How to Improve Bounce Rate, Measure & Analyze

What is bounce rate hero image


Bounce rate, a crucial website metric, measures single-page sessions against total site sessions. It reflects the percentage of visits where users view only one page, signaling potential site issues. This article delves into measuring, analyzing, and enhancing bounce rate, offering insights for website optimization.

You probably already know that bounce rate can be too high, but did you know that it can also be too low?

Bounce rate is one of the most misunderstood metrics in web analytics.

This article will explore this metric, what to expect from it, and when you need to make it a priority. We'll also look at specific strategies to improve your bounce rate.

Let’s get started.

What is Bounce Rate?

Before we discuss bounce rate, let’s make sure we’re clear about what “bounce” means in web analytics: A bounce is a single-page session on a website. In other words, when someone visits your website, only views a single page, and then leaves, Google Analytics counts that visit as a bounce.

Here's the official definition of bounce rate:

Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.

For example, let’s say that there were a total of 100 sessions on your homepage, 75 of which were single-page sessions. What is the bounce rate of your homepage? In this case, 75% of people who visited it bounced after a single session, so the bounce rate is 75%.

The bounce rate formula has changed since the launch of GA4, but the overarching concepts remain the same.

Why Is Bounce Rate Important?

Now let’s talk about why you should care about this metric.

To put it simply, a high site-wide bounce rate usually indicates that there’s an issue with your entire website. In particular, a high bounce rate can indicate that:

  • People are put off by the design of your website

  • The content doesn’t meet the visitor’s expectations

  • The offer on your website just isn’t that great

Bounce rate is one of the factors that Google uses to determine a website's rank. A high bounce rate means people are not finding what they are looking for on your client’s website. Because Google’s algorithm constantly adjusts to present the right content to the right audience, a high bounce rate can negatively impact SEO rankings.

However, it should be noted that a high bounce rate is not always a warning sign. There are certain industries and websites where a high bounce rate is inevitable and shouldn’t be seen as a cause for concern.

That said, unless your website falls into that category (more on this later), a high bounce rate should prompt you to analyze the page, identify the cause of the problem, and figure out how to fix it.

Bounce Rate vs. Exit Rate

You may also be familiar with another web analytics metric: exit rate.

It’s easy to mix up bounce rate and exit rate, although these are separate metrics, so it’s important to understand the difference between them:

  • Bounce rate shows what percentage of people who landed on a page exited the website after only a single-page session (bounce rate = total single-page sessions / total sessions).

  • Exit rate shows what percentage of people who visited a page exited the website (exit rate = total exits from page/total pageviews for that page).

So if someone lands on your homepage, then closes the browser, that counts as a bounce that will add to the bounce rate of your homepage.

Meanwhile, if someone lands on your homepage, clicks through to your About page, and then closes the browser, this won’t count as a bounce on either page, but it will add to the exit rate of your About page.

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How Do You Determine When Bounce Rate Is Bad?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors, including the type of website, the industry, and the specific goals of the website. However, some general guidelines can be used to determine when the bounce rate is bad.

For example, if the average bounce rate for websites in your industry is 40% and your website has a bounce rate of 60%, then this may be cause for concern. Similarly, if you have set specific goals for your website (e.g., generating leads) and your bounce rate is high compared to other similar websites, then this could also indicate that something is wrong.

How to Check Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

Let’s now review step-by-step where you can find the bounce rate for your website in Google Analytics:

1. Go to Google Analytics Home

2. Click Audience Overview (you can adjust the period)

google analytics dashboard

3. You’ll see the bounce rate below the graph.

As we mentioned earlier, your website’s bounce rate alone won’t always give you a complete picture.

Read more on how to check and track bounce rate in Google Analytics 4.

What is a Good Bounce Rate?

What is a good bounce rate? What is a bad bounce rate? Is a lower bounce rate always better and a higher bounce rate always worse?

To answer these questions, let’s look at a few statistics.

