A Guide to Understanding What Bounce Rate is & How to Lower it

According to Google, bounce rate is a website metric indicative of the percentage of sessions in which people leave your site after interacting with the entrance page. Most often, when you own a website, you want visitors to somehow “convert” either by clicking through to buy something, fill out a form or read more. If your website has a high bounce rate, this could mean one of three things:

  • Either your website has design and/or usability issues
  • Or you are attracting the wrong kind of traffic
  • Or you attracting exactly the right kind of traffic and users are finding the information they need on the entrance page itself and ergo have no reason to click through to the other pages of your website


In truth, a number of factors can contribute to a high bounce rate. These include:

1. Your website has only one page

If your website only has one page, analytics software such as Google Analytics do not register multiple page views unless the page is reloaded several times. Consequently, it’s not uncommon for single-page sites to acquire high bounce rates.

2. Your web tracking code setup is not working

For a multiple-page site, a high bounce rate could be indicative that the Google Analytics tracking code on your website has not been implemented correctly. To make sure you are collecting data, you will need to review the set up.

3. Site design

If all your website pages bear the tracking code and your site’s bounce rate is still high, the problem could lie in the design of your website. A few things to consider include:

  • Redesigning your landing pages
  • Optimizing the pages so they attract the right kind of visitors
  • Changing your target keywords around to better reflect page content
  • And optimizing your website with a fresh and unending stream of quality content

4. User behavior

Last but not the least, sometimes a high bounce rate has nothing to do with your website and everything to do with user behavior. For example, if a user bookmarks a page of your website and returns to it several times over the next couple of weeks, each session is considered a bounce.

How to improve your bounce rate

Because both the design of your website and its Google Analytics set up can have an impact on your bounce rate, improving this website metric is contingent upon making certain very specific changes that will be as individual as your business itself. The key to success is to analyze specific data and consequently adjust factors that are contributing to your bounce rate. To name a few:

1. Attract the right kinds of visitors

To reduce a website’s bounce rate, a valuable approach is to optimize the pages so they correlate better with search terms. The process starts with choosing the right keywords to target and maintaining top rankings up the SERPs for those keywords. Also consider creating multiple landing pages, each with unique content created around a branded term and aimed at different types of visitors.

2. Enhance usability

Another consideration is your website’s usability. Make your website as appealing to users as possible by paying attention to good color contrasts and using larger fonts, larger headlines, sensible organization, bulleted lists and lots of white space.

3. Use a good website layout

Your website layout is also important. In particular, it should have the following properties:

  • A quick navigation
  • An easy to find search bar
  • Content arranged in sections
  • And a responsive layout compatible with multiple browsers and platforms

4. Provide fresh, unique and quality content

And last but not the least, to improve your bounce rate, consider providing content tailored to intended visitors.

  • The content should have an obvious message
  • Use clear headlines and subheads
  • Use stylish images to compliment your copy
  • Include obvious links to other relevant pages of your site
  • Include a clear call to action and links to the next steps

In summary, for any website, bounce rate is an important metric. A number of factors can contribute to a high percentage of single-page visitors, including user behavior. To assess and evaluate your bounce rate, there is no rule set in stone. The best approach is to benchmark the percentage against your own historical performance and goals. Generally, a bounce rate of 40-60% for content websites is normal while blogs have a bounce rate benchmark average of 70-98%, landing pages 70-90%, retail sites 20-40% and service sites 10-30%.

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