What is bounce rate in SEO? How to reduce your bounce rate

Bounce rate is an important metric to monitor when it comes to website performance. Why? Because it’s a measure of how often visitors leave your site without completing any action. If your bounce rate is high, that means your website is not converting visitors into customers as quickly as you would like. And that’s not good news – because customers are the lifeblood of your business.

Additionally, digital marketers and webmasters should monitor the bounce rate of a site as it can provide valuable insights to other underlying issues. Whereas, a high bounce rate may have nothing to do with the quality of content a website has, but instead be a result of technical SEO issues.

In this article, we will explore what a bounce rate is, how to calculate it, and some ways you can reduce the bounce rate of your website.

Table of Contents

What is bounce rate in SEO?

Bounce rate is the percentage of visits to a website that result in a user leaving without viewing a second page, clicking any links or engaging with any other elements on a site. 

Generally speaking, a higher bounce rate means that more visitors are leaving your site without engaging with it. This can be problematic because it means that you’re not providing them with the information or content they were looking for. It can also mean that your website isn’t easy to use or navigate, which could dissuade potential customers from visiting it in the first place.

There are a few things you can do to reduce your bounce rate. For example, make sure your website is well designed and user-friendly. Also, make sure the content is relevant and helpful to your visitors. And lastly, make sure you offer enough useful links and resources so that users can find what they’re looking for on your website easily.

Does a high bounce rate hurt SEO?

A high bounce rate on a website can definitely hurt your search engine optimization (SEO). It shows that the site is not engaging or useful, and it may cause people to lose interest in finding information about it. This could lead to decreased traffic and decreased conversions, which can significantly affect your business.

That being said, bounce rate is not a direct ranking factor for Google’s algorithm. However, a high bounce rate will send a negative signal to Google about your content which could end up hurting your website’s SEO performance.

Why is bounce rate important for websites?

Bounce rate is important for websites because it determines how many people visit your website and leave without doing anything. If your bounce rate is high, this means that a lot of people are visiting your website but not clicking on any of the links or leaving any comments. This can lead to lower rankings for your website in search engine results pages (SERPs), as well as lost potential customers.

A high bounce rate can also indicate that your website is not optimized for search engine optimization (SEO). If people are browsing through your site but quickly leaving without clicking on any links or buying anything, then you won’t be ranking well on Google or any other search engine. You need to make sure that your website content is attractive and easy to find, and that it’s properly optimized for SEO so that you’ll be able to rank higher in the search engines.

Finally, if your bounce rate stays high over time, it may mean that you have an issue with user engagement – which could mean trouble down the line when it comes to conserving resources or making money from ads. If you want to keep your business running smoothly and avoid any problems down the line, make sure you take measures to reduce your bounce rate as soon as possible.

How to calculate bounce rate?

Bounce rate is calculated by totaling up the number of one-page visitors and then dividing the number by the total number of visitors a website has in a certain period of time. For example, if a landing page receives 2,000 visitors during a month, and 1000 visitors exit the website after only seeing the landing page and no other page, then the landing page’s bounce rate is 50%.

Bounce rate calculation example:

Number of visitors / number of bounced visitors = bounce rate

2000 visitors / 1000 number of bounced visitors = 50% bounce rate

Website bounce rate vs exit rate

Website bounce rate and exit rate are similar in regards to website engagement. However, there are small differences between the two. Whereas, bounce rate is responsible for measuring the number of visitors who enter a website and then exit without viewing any other page. On the other hand, exit rate measures the number of visitors who exit the website from a particular website page.

The big difference between bounce rate and exit rate is that exit rate measures the percentage of page visitors who exit from a particular website, without clarifying if that was the only page visited or not. Thus, all bounces are defined as exits (as well as one-page visitors), but, not all exits will be defined as bounces.

For example, if 200 visitors land on the services page, and a total of 100 visitors leave without engaging or entering any other pages, then the particular page’s bounce rate is 50%. However, on the other hand, the services page may receive 500 total pageviews over the same month, with 100 of them leaving from the service page. In that scenario, the exit rate would be 20%.

What is a good website bounce rate?

There is no hard fast ‘good’ bounce rate. With more than four billion web pages on the entire internet, it is difficult to commit a general percentage for this metric. One reason for this, is that there is too vast of a difference between website types, target audiences, industries and competition.