Jay Peyton from RocketFuel attempted to answer these questions by analyzing a sample of 60 websites, in particular:

  • The domains were picked at random.

  • The data covered a period of about a year.

  • The websites varied wildly in terms of traffic, with some getting only a few thousand unique visitors and others over a million.

“Most websites will see bounce rates fall somewhere between 26% and 70%,” explains Jay. “The average bounce rate for the websites in my sample set was 49%.”

bounce rate chart

Image source - GoRocketFuel

According to Jay, as a rule of thumb:

  • A bounce rate of 26% - 40% is considered excellent.

  • 41% to 55% is roughly average.

  • 56% to 70% is above average but may not be a cause for concern depending on the website.

  • 70%+ is disappointing, with exceptions for blogs, news, and events

Jay also reminds us that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. When a bounce rate is under 20%, it’s probably because analytics aren’t working properly. Even a 20-25% bounce rate calls for inspection.

The first question to ask is - are you sure that everything is set up correctly?

Now, this clearly wasn’t intended to be a rigorous scientific study since the sample is quite small, so there may be selection bias at play, amongst other things.

That being said, Jay’s research provides a rough idea of what to expect when it comes to bounce rate, and it’s also nice to have thresholds for serious concerns.

As mentioned, you also need to consider the type of website as the average bounce rates will likely differ based on that. These are the benchmark averages for the most common types of websites:

bounce rate chart

Image Source

The data in the image does seem quite intuitive when you think about it.

For example, ecommerce shoppers generally want to explore multiple product pages at an online store. Hence, they’re likely to click around more and use site search functionality, which explains the lower average bounce rate for this type of website.

If someone is searching for information on a particular topic and lands on an in-depth blog post, they may find all the information they need in a single place. Although they could spend 2-10 minutes on that page, which indicates high user engagement, they may leave the site when they are done reading. This is why blogs tend to have a higher bounce rate. 

Meanwhile, someone who finds themselves on a landing page either clicks on the call-to-action button or leaves. If you know anything about landing page conversion rates, you also know that most people leave without converting.

So you would be setting yourself up for disappointment if you expected a landing page or a blog post to have a 50% bounce rate. Instead, use these benchmark bounce rates to be more realistic.

It’s also important to note that the average bounce rate varies depending on the industry.

For example, as ConversionXL pointed out:

“The difference in benchmark bounce rate between the food & drink industry and the real estate industry is more than 20%.”.

bounce rate chart by industry

So when you look at your bounce rate, a few things to consider include:

  • The lower and upper thresholds can be cause for concern (i.e., below 20% and above 70% bounce rate).

  • The type of the website (i.e., eCommerce sites vs. blogs)

  • The industry that you’re in

That way, you’ll be able to set reasonable expectations, evaluate the current situation, and determine the best way to improve it.

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How to Reduce a High Bounce Rate

Okay, so you concluded that your bounce rate metric is unacceptable, and you’ve started to track this SEO KPI for your client. Now let’s discuss a few strategies that can help reduce it.

1. Use Google Analytics To Analyze Your Site's Bounce Rate

One of the first steps is to tap into Google Analytics to analyze a site's bounce rate. You can compare the bounce rates of various web pages to see if some are functioning better than others. Once you've determined where there is room for improvement, make the necessary changes and then continue to check back on your client’s digital marketing analytics to ensure the changes are having a positive effect.

AgencyAnalytics integrates with Google Analytics so you can monitor your bounce rate efficiently alongside other Google Analytics metrics:

bounce rate analytics

2. Use A/B Testing

After you've determined your client’s bounce rate, you'll most likely want to utilize A/B testing when integrating some of the tips below so you can compare how each strategy performs. For example, you can A/B test things like different keywords, various landing page designs, different CTAs, and so on.

