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What is bounce rate?

Learn why it is important keep an eye on your bounce rate in Google Analytics

Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who land on your website and leave it without buying anything from your online shop or otherwise interacting with your content. It’s the online equivalent of when you walk into a brick-and-mortar store, take a quick look around the shelves, and walk straight out again before the store owner even has time to ask if you need help.

Bounce rate is an important concept to know if you run a business with an online presence. In this article, we’ll go over why you should keep an eye on your bounce rate in Google Analytics, and then look at what you can do to improve it.

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Why does bounce rate matter?

Your bounce rate gives you valuable insight into how your visitors react to the content you have on your website. A high bounce rate may indicate that visitors who land on your website don’t find what they’re looking for. It can also give you a hint that there are one or more things on the page that should be improved or changed. By keeping an eye on your bounce rate, you can more easily identify any problems and implement improvements that can help you create a good user experience.

What is a good bounce rate?

To pinpoint what a good bounce rate is, you will need to first consider a few factors, like the industry, the type of website, and a company’s specific goals. If you prefer to have a concrete figure to work with, as a rule of thumb you can say that a good bounce rate is somewhere under 40%. Here, however, you should remember that the bounce rate will always vary for the individual pages on your website. Therefore, it is crucial that you focus on the most important pages of your website when working to improve your bounce rate. But where is it most important to have a good bounce rate? We look at this in more detail in the section below.

Where on your site does the bounce rate matter the most?

As we touched on in the section above, your bounce rate will always vary from page to page on your website. It is of course most important that your bounce rate is good on pages where you benefit most from your visitors interacting with the content. Typical examples are blog posts, landing pages and product categories, as these are often the spots where your visitors get their first impression of your company.

By analysing the bounce rate on the individual pages, you can more easily pinpoint where you should improve the content, the user experience or your CTAs (call to action). The goal, of course, is for the content on the most important pages to whet the appetite of your visitors, so they click on and discover all the great things you can offer them.

Bounce rate and SEO

According to Google, your bounce rate does not affect your website’s ranking in search results. Whether or not this is actually the case is widely debated among SEO experts, but even if we assume that Google is right, a high bounce rate can still point to problems that will affect SEO. If a large percentage of your users disappear without interacting with the content on your website, it could be because: 

• The page they land on loads too slowly 

• The keywords do not match the content 

• Your website is not mobile friendly 

Imagine that you have an online shop where you sell clothes. You have a collection of clothes with a strawberry pattern. For this reason, you have given the collection the name “Strawberry jam.” This may mean that some of the users who land on your website were in fact looking for strawberry jam – that is, the edible kind that can be spread on bread. It is a simplified example, but it illustrates how the choice of keywords can affect both bounce rate and SEO. The user does not find what they are looking for and therefore leaves the page, increasing your bounce rate. You are getting the wrong traffic on your website, worsening your SEO. 

In addition, both loading speed and mobile friendliness are factors that play a role when Google assigns rankings in search results. 

So even if the bounce rate does not directly affect your website’s ranking, it still makes good sense to keep an eye on it in an SEO context. 

How to find your bounce rate in Google Analytics

To see and measure your bounce rate, you need Google Analytics. Bounce rate is usually not included by default in Google Analytics reports. Therefore, you will likely need to manually customise the report before you can see the bounce rate. You can customise the report as follows:

  1. Log in to Google Analytics
  1. Select reports in the menu on the left
  1. Go to the report you want to customise, e.g. Pages and screens
  2. Click Customise Report at the top right of the report
  3. Click on Metrics under Report data
  4. Click on Add metric (at the bottom of the menu on the right)
  5. Write “Bounce rate”. (If this is not displayed, it is already included in the report)
  6. Click Apply
  7. Save the changes.

How bounce rates are calculated

Calculating bounce rate is simple. The formula is:

Bounce rate = 100% − engagement rate

Imagine you have 10 visitors to your website (of course you have more, but we love simple calculations). 7 of these visitors took an action on your website. This gives an engagement rate of 70% and a bounce rate of 30%. This shows that 30% of your visitors only spent a moment on your website before continuing their journey through the digital jungle. But remember the rule of thumb from earlier – a rejection rate of less than 40% is generally a good rejection rate.

How to improve your bounce rate

Improving your bounce rate is basically about capturing the attention of your visitors, giving them a good user experience, and making it attractive for them to spend time with your content. Therefore, the path to a better bounce rate is also an opportunity to improve the overall user experience on your website. This can be done in several different ways.

Ensure fast loading

Load time is mentioned in many of our articles, for very good reasons. Studies show that approximately 53% of mobile users who visit a website leave it again if the loading time is longer than 3 seconds. Therefore, a longer load time equals a higher bounce rate and a significant reduction in your chances of conversion.

To improve the loading time on your website, you could use a CDN, compress your image files, and reduce the size of CSS, HTML and JavaScript code. Our Website Builder, included in all hosting packages at one.com, automatically optimises the content on your website so that it loads quickly on both desktop and mobile.

Improve your site’s navigation and design

Make sure your website’s design is clear, tidy, and user-friendly. If you have a webshop, you should organise your products in logical categories and subcategories, and add filtering options so that your users can easily form an overview of the selection in your shop.

Many users prefer a website with a simple and clean design without distracting elements. Therefore, consider whether there are images or text on your pages that distract users from the most important elements of the page. Longer texts should be avoided on important pages where your goal is for the customer to perform an action. If you would like to convey a lot of exciting information to your users, you can advantageously do so on a blog, on social media and in your newsletter.

Create good content

The content on your website must have value for your users. For example, if you have an online shop, you should make sure that your product descriptions are detailed, contain good keywords and highlight all the most important advantages of your products and services. You can also display positive reviews or video content with case stories from happy customers as social proof that can help you strengthen your brand trust.

Build internal links

By building internal links on your website, you can direct your users to other content that may be of interest to them. If you can get a user to click through from one page to another, you have already captured their attention and are well on your way to a reduced bounce rate.

Keep making improvements

Once you have implemented improvements and experienced that it has affected the bounce rate in a positive direction, it can be tempting to sit back and rest on your laurels. Of course, it is not necessary that you constantly make new adjustments to the page, but you should keep an eye on your bounce rate in Google Analytics. The digital landscape is constantly evolving. Customers have new expectations, you have new competitors, new products and content types, trends, new mobile devices are coming, etc., etc. In other words, it is crucial that you regularly analyse your website’s performance to increase your chances of growth and success.

Boost conversion with an improved bounce rate

Beyond ensuring a good user experience, the improvements you make to get a lower bounce rate also have a direct impact on your conversion rate. By making your visitors want to spend longer on your website, you increase the chances that they will buy what you’re offering.

This is precisely why it pays to keep an eye on the rejection rate. A company capable of growth is a company that has its finger on the pulse of the digital landscape. The bounce rate is one of the signals you need to monitor to get a better understanding of your target group and your potential customers.

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