It is difficult to define a ‘good’ bounce rate as it is subjective to the type of page the visitor lands on. Whereas, a blog post that provides the exact answer that a search engine user is searching for, the page could have upwards of a 90% bounce rate. The rate, however may not be a bad bounce rate, as it is attracting organic traffic and provides them exactly what they were looking for and then they exited the website. On the other hand, a page that has a bounce rate that is much lower, may not be good, if it is producing other negative results, such as poor user experience.

HubSpot has compiled a benchmark of bounce rates by industry as a rough guideline that shows the average bounce rate for various website industries. We recommend that you only use these to gauge your page’s performance and not as a hard fast rule. For reference we have included some of these benchmarks below:

IndustryAverage bounce rate
Content Websites40% – 60% 
Lead Generation Websites 30% — 50%
Blog Posts70% — 90%
Retail / E-Commerce Websites20% — 40%
Service Websites10% — 30%
Average bounce rate per industry

Why is my bounce rate so high?

Having a high bounce rate could be a result of multiple factors, including issues related to content, on-page SEO and technical SEO. To dive a little deeper into why a bounce rate could be high, we have made a list of some of the most common issues:

1. Bad site architecture and navigation:

Your site’s architecture and navigation are likely causing users to get lost and frustrated. Poor design can also lead to slow page load times, which can frustrate visitors even more.

2. Slow site and page load speed:

If your site isn’t loading quickly, it’s likely because it’s packed with ads or crammed full of content. This will prevent users from finding what they’re looking for and eventually leading them to leave your site.

3. Misleading title tag and/or meta description: 

If your title tag or meta description doesn’t accurately describe what your page is about, then users may be misled into thinking that it’s not relevant to their interests or needs. This could lead to them clicking on the wrong links or leaving your site altogether without ever visiting it.

4. The page isn’t mobile-friendly:

Websites that are designed poorly aren’t always easily adaptable for mobile devices, which can frustrate users who want to access your content on the go. If you have any plans to expand your reach into new markets, make sure you cater specifically for mobile devices!

How to reduce bounce rate?

If you want to increase conversion rates, you will need to keep visitors on your website. This means reducing your bounce rate across your website. There are a number of ways to do this, including on-page SEO, off-page and technical SEO factors.

We have compiled a list of the top seven ways to reduce your website’s bounce rate.

1. Analytics:

A way to reduce a web pages bounce rate is by further refining how the overall metric is being measured. For example, Google analytics and other analytics software, counts visitors as someone that ‘bounces’ no matter the amount of time they have spent on the page, or the number of things they interacted with, if they leave before visiting any other page. 

One solution for this is to use Google Analytics to develop virtual pageviews to monitor relevant events and to use the data to create a more refined definition of bounce rate for your website. An example of this is for any interactive page you have, you can track what items a visitor interacts with and have Google Analytics generate a virtual pageview for you to track the interactions better. By doing this you can understand exactly how many people, and how they engage with your page, and prevent these visitors from being counted in your bounce rate metric if they meet a certain criteria.

By using analytics you can determine and segregate the different types of traffic sources to better understand the bounce rate and how to improve each page for the metric. A user that arrives at your website from an organic search engine query, may find the content insightful and useful, and in turn result in a lower overall bounce rate for the page as you have better defined the page’s bounce rate and better conversion rates.

2. Content strategy

A way to increase the engagement of your website’s is to identify and determine which content your visitors are needing and searching for, ie. pages that receive the most traffic organically. After you know which content to develop by using web analytics, you can design your website so it displays your content that has the best engagement above the fold. An example of this would be an ecommerce website that places all its top selling items at the top of the page for people to see first. This is effective because the decision to place these items above the fold is driven by data, showing that people often engage with these items and even buy them the most. Remember a best practice is to include titles, images and short descriptions for your content in order to increase the click through rate (CTR).

Another thing to consider when looking to lower your bounce rate is, if a lot of your traffic is coming from returning visitors, you will want to update your content frequently. Repeat visitors will want to see new content that is fresh. They do not want to see old content that is outdated. 

3. Optimize page load time:

One of the most important things you can do to reduce your bounce rate is to optimize your page load time. This will ensure that visitors have a smooth and uninterrupted experience when visiting your website. You can achieve this by using technologies like Google PageSpeed Insights or WebPageTest (both free tools), as well as other third-party SEO auditing tools.