A/B testing will make it easy to see what's working and what isn't, as it allows you to serve each version of your client’s website to a segment of their visitors. This helps you determine which page is more effective. And again, you should always go back to Google Analytics to track your bounce rate, so you have definitive numbers to back up your tests.

3. Increase Page Load Speed

Backlinko’s team analyzed 5.2 million web pages to learn more about page load speed.

According to the study, a web page's average page loading speed is 10.3 seconds on desktop and 27.4 seconds on mobile devices.

desktop and mobile page speed

Image Source

Meanwhile, Google analyzed 11 million mobile ads’ landing pages from 213 countries. This study found that load time has a significant impact on bounce rates.

page load times

Remember Backlinko’s research? 10.3 seconds on desktop and 27.4 seconds on mobile is terrible. Instead, you want your website to be as fast as possible.

So what’s one of the easiest ways to improve your page load speed? Compress the images.

According to Google’s research:

“Simply compressing images and text can be a game changer — 25% of pages could save more than 250KB and 10% can save more than 1MB that way.”

If you want to use a tool to help with this, check out TinyJPG for .jpeg and .png images.

You can also do more technical things (minifying HTML, CSS, and Javascript, reducing redirects, etc.). While we won’t cover them all in this article, you can check out Moz’s Page Speed article if you want to learn more.

Google PageSpeed Insights is an extremely easy-to-use tool that can help show you what needs improvement in terms of page speed to optimize all your pages and make sure they load in a timely manner.

pagespeed insight score

Lighthouse is also another tool by Google that can help you with this on-page optimization.

4. Improve Your Web Design

Now, once your website loads, the visitor will make a snap judgment about it based on its design.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that it looks modern, clean, and professional. Plus, the design needs to meet the expectations of your target audience and resonate with them.

Moreover, you need to make sure that your website looks great on all devices, including smartphones, tablets, and desktops. If you want to test your website on mobile, check out the free tool called mobiReady.

However, it’s not enough to have a pretty website; it also has to be easy to use. In other words, you need to consider user experience as well as aesthetics.

Also, keep in mind that a poor user experience with annoying elements like popups, autoplay videos, and sound effects might all be contributing to your bounce rate and, ultimately, your conversion metrics.

5. Improve Readability

Let’s be real; reading on screens for long periods isn’t pleasant.

There’s the eye strain, the need to keep scrolling, not to mention all the distractions.

That’s why publishing text online comes with its own set of best practices:

  • Subheadlines: Divide the text into sections. Each section should have its subheadline.

  • Paragraphs: As a rule of thumb, keep them short at 1-3 lines long.

  • Bullet points: Use them whenever you’re listing something.

  • Font size: 16px minimum, but 18px is probably better.

  • Images: In general, you want to add 3-4 images for every 1000 words.

People tend to skim when reading on screens, which is why you should break up the text as much as possible. This is especially important for those who fall into the trap of writing long-form content for the sole purpose of hitting a specific word count target for SEO.

Also, you want the text to be simple since the simpler the text, the easier it is to read. Shorten the sentences, remove flowery language, and avoid industry jargon.

One great tool you can use is the Hemingway App to gauge the reading level required to understand the text.

6. Get Better Traffic

All traffic is not created equal.

Take a look at these statistics:

bounce rates by channel

Social media is fun, but the click-through traffic from it is notoriously fickle. If it is your main traffic source, you may want to work on building your email list and increasing your search engine traffic.

There’s one potential pitfall with search engine traffic, though. You may have a high bounce rate because people want an answer to a specific question and leave right after they get it. Good for them, not so good for your bounce rate.

When that’s the case, it makes sense to work on converting search engine traffic to email subscribers. One way you can do this is by offering content upgrades.

7. Make it Immediately Clear What Your Website is About

When new visitors land on your website, it should be immediately clear to them what it is that you are offering.

If the visitor is confused, they certainly won’t click around or won’t scroll very far to figure it out; they will simply leave.

So make sure that you place the most important information above the fold and that your copy is clear.

