed:

Compress Images

Compressing your images results in a website with faster load times. Use a site like TinyPNG to reduce file sizes without affecting quality before uploading images to your site.

Use a Fast Hosting Provider

Not all hosting providers are created equal. Choose a web host that delivers the best response times for your available budget. Consider switching providers if needed.

Remove Unused Plugins and Scripts

Use it or lose it. If you have unused plugins and scripts bogging down your site’s pages, it could be affecting load time. Regularly audit your site and remove anything unnecessary to improve its speed.

Why Bounce Rate Can Be a Misleading Metric

bounce rate

While the bounce rate metric does provide insight into how users interact with websites, it can be misleading if not interpreted properly. This is due to factors such as differences in user behavior, technical issues, and other metrics that provide more accurate insights into how visitors use sites.

To understand user engagement accurately, it is important to consider bounce rate alongside other metrics like unique page views, time on page, and conversion rates. Ultimately, bounce rate alone can be an incomplete metric for assessing user engagement and should be analyzed in conjunction with other data points for a full picture of website performance.

Multiple Factors Are at Play

An immediate reaction when we see that a website has a high bounce rate is likely something along the lines of, “Well, the content must not be very good.” That’s not necessarily the case. The content might be great, but irrelevant to the searches that the website is showing up in the results for. Alternatively, the high bounces could also be caused by poor navigation experiences, an excessive amount of ads, and many other potential factors. As a result, diagnosing the exact cause can be quite difficult.

Fails to Capture Certain User Behaviors

Another problem with using the bounce rate as an indicator of website success is that it fails to capture certain types of user behaviors that could be beneficial or detrimental, depending on what kind of action you would like them to take while on your site.

For example, consider a visitor who spends several minutes viewing videos embedded in your web pages — while these kinds of activities are often beneficial for engagement, they won’t show up in your bounce rate since there was no “action” taken beyond simply watching videos. Additionally, there may be instances where visitors enter and immediately leave due to slow loading times or other technical issues, but their bounces won’t necessarily reflect their true level of interest and engagement with the content on display.

Bounce Rate vs. Exit Rate

Exit rate and bounce rate are two commonly used metrics to measure website performance. While closely related, they have different definitions and represent different aspects of user activity. Exit rate measures the percentage of users who leave the website after viewing any number of pages, while bounce rate measures how many visitors leave a page without visiting any other pages on the website.

By analyzing these metrics over time and using various tools, such as Google Analytics, heat maps, and user recordings, you can gain valuable insights into user behavior on your site and make changes to improve it accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Good Bounce Rate?

What constitutes a good bounce rate depends on the industry or topic of your website. Typically, the lower the bounce rate, the better. Aiming for a bounce rate that’s below 70% is a good place to start.

What Does a 100% Bounce Rate Mean?

A 100% bounce rate means that every visitor who interacts with your website only looks at one web page before leaving. If you have a 100% bounce rate, it’s quite likely you only have one web page or very few visitors. It’s also possible that the web page responsible for the 100% bounce rate has very poor content or design.

Is Bounce Rate a Google Ranking Factor?

This is a divisive topic online. Although bounce rate seems like something that would be used as a ranking factor, Google has stated that they don’t use it as a metric. However, many disagree with this assessment and have attempted independent studies as to whether the metric affects rankings. Ultimately, it’s smart to make improvements to your site and content to improve user experience regardless.

Wrapping Up

Bounce rate is an important metric for website owners to understand to measure the effectiveness of their website and its content. A high bounce rate can indicate that the content on the website is not engaging enough or relevant to the visitor’s needs, while a low bounce rate suggests that visitors are finding what they are looking for and sticking around.

Now that you know what bounce rate is, you can use this metric to your advantage. By understanding this metric and responding accordingly, website owners can ensure they provide a better user experience and increase their chances of achieving their goals.