Website bounce rate – How high is too high?

If you’ve spent any time at all looking around in your website analytics, you’ve noticed something called the “Bounce Rate.”  If there is only one number that you could pay attention to, this is the one.  This simple performance indicator provides powerful insight into what is and isn’t working on your website.  In order to receive the full insights that this measure can provide into how well your website is really working, there are a couple of things that you must know.  Let’s take a quick look at 3 ways to use the bounce rate to give insight into what’s really happening on your website.

What is the bounce rate?What's your website bounce rate?

A bounce is calculated as a single-page view or single-event trigger in a session or visit.

The following situations qualify as bounces:

  • A user clicks on a link deep into your site sent by a friend, reads the information on the page, and closes the browser.
  • A user comes to your home page, looks around for a minute or two, and immediately leaves.
  • A user comes directly to a reference page on your site from a web search, leaves the page available in the browser while completing other tasks in other browser windows and the session times out.

To view the bounce rates for your website, go to the Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.  The Bounce Rate will be shown in a column to the right for all the pages on your website.

Real Insights from Bounce Rates

For most websites in the US, the average bounce rate is between 40% – 60% for the entire site.  Looking at the site-wide average bounce rate for your site is too vague to be actionable.  Your primary goal in looking at website analytics information is to be able to take action – increase what is working well and decrease, or change what isn’t.

Bounce Rates for Blogs

Blogs, by definition, have high bounce rates – by high I mean that among repeat visitors, your bounce rate may be 70%-90%.  This is what happens when a long time visitor comes to your site to read your latest blog post and then leaves.  This is not a bad thing.  For new visitors to your blog, your hope is that they will stay a while and read some of your other posts.  To see the extent to which this is happening and to determine if you need to make changes to encourage this behavior, view the bounce rate for new visitors to your blog.  If the new visitor bounce rate is high for your blog, you need to take action to encourage new visitors to read other blog posts.  Cross linking your articles to other articles on your site is one strategy that helps new visitors spend more time on your website.

Bounce Rates by Source of Traffic

Viewing the bounce rates for your top sources of traffic provides insight into where your high quality traffic and low quality traffic are coming from.  When you see that you’re receiving low bounce-rate traffic to your website, you want to figure how to increase this.

Bounce Rates by Keyword

Viewing the bounce rates for your keywords lets you know exactly which keywords you should be targeting in your marketing, your Search Engine (SEO), and your Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns.  Keywords that have high bounce rates are keywords that you shouldn’t be wasting your time or money on because people searching those phrases aren’t sticking around on your website.

Bounce Rates by Landing Pages

The bounce rates for the landing pages on your website let you know which of your landing pages are working well and which ones need work.

With the custom reports feature in Google Analytics, you can create custom reports that display the bounce rates that we’ve looked at today.  Bounce rate reports can provide tremendous insights into how well your website is really working and help you know exactly where you need to spend some time improving things.  Taking some time to study your low bounce rates will help you understand what’s really working well so that you can build upon your successes.

  • Stormer Hosting May 11, 2016, 12:36 pm

    Great article Charles! Appreciate the tips!

  • Laura May 11, 2016, 1:13 pm

    Such great insights…….I just started using cross links as you suggest……..can’t wait to see how it improves. Now onto bounce rates for landing pages to see what to start improving next. Thanks, Charles ~ you be the best!

    • Charles Ogwyn May 11, 2016, 5:15 pm

      Thanks Laura. You’re gonna love what cross links do for your site.

  • Annabel Collins May 12, 2016, 9:50 pm

    Thanks for the tips on various bounce rates Mr. Ogwyn. You live and learn.

    • Charles Ogwyn May 13, 2016, 9:09 am

      Thanks Annabel

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