4. Ensure your website mobile friendly:

Another key factor in reducing bounce rates is ensuring that your website is mobile friendly. This means making sure that all of the content on your website works well on smartphones and other mobile devices. To test how well your site looks on different devices, use Google’s Mobile Friendly Index or one of the many mobile testing services available online. 

It’s also important to focus on internal links. These are links from other pages on your website that lead back to the pages that you want people to see the most. By optimizing these links, you’ll increase the chances that people will find what they’re looking for. Internal links will help keep visitors on your website as you will be presenting them with other relevant content that can further their understanding of the topic they are researching.

6. Website design and usability

Another technique is to ensure that you have an attractive design and great user experience/usability. These will make it easier for visitors to engage with your website. If it is difficult to navigate and find information they are looking for, they are more likely to leave your site. This technique could include improving the quality and relevance of photos and infographics, using a good color scheme with high contrast, and even changing the font and font size to make it easier to read and digest quickly.

Sites should be designed in a fashion that allows users to quickly locate what they are searching for and arrive at a desired destination easily and with only a few clicks. One way navigation can be streamlined is through the addition of a search bar for your site. It can increase engagement and lower your bounce rate as people can easily search for the exact information, service or product they are looking for. Additionally, any menus that are used for navigation should have a clear hierarchical structure so people can understand them more easily.

Responsive web design

A responsive website design can also contribute to reducing your overall bounce rate, especially from mobile devices. With mobile devices being one of the main devices people search for, it is essential that your website looks perfect on them as well. If the design is off, or images and other media is not displayed right, people may lose interest and believe your site is untrustworthy and end up leaving for one of your competitors. To avoid these issues from the start you can use templates that are responsive, robust and adaptive.

An essential usability fix which can assist in lowering your bounce rate is the page load time. It has been shown that users will likely exit a page if it takes more than a few seconds to load. You can use a variety of tools to test the load speed of your website across all devices. There are also many free tools that will provide you with information and some advice on how to solve the slow load times.

One final suggestion to increase usability would be to remove pop-ups and any data heavy elements you have on your site. With faster load times, and less ads and pop-ups to click through, you can reduce your bounce rate. A good way to test new features and designs would be to engage in A/B testing. By testing and evaluating the data from these tests, you can more confidently make changes to your site to reduce the bounce rate.

7. Understand where your visitors are coming from

It also may be a good idea to compare the bounce rate of individual pages and channels (organic, referral, direct, paid, social media). By doing this, you can gather information about whether there are issues with your various streams of traffic sources. By identifying the source you can dive into it and understand the issues related to those marketing funnels.

For example, if a visitor arrives at your site via an ad, but ends up frequently bouncing, you can look at the ad and figure out if it needs to be redefined to more accurately display what your website is offering. Additionally, you can develop individual landing pages for each of the individual marketing campaigns that you are running, so it directly relates to the ad itself. The landing page should also have a clear call to action on it to further push visitors into your sales funnel. These steps can drastically help you reduce the bounce rate you have with each of the traffic sources.

In conclusion, by ensuring that your highest search keywords directly relate to the content they are pointing out, you can have an easier time reducing the bounce rate from your organic search traffic. This also includes other traffic sources as people will quickly judge and determine if your site is trustworthy, and has the capacity to provide them with the information, service or product they are looking for. If the page doesn’t directly provide what they are looking for, your website will continue to struggle with higher bounce rates.

Key takeaways:

Bounce rate is important to monitor and track on your website. It can provide valuable information regarding the overall SEO and content performance of your content marketing efforts. Whereas, a high bounce rate can negatively impact your conversion rate, as well as send negative signals to Google regarding your website. Which can negatively impact your overall SEO performance resulting in a decrease in rankings.

To understand what is a good or bad bounce rate, it is essential to look at your specific industry and see how you compare to other sites. If you do see that you need to improve, then take a look at our top 7 ways to improve your low bounce rate. By checking Google Analytics, you can identify pages with high bounce rates and optimize them accordingly.

If you are not sure how to reduce your bounce rate and optimize your website, you can contact us for help! Clear Door SEO, an SEO company in Portland has been helping website’s across different industries to lower their bounce rate. We use SEO best practices to ensure your site is performing well!

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