Does a “High” Bounce Rate Negatively Affect My Website?

In Google Analytics, the bounce rate of a website is defined as the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave or “bounce” rather than continuing on to view other pages within a site. Many people assume that if a website’s bounce rate is above a certain percentage, the site is performing negatively, however, this is not always the case.

It is extremely important to analyze site metrics, including bounce rate, on a case-by-case basis to determine if the website is performing well. For example, the entrance page of a website may have what appears to be a very high bounce rate when compared to another page within the site. This variation may be because the entrance page satisfies most searchers’ queries without requiring them to go further into the website. An example of this situation would be if a user was searching for the phone number of a restaurant. Typically, the restaurant would have their phone number listed on the entrance page to their site, and that would not require this user to go further into the site.

Here are some guidelines to help ensure that your bounce rate accurately depicts the traffic on your website:

  • Measure and improve the conversion rates of meaningful actions on the site – Setting up tracking for the meaningful actions related to the organization’s goals for the website and working to increase the conversion rates for those goals often reduces the bounce rates as well.
  • Test more prominent links to important pages and more calls to action – Adding more calls to action or prominent links to pages are great ways to persuade people to click on other pages in the website, which decreases the bounce rate.
  • Set up site phone call tracking – If a large percentage of visitors to an entrance page take some action that is not being measured by the analytics system, such as calling a phone number that appears on the page, their visit will trigger a bounce if the session ends without them navigating further into the site. It is possible to make a phone number “click to call” which is able to be tracked using Google Analytics. You can follow these steps to make a phone number “click to call”.
  • Set up event tracking for email addresses – Google Analytics Event Tracking is able to be set up for email addresses that appear on web pages. If a person clicks on an email address that is being tracked as an Event, the visit will not be counted as a bounce and therefore, will not hurt your bounce rate.
  • Be careful of offsite links – By putting links to other websites on your entrance pages, the likeliness that a person will stay on your page decreases because the links can cause people to click off your site without going further. Doing so increases your bounce rate.
  • Check page load speeds – If your page is slow-loading it may be possible that users are getting frustrated waiting. This may cause a percentage of people to leave your site and trigger a bounce if no further navigation was made.
  • Check the user experience from mobile devices – Survey the user experience of your entrance pages from a wide variety of mobile devices and make sure your site is easily navigated.

If you still feel as though the bounce rate on your site is too high, you can follow these web design tips to help reduce your bounce rate.

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