What Is Bounce Rate? A Quick Primer

Illustration of computer mouse arrows bouncing off trampoline in front of a webpage.

Driving traffic to your website is one thing. Retaining that traffic is quite another. Your bounce rate is important because bounce rate tells you how much traffic going to your site does not leave quickly.

In other words, it is a measure of the traffic that you are retaining for any given webpage or marketing initiative.

In this article, I will cover common FAQs about bounce rate and what you can do to improve it.

What Is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is a metric in web analytics tools that measures the percentage of people who leave a webpage / the website quickly if not immediately after visiting it. This exit usually happens within seconds and represents people who do not visit any other page on the site from there.

Google’s official definition of a bounce rate is as follows:

“A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.

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.

These single-page sessions have a session duration of 0 seconds since there are no subsequent hits after the first one that would let Analytics calculate the length of the session.”

Some analytics tools may calculate bounce rate differently from one another, so it’s worth understanding how the analytics you are using defines and calculates your website’s bounce rate.

Why Is Bounce Rate Important to SEO?

If you have a higher-than-normal bounce rate on your site and its webpages, you are wasting opportunity and money.

As it relates to SEO in particular, SEO drives traffic to a website. What you are able to do with that traffic comes next. Bounce rate is an indicator that your website is either not providing a good user experience or not delivering on the intent of the search that brought a visitor there.

When your webpages and their content grab the visitor, give them what they want and then offer them more ways to engage with things they might like, you increase your chances of retaining that traffic and getting conversions.

To put bounce rate into perspective:

  • If the bounce rate is 80 percent, that means you retain 20 percent of your traffic to a webpage.
  • If the bounce rate is 70 percent, that means you retain 30 percent of your traffic to a webpage.
  • A 10% reduction in bounce rate could mean a 50% increase in conversions, so minimizing bounce rate is critical.

Related: It’s Not the Job of SEO to Make a Pig Fly

Bounce Rate vs. Exit Rate

Exit rate calculates the percentage of people that left a particular webpage after visiting more than one page a website.

For example, if someone visits the website on Webpage A and leaves right away, that would be considered a bounce. But, if someone views Webpage A, then goes to Webpage B and leaves the website on Webpage B, the exit rate would measure the people who left on Webpage B.

Webpage A > Exit = Bounce rate measured on Webpage A
Webpage A > Webpage B > Exit = Exit rate measured on Webpage B

Of course, it is slightly more complicated than this, and you can get into the details of how Google Analytics calculates exit rate versus bounce rate by checking out their explanation here.

What Is a Good Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate can vary by industry, channel, type of webpage/content, device and more. Industry research can give us averages, but each website will be different.

For example, data from CXL gives the following insights on bounce rate by website type:

Chart showing benchmark bounce rates by website type.
Source: “Bounce Rate Benchmarks: What’s a Good Bounce Rate, Anyway?,” CXL.com

By industry:

Chart showing benchmark bounce rate by industry.
Source: “Bounce Rate Benchmarks: What’s a Good Bounce Rate, Anyway?,” CXL.com

And by channel/industry:

Chart showing average benchmark bounce rates by channel.
Source: “Bounce Rate Benchmarks: What’s a Good Bounce Rate, Anyway?,” CXL.com

Rather than relying on industry data, though, get a benchmark of bounce rates on your website and then make incremental improvements to the pages to try and get the bounce rate lower.

In Google Analytics 4, you can drill down into the data to show bounce rate for different scenarios, which can be helpful for solving specific problems.

You’ll most likely need to customize each report to add the bounce rate metric. To do that, go to a report like Traffic Acquisition: Life cycle > Acquisition > Traffic Acquisition.

Click the “Customize report” icon in the upper right section.

Google Analytics 4 report icons.

Under Report Data, click Metrics. If you don’t see “Bounce rate” in the list, you can add it by scrolling down to the bottom of the list, clicking into the “Add metric” field and typing in “bounce rate.” Select the option, then click the blue Apply button to add it to your report.

