If you’re new to blogging you may not have come across this term… but it is important you understand what it is because it can tell you a lot about what your visitors think about you. I’ll describe what bounce rate means and explain how understanding it can help you improve the experience for your visitors.
What the Heck is it?
If you’re already a Google Analytics user, you’ll have no doubt seen the bounce rate metric…
Bounce rate represents the number of times people land on a page of your blog, who leave without taking any further action. Such action might be clicking a link to visit another page.
The act of leaving your blog is called a bounce. To calculate bounce rate you take the number of visits to single pages and divide it by the number of total overall visits.
You can see in the image above that bounce rate is a percentage.
So what does bounce rate tell us?
The bounce rate percentage basically indicates how engaged visitors are when then land on a page in your blog. The rationale being if they liked what they found, they’ll stay and interact with your blog by visiting another page.
Conversely they’ll leave directly from the page they first entered your blog if they’re not that engaged.
Hence a high percentage means lots of sessions ended as a one page visit. A low percentage means more sessions resulted in multiple page visits.
The idea is the lower the bounce percentage, the more engaged visitors are.
Is High-Bounce Bad?
Now there is some argument about bounce rate and whether a high percentage is bad. The answer is not straightforward and depends upon the type of page.
A high bounce rate is bad if you are using paid advertising where you have a clear commercial objective.
For example, you might pay to drive visitors to a certain page from which you expect to make a sale. In this scenario, if your bounce rate is high, your advertising is perhaps not working in the way you want.
High bounce might be less of a concern if someone lands on a page that answers a specific need, such as providing desired information. For example, someone searches for “what bounce rate means”, arrives on this page, feels satisfied and leaves!
It’s also less concerning if visits do not come from paid advertising where the requirement for sales is paramount.
Regardless, low bounce is always better because it means visitors are engaging in a more profound way with your content.
What is a Good Bounce Rate?
I’ve recall reading that average bounce rate for most websites is around 58%.
Of course there are huge variances within the average since bounces for certain niches / landing pages can be very different.
However, I’ve always kept this 58% figure in my mind as a rule of thumb.
Another rough rule of thumb for good through to bad bounce, is the following:
- Amazing: 26% to 40%.
- Average: 41% to 55%.
- Above average (but not in a good way!): 56% to 70%.
- Awful: 70% upwards.
A bounce rate of 26% to 40% is very good. It means the majority of visitors are highly engaged and visiting more than one page on each browsing session.
Bounce over 70% for many sites means most visitors are less engaged, leaving your blog having visited only one page.
A percentage score either below 20% or above 90% at first glance might seem clear cut. But such rates often suggest something unusual and could mean there’s a problem with your Google Analytics tracking.
Of course a percentage over 90% might also mean your blog is awful or you have a major problem with it, such as slow page load speeds.
Bounce Rate and SEO
There is a fairly long-standing belief that bounce rates affect search engine rankings.
Many respected online marketeers have questioned this. They cite it’s impossible to know from bounce rate alone whether a single page session on a site has satisfied visitor needs.
I also feel it wouldn’t make much sense for search engines to use this as a ranking signal on its own.
However, I couldn’t say for sure whether or not they use it combined with other metrics to make a call as to whether or not a search result has satisfied a searcher’s need. Drop me a comment at the end of this post to let me know if you know something for certain!
How to Reduce Bounce Rate
Regardless of whether it’s used as a signal for rankings, a low bounce rate is something we should all strive for.
So how can we achieve it?
- Decrease Page Load Speed
Page load speed is important. Now this IS a ranking factor for search engines, so your blog needs to load quickly. More importantly though, slow sites tend to lead to back button clicks. Visitors will not wait for your blog to load when there are thousands of others that load faster.
- Work On Usability
Is the text on your blog too small. Do you have lots of broken links or broken images? Is your blog design bad? These features can frustrate visitors and encourage them to bail.
- Publish High Quality Content
Make sure you only publish high quality content that truly engages visitors making them want to remain on your blog to read more.
- Format Your Text
Do you format your text at all? A screen full of text can be a downer to look at. Headlines, bold text, underlining, lists… these formatting devices highlight the most important points, break text up and make a text-heavy post easier on the eye.
- Add Images
As with formatting text, images help to break up your content in an appealing way and give visitors a chance to take a breath! Useful infographics can reinforce the discussion points of your blog posts. Both also present branding and sharing opportunities.
- Use Video
Like images, video can be an interesting way to break up your text and also provide a way to keep people on your posts and pages for a longer period… assuming they are relevant and useful!
- Include Attention Grabbing Links
Including an appealing link in your posts to other parts of your blog might tempt visitors to dig deeper into your blog, where they can find other high-quality nuggets!
- Remove Dates
This may seem a strange thing to do but there’s a view that concealing dates will deter people looking for time relevant content from bouncing away from you. I am conflicted on this at the moment although I get it. For instance, I consider most of my blog posts as evergreen content, for which the date they were published is irrelevant.
- Build Traffic From Low-Bounce Sources
It’s likely that certain channels (social media, organic traffic, paid advertising, etc.) result in lower or higher bounce rates than others. By focussing on the channels driving lower bounce rates and working to increase visitors from them, your average bounce rate across all channels will decrease.
- Display Your Credibility
Do you have endorsements from respected organizations / individuals? Trust is a big deal for most people, so your endorsements can be used as signals that you’re someone who knows what they’re talking about and can be relied upon. Such signals may help to keep people on your blog.
Thanks for visiting!
If you’d like to add anything to this discussion on bounce rate, please leave a comment below.