8. Meet People’s Expectations

You need to deliver on what you promised if you want people to stick around.

And you did promise something...maybe it was in an ad, maybe it was in the title and an excerpt on a search engine, or an email newsletter. Somehow you got them interested enough to visit your website.

Now it’s time to deliver.

Analyze your site content. Does it match the ad copy? Does it match the search intent for the keywords you are targeting? Is this what your subscribers expected when they clicked that CTA in your email?

You can trick people into clicking through, but once they realize they have been tricked, they’ll press the back button immediately. It’s better to just give them what they want.

9. Use Videos and Images To Engage Your Audience

Instead of resorting to annoying popups, consider incorporating videos and images into your website pages to attract your audience and convince them to stick around. After all, nobody likes being confronted by an overwhelming wall of text.

Videos are powerful and extremely effective and can be added to any page to grab the attention of website visitors. By keeping users engaged, you increase the chances that they will take another action on the site, thereby improving the bounce rate. 

There are a few different ways you can go about doing this. First, you can embed videos directly onto your website. This is a great way to keep visitors on your site longer and give them something interesting and engaging to watch.

Another way to use videos to improve a website's bounce rate is to post them on social media. This is a great way to get more people to your client’s site and to keep them engaged once they're there. 

Images can also be a powerful tool, as long as they're high quality. No one is going to be impressed by a grainy image, so if you're going to use photos, make sure you choose quality ones and place them in optimal spaces on your site.

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10. Include Clear CTAs and Consider Their Placement

If your site doesn't have compelling call-to-actions (CTAs), that's another area that you should work on improving. CTAs should engage users and compel them to take action, for example, clicking on a link, signing up for a newsletter, or sharing on social media. Make sure the text or button is visually appealing and links to something that customers will want to click on, such as a related post or a free trial of your product.

You should also consider the placement of your CTAs. If you feel like they're engaging but you're not getting the desired response, they may simply be in the wrong place. Most users will decide to stay on or leave a website within a few seconds, which means they're likely not going to go searching the page for a CTA. It should be immediately visible to users to entice them to click through.

Consider this example from Evernote—the call to action appears immediately on their homepage, and the text is clear and compelling:

Evernote signup button

One exception to this rule could include blog posts, as you may want to engage the user first with compelling content rather than throwing a CTA in their face right away. They may not be ready to take any next steps within the first few seconds. 

11. Avoid Using Pop-ups

Do you like to be inundated with popups when you visit a website? Probably not, and neither do others. They annoy visitors and compel them to leave your client’s site, thereby increasing your bounce rate. Some marketers will swear by their effectiveness, but you will often find that there are better ways to engage your audience.

According to Neil Patel, only 4% of consumers will consider responding to a popup ad, compared to 51% who respond positively to email offers. Those statistics are enough to convince most people that popups aren't an effective strategy and should be avoided whenever possible.

However, if you must use a popup, use exit popups instead, and customize each page with its own intent popups. After all, if they were about to leave anyway, there’s little chance it will negatively impact the bounce rate. 

You can do this by analyzing where they are coming from, what they are looking for, and what they do when they get to your site. Once you know this information, you can create targeted content that will keep them on your site longer. 

12. Optimize Your Linking Structure

If you want to improve your website's bounce rate, one of the best things you can do is optimize your internal linking structure. By making sure that your links are easy to find and relevant to the page they're on, you can keep visitors engaged with your site and reduce the number of people who leave after only viewing one page.

Here Are a Few Tips for Optimizing Internal Linking Structure: 

  • Use descriptive anchor text. The text that appears when someone hovers over a link is called anchor text. Using descriptive anchor text (e.g., "Click here for more information about our product.") helps visitors understand what they'll find if they click the link.

  • When creating internal links, it’s important to use relevant anchor text (the clickable text within a hyperlink) that accurately describes the target page.

  • Make sure links are relevant and add value for the user. Don't link for the sake of it - only add links that will be useful for your visitors.

