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What is your website's bounce rate telling you?

Graphic illustrating bounce rate

When analyzing the effectiveness of your website, there are many metrics you can use to get a picture of which aspects of the site are working and which aspects are not working quite as well. One metric that can be very insightful is bounce rate.

What is Bounce Rate?

According to Google, bounce rate is defined as “the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server”. In layman's terms, this means that someone ended up on a page of your website and did not click any links to go to another page of your website.

Should I Be Concerned about a High Bounce Rate?

A high bounce rate is not necessarily always a bad thing. If you have a one-page website, you are going to have a high bounce rate because there is nowhere else to go on the site. There are also cases where you may be trying to promote traffic to a specific page of the site for a conversion. In these cases, where a visit to specific page of the site is considered a successful conversion, you would need not fret about the bounce rate for that particular page, as each page visit is more important than the bounce rate.

In contrast, if you see a high bounce rate on your homepage, or any other page that is supposed to lead the user down a funnel of interactions with the website, you may have a problem. If that is happening often on your site, you will need to evaluate why the user decides to leave your site from those pages.

Some Factors that May Contribute to a High Bounce Rate

  1. Slow Page Load Time - If a page on your website is slow to load, the user is going to leave your site to find the information they are looking for elsewhere. Therefore, taking the proper steps to make sure your site is well engineered and properly optimized is essential. Learn more about how a properly engineered website can help your online presence.
  2. Misleading Search Result Descriptions - If your page's Meta Description displays a description in search results that promises the user something different than what the page content actually has to offer, the user will quickly determine that the page is not the right page to find what they are looking for and will most likely leave immediately.
  3. Unorganized Content - If your site has a lot of valuable information that would be helpful to your users, but they can't find it quickly, they are going to leave and up goes the bounce rate. It is very important to organize your content strategically to make it as simple as possible for your users to find what they are looking for.
  4. Poor Design - There are many design factors that could lead to a poor user experience, such as illegible text or colors that are not easy on the eyes. A poor user experience will almost always lead to a high bounce rate. In contrast, a page that is well designed can have a great impact on the user's experience and could lead to a much lower bounce rate. Read more about designing a great homepage and how it helps keep visitors on your site.

These are just some of the factors that could contribute to a high bounce rate for your website's pages. If you keep your website's messaging clear and provide your users with a clear path to find the information they are looking for, it should help keep your users happy and make sure that bounce rate stays in check.

Brian Lynch Headshot
by Brian Lynch
Brian has a background in back-end and front-end development. He takes pride in delivering code of a high standard.
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