Whether you are a Google Analytics pro or novice, there is one metric that can cause some confusion. Bounce rate can be a challenging metric to understand, and an even more challenging metric to change or improve. Compared to conversions, pages per session, session duration, and new vs returning visitors, the bounce rate can be a seemingly sporadic and volatile metric from week to week.
What Is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate refers to how many sessions begin on a page on your website and end without interacting with anything on your website. This means that the user did not click on any links, visit other pages, or stay on the website and sometimes immediately left your website to return to search. Bounce rate is measured in percentage, and is often in the 25% to 70% range. Generally speaking, bounce rates below 25% or above 70% indicate an issue with your tracking code or third party tracking. However, in some cases, these extreme bounce rates can be possible if your website has lower month to month traffic. But if your report shows a 0% or 100% bounce rate, this almost always indicates an issue with your tracking and not your website.
What Causes High Bounce Rate?
There are many causes of high bounce rate, some obvious and some less obvious. The only way to tell what is negatively impacting your website is to try and fix some common issues that raise the bounce rate.
- Speed issues: Slow website load speeds can cause a significant increase in bouncing. Although in some cases a user’s wifi network may be the reason they bounce on your website, having a quick loading site can limit bounce rate. There are many ways to improve website speed.
- Lack of Pages: If your website is a single page or only a few pages it is likely you will have a high bounce rate. To prevent this, break content into multiple pages and interlink the pages.
- Content Issues: Sometimes your content can be too good. If your content is self-sufficient and answers the user’s question they may not feel encouraged to interact or click to more pages on your site. This is why it is important to check the bounce rates in the All Pages report. Find pages that are the worst offenders, and if some of them have high traffic and high bounce rate, consider adding more internal links and relevant calls to action.
- 404 errors: If your website has multiple pages that cause 404s, due to missing redirects or other issues, it will cause a higher bounce rate. It is not difficult to quickly detect and fix 404 errors on your website.
- Misleading Content: If your page title or meta description is misleading or keyword stuffing, it is likely that users will bounce off your site. Also if links to your site have misleading anchor text, it can cause confusion for users. For instance, if a page on window repair services is linked to with the anchor text “roofing repair” it may cause the user to immediately leave your website.
Bounce rate is a good thermometer for how well your website and specific pages encourage users to interact with your brand and indicate reasons your conversions may not be increasing. Although it can be challening, working on bounce rate issues can help strengthen your website and bring more business to your company. Learn more about website improvements from our monthly SEO blog.