  • Use keyword-rich anchor text, so users know what they're clicking on. This will also help with SEO.

  • Try to use natural language rather than just listing out keywords - this will make your site more user-friendly and easier to navigate.

Another way to help improve your bounce rate is to set external links to open in new windows. This way, people will still be able to view your site even if they click on a link that takes them away from your client’s site. 

How To Write Content That Improves Bounce Rates

Bounce Rates by Content Type

While the above bounce rate tips can help improve your existing content, it’s time to reflect back on your content strategy to determine if you need to revise it to improve the bounce rate.

Here are a few content types that can help engage your client’s visitors to stay longer.

Free Tools

If you can offer something useful to your customers for free, this will build a relationship with them and encourage them to make a purchase with you in the future. It also provides you with a chance to demonstrate that you’re an authority in your field and that you genuinely know what you’re doing.

To provide you with some inspiration, let’s look at some companies already implementing this strategy very well.

For instance, FreshBooks is an accounting software provider, and they offer a series of free invoice templates that their target customers—freelancers and small business owners—are sure to benefit from. By offering these templates for free, they can build trust with their target audience and encourage them to sign up for their software program in the future. Plus, this is the type of content that’s sure to get the company plenty of website clicks

Similarly, Uplift Legal Funding, a legal loan provider, has a lawsuit loan calculator. This can help prospective clients determine how much it will cost them to take out a loan to fight a legal case. Of course, this is relevant to the company’s services, but it also provides a lot of value for people who might be looking to take out this type of loan. So, it’s a piece of interactive content that can attract a lot of clicks, leads, and customers for the company. 

How-to Guides

How-to guides are another great form of high-performing content. If you can demonstrate your knowledge on a relevant topic in your industry, consider compiling it into a how-to guide. Not only will this be genuinely helpful for your target audience, but it can help you target relevant keywords, that satisfy search intent, and attract people that might want to use your services. 

For example, we have a how-to guide to improving your Google Ad optimization checklist. The guide covers just about everything someone would want to know about Google Ads, whether you’re an expert or a beginner. 

The guide covers keyword research, on-page SEO, how to avoid penalties, and more. Showing off his knowledge and expertise in this written tutorial can attract a lot of relevant web traffic, ultimately leading to more sales for the business.

Blog Posts That Answer Customer Questions

Answering customer questions with your blog content is a great way to attract them to your website and show that you understand their concerns or pain points. To start, check in with your customer service team and find out if there are any questions they get frequently. Creating content based on these queries will not only boost your SEO and attract more site visitors, but it can also save your customer service team time in the long run.

You can also conduct some question keyword research in order to find out what your customers are asking search engines. Head to Answer the Public and plug in some search terms related to your niche. The tool will provide you with various questions people are searching for, and you can use these to direct your content.

For example, the dog walking website Rover focuses on answering customer questions in their blog content like their article that answers whether daffodils are poisonous to dogs. Since their target audience consists of dog walkers and pet owners, this is a very relevant piece of content. This can help boost their SEO and build a sense of trust between the company and its readers. It’s also sure to generate a lot of clicks for the website.

Data storytelling is also a great way to take unique information, insights, and data points that only your company has and present it in a way that would be of interest to the target customer.

Comparison Pieces

Comparison pieces are ideal for helping your customers to make more informed purchases, and they can also help to attract the right people to your client’s website.

In a comparison piece, you should outline several similar products, services, or tools your audience might consider investing in. You can then compare all of the pros, cons, and features so a reader will have all of the information they need to make the right decision.

This type of content is great for getting more people to your website, as it will catch people in the consideration or decision stages of the buying journey. Plus, this type of content shows that you truly have your customers’ best interests at heart and helps to earn their trust.

For example, Best Nursing Programs is a website that focuses on helping aspiring healthcare professionals to take the next step in their education. So, they publish a wide range of comparison pieces to assist with this—their round-up of the best accelerated BSN nursing programs in the US is a fantastic one. 