Google Analytics 4 Metrics section.

Google Analytics 4 traffic acquisition report including bounce rate.

To see the bounce rate per source/medium pair, click the Session primary…Channel Group dropdown just below the search bar and select Session source/medium.

You can also see the bounce rate in your Audience report: User > User attributes > Audiences

Google Analytics 4 Audience report.

And you can check bounce rates for individual pages: Life cycle > Engagement > Pages and screens

Google Analytics 4 pages and screens report.

How to Improve Bounce Rate

The best way to improve the bounce rate of any given webpage is to start figuring out the possible causes of a high bounce rate. Each webpage will have a different set of circumstances.

You will need to look at the whole picture, analyze how people are getting to the page and what they are getting when they land on it. Analytics tools can give you more data on the webpage as available to help rule out other problems, for example, speed issues.

Other than that, study the content and the layout of the webpage — is it delivering on the intent of the place where the visitor came from (i.e. an email campaign, the organic search results, paid search, etc.)?

Is it offering a good and easy user experience? Can people easily complete a task or find what they are looking for?

You should also go through an SEO checklist to make sure the webpage is properly optimized in a way that keeps people on the page.

Are bounces affecting your conversions? Our SEO experts can help solve the problem. Schedule a free consultation today.

FAQ: What strategies can I implement to reduce the bounce rate and boost engagement on my webpages?

High bounce rates can lead to low engagement and lost opportunities. To help you overcome this challenge, here are some strategies to help you retain visitors and encourage them to actively engage with your content.

Compelling and Relevant Content: To keep visitors engaged, provide high-quality content that captivates their interest. Ensure your content is relevant, informative and engaging to increase the chances of users staying longer on your webpages.

Visual Appeal: Utilize visually appealing elements such as eye-catching images, videos, infographics and well-designed layouts. This will enhance the user experience and make your content more enticing.

Streamlined Website Design: A cluttered and confusing website can lead to high bounce rates. Optimize your website’s design to ensure it is user-friendly, intuitive and easy to navigate. Simplify your menus and incorporate clear calls-to-action.

Faster Load Times: Slow-loading pages can frustrate visitors and cause them to leave. Optimize your website’s speed by compressing images, minimizing plugins and using caching techniques. This will create a seamless browsing experience for your users.

Mobile-Friendly Design: With the majority of internet users accessing content on mobile devices, it is essential to have a responsive website design. Ensure your webpages are mobile-friendly and provide a seamless experience across different devices.

Enhance Readability
: Make your content easy to read by using clear headings, subheadings, bullet points and short paragraphs. Additionally, choose fonts and colors that are visually appealing and optimize text size for easy reading.

Internal Linking: Strategically add internal links within your content to guide users to related articles or pages on your website. This encourages them to explore more of your content, reducing bounce rates.

Engage with your Audience: Encourage comments, feedback and social media sharing to foster a sense of community and interaction. Respond promptly to comments and engage with your audience to build trust and encourage return visits.

These strategies will ensure users stay on your website, increasing the chances of converting them. Remember to monitor and analyze website metrics regularly to identify areas for improvement.

Step-by-Step Procedure:

  1. Create compelling and relevant content that captivates your audience’s interest.
  2. Utilize visually appealing elements like images, videos and infographics to enhance the user experience.
  3. Simplify your website’s design, making it easy for users to navigate.
  4. Optimize your website’s speed by compressing images, minimizing plugins and using caching techniques.
  5. Ensure your webpages are mobile-friendly and responsive.
  6. Use clear headings, subheadings, bullet points and short paragraphs for improved readability.
  7. Strategically add internal links to guide users to related content.
  8. Foster community engagement by encouraging comments, feedback and social media sharing.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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2 Replies to “What Is Bounce Rate? A Quick Primer”

Right, improving site performance, content quality, and calls to action can improve user engagement and lower bounce rates.

Bounce rate is an important seo metric because it measures how engaging your content is.


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