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: How can I improve my website’s bounce rate and increase conversions?

Improving your website’s bounce rate and increasing conversions is critical for driving online success. Here are some strategies you can implement to engage visitors, reduce bounce rates and convert them into customers.

Optimizing Website Speed: A slow-loading website can significantly impact bounce rates. Regularly evaluate and optimize your site’s speed to ensure a smooth user experience.

Enhancing User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX): Create a visually appealing and intuitive website design that effectively guides visitors through the conversion process.

Implementing Clear Call-to-Actions (CTAs): Place persuasive and compelling CTAs strategically across your website, prompting visitors to take desired actions.

Streamlining Navigation: Simplify your website’s navigation structure to make it easy for visitors to find relevant information and explore further.

Improving Content Quality: Craft high-quality and engaging content, tailored to your target audience’s needs and preferences, to keep them engaged and encourage conversions.

Implementing A/B Testing: Continuously test different variations of elements on your website, including headlines, CTAs, and layouts, to identify the best-performing options.

Enhancing Mobile Responsiveness: Optimize your website for mobile devices, as an increasing number of users browse the internet on smartphones and tablets.

Personalizing User Experience: Leverage data and user behavior analysis to personalize the website experience, offering tailored recommendations and content.

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 Guide: How to Improve Your Website’s Bounce Rate and Increase Conversions

1. Analyze website speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or Gtmetrix.
2. Optimize images and enable browser caching to improve loading speed.
3. Use professional website templates with intuitive UI/UX designs.
4. Conduct user surveys or interviews to understand pain points and optimize website design accordingly.
5. Incorporate clear and concise CTAs throughout your website.
6. A/B test different CTAs and monitor their performance using tools like Google Optimize.
7. Simplify navigation by using clear menus and a logical site structure.
8. Ensure your content is informative, well-written and relatable to your target audience.
9. Conduct keyword research to incorporate relevant keywords naturally into your content.
10. Utilize heatmaps and user feedback tools to identify areas of improvement on your website.
11. Optimize your website for mobile devices by using responsive design.
12. Create personalized user experiences by leveraging customer data and segmentation.
13. Implement exit-intent popups or offers to capture visitors who are about to leave your site.
14. Utilize retargeting campaigns to re-engage visitors who didn’t convert on their initial visit.
15. Regularly monitor and analyze website analytics to track improvements and identify further optimization opportunities.
16. Continuously update and improve your website based on user feedback and evolving industry trends.

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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