They discuss the program lengths, costs, graduation rates, and more associated with each course. In doing so, they’ve created a high-quality piece of content that provides a huge amount of value for their target audience and will likely attract a lot of visitors.

Consider whether you could create similar content for your website. Are there similar products or services your audience might be looking at? Compare them to assist your prospective customers in making the best decision. 

As well as creating the right types of content, you also need to ensure that you’re promoting it properly. To start, social media is one of the most effective tools for content sharing. Additionally, most of these platforms have built-in tools that give you even more data on what your most popular posts are. Collecting and analyzing this data can help you to ensure you’re developing the best content strategy possible. 

If you do decide to go down the localized route, there are a number of strategies you can use. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective. 

Create Location-Specific Web Pages

If your business has a number of physical locations, it’s often worth creating an individual web page for each. These should include specific information about each store, such as the opening hours, the services they provide, which team members work there, and how people can reach you. 

For instance, Bay Property Management Group is a real estate company with a variety of different offices, and they have a location page for each of them. On their page for their Baltimore County location, the company gives specific information about the office’s hours, fees, and more.

They even have a carousel of reviews that are tailored to the staff and services at this specific location. This type of social proof shows the viewer that their local Bay Property Management Group office is trustworthy and helpful.

If you have physical locations or discover that a lot of your customers are based in a particular area, it could be worth using a similar technique on your website. 

Publish Local Content

Publishing content that’s relevant to the area you serve can also be a great way to boost your local SEO and attract more of your ideal customers. Depending on the type of business your clients run, you could create round-ups of local stores, guides about the surrounding area, and more. If they’re actually active in the local community, you could even create content about events or charity initiatives you’ve been involved with. 

For example, Tillamook, a dairy company in the Pacific Northwest, has published a blog post all about a local food drive they attended. In their article, they discuss their sponsorship of the KGW Newschannel 8 Great Food Drive and how they were able to help collect over 2 million pounds of food.

This type of content shows that Tillamook cares about its community and wants to help make it a better place to live in. This builds a relationship with prospective customers in the area, which can lead to more sales in the future. Consider whether this is an approach you could take, too.

Target Local Keywords

If you have a lot of customers or clients in one area, it might also be worth targeting local keywords in your content and website copy. If you run a hair salon in Washington, for instance, targeting the key phrase “hair salon in Seattle” could help you reach more of your customers through search engines.

For inspiration, let’s look at an example from Redmann Law, a law firm based in New Orleans. They’ve successfully targeted a whole host of local keywords on their New Orleans car accident lawyer service page and are reaping the rewards as a result.

According to Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, the webpage currently ranks on the first page of Google for 58 keywords that contain the phrase “New Orleans.” These keywords have a collective monthly search volume of 3,300, so that’s how many people this page could reach each month through local Google search results. 

If you’re trying to reach more customers in a specific area, it’s worth taking a leaf out of Redmann Law’s book and targeting local keywords in this way. Study how they’ve naturally woven these into their copy, from their headline to the end of their service page’s body copy. Using a similar tactic could help you to reach your ideal audience. And you can use a comprehensive SEO report template or local SEO report template to track and report on your progress. 

Summary: Bounce Rate

As we’ve discussed in this article, a high bounce rate isn’t always a bad thing. Realistically, it is generally a sign that there’s an issue with your website, which means that it’s your job to uncover and fix it.

When it comes to improving your bounce rate, keep it simple. Can you make your website faster, more aesthetically pleasing, and more readable? That would almost certainly reduce your bounce rate. Start with these three things, and you should be on the right track.

Jay Kang

Written by

Jay Kang

Jay Kang is an SEO Expert with over 9 years of experience crafting powerful content strategies, driving keyword optimization programs, and delivering significant organic growth.

Read more posts by Jay Kang ›

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