What is a bounce rate? It’s the percentage of website visitors who visit only one page on your site and then leave. Your website bounce rate shows how effective–or ineffective–your site is at keeping visitors engaged.
If your website has a high bounce rate, it means visitors aren’t finding what they need or want, and leave quickly. However, a high bounce rate doesn’t indicate that your website isn’t useful or engaging; it indicates that there are some areas you can improve to make your users more likely to stick around.
In this blog post, you will learn everything you need to know about bounce rates as well as how to reduce bounce rates. Plus, you’ll learn how bounce rate is changing with Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Let’s get started!
What Exactly Is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits across your entire website. So, if your website has 1,000 visitors and 900 of them have only viewed a single page before leaving, your bounce rate is 90%.
Bounce rate is a metric that’s used to evaluate the relevance of your site’s content and conversions as compared to your traffic and leads. If a high percentage of your website’s visitors only view a single page before leaving, it may mean that your lead quality is low.
One of the simplest ways to analyze your bounce rate is by using Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool that allows small business owners to track data like their website’s traffic, traffic sources, and conversions. Within Google Analytics, select your desired date range in the upper right-hand corner, then click on the “Audience” tab and select “Bounce Rate” to see the percentage of single-page visitors on your site.
You can also view the session time or time-on-page for each URL on your website. If a visitor bounces from your site quickly, their time on page will be low. Though session times vary widely based on the website, industry, and a reader’s familiarity with a brand, anything between 60 to 90 seconds is an average page session time. If yours is lower, you should investigate your bounce rate; if yours is higher, you should celebrate the fact that you already have strong session times.
Changes to Bounce Rate in Google Analytics (GA4)
It’s important to understand how GA4 measures engagement because Universal Analytics will stop processing new data in July 1, 2023.
Here’s what Google has to say about bounce rate in GA4 vs Universal Analytics:
In Google Analytics 4, Bounce rate is the percentage of sessions that were not engaged sessions. In other words, Bounce rate is the inverse of Engagement rate. In Universal Analytics, Bounce rate is the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only one page and triggered only one request to the Analytics server.
Bounce rate, as it’s calculated in Universal Analytics, is a reasonable measure of site engagement, but it has become less useful as websites and apps have changed. For example, it’s possible for users to view a single-page application (SPA) and leave without triggering an event, which would be considered a bounce.
Additionally, Bounce rate, as it’s calculated in Google Analytics 4, provides a more useful way of measuring the level at which customers engage with your site or app. For example, if you operate a blog, you might not mind if customers visit your site to read an article and then leave. You probably care more about the number of customers who visit your site, don’t find what they were looking for, and then quickly leave.
And MoreVisibility has some helpful info from their blog as well:
In GA4 Bounce Rate is no more! The metric that will be used in its place is “Engaged Sessions”. Engaged Sessions are the number of sessions that lasted longer than 10 seconds, or had a Conversion Event, or had 2 or more page views.
Although the new metric may have additional parameters, it is very similar to Bounce Rate. We know that a session that lasted 0 seconds or that only had 1 pageview (Bounce Rate parameters) will not be counted as an Engaged Session.
What’s Considered a Good Bounce Rate?
What’s a Good Bounce Rate in Universal Analytics?
Aside from a standardized bounce rate for the entire internet, determining an optimal bounce rate for your website takes some research and planning. That being said, it’s safe to say most marketers and business owners aim for a bounce rate of below 40%.
An excellent bounce rate is usually 25 to 40%, and 40 to 55% is considered good. Anything higher than 60% is pretty high, and should prompt a conversion rate optimization (CRO) plan.
Again, those numbers refer to bounce rate in Universal Analytics. In our experience, most business owners and marketing professionals are still measuring bounce rate in 2022, although we’ll all be working with GA4 going forward.
What’s a Good Engagement Rate in GA4?
Here’s an article with some benchmarks for good engagement rate in GA4 by industry. According to FirstPageSage, you’ll want to look for a rate that is:
- Above 63% for B2B websites
- Above 71% for B2C websites
But note that those are aggregate numbers, and it’s always important to drill down by channel and type of content, as we’ll explain.
Analyze Aggregate vs Channel-Specific and Content-Specific Data
Don’t just focus on your aggregate bounce rate (or engagement rate) across your whole site for all sources of traffic, since that won’t necessarily tell you too much.
It’s important to dig into bounce rates for specific channels and specific types of content on your website to see how specific channels and pages are performing.
For example, the bounce rate for blog posts and news pages tends to be higher because once people have read what they want to read, they may go off searching elsewhere. It is fairly common to see very high bounce rates on popular blog posts.
On the other hand, organic search traffic to your homepage will generally have a much lower bounce rate than other types of traffic. But if your bounce rate from organic traffic to your homepage is very high, then you know you have a problem.
How to Improve Bounce Rates
So, how do you improve your bounce rate if it’s too high? We have five recommendations; keep reading for the details and how to implement them.
1. Create Multiple Landing Pages
One of the best ways to reduce your bounce rate is to create multiple landing pages for your different audiences and core topics. A landing page is any single page on your website that people can “land” on, whether through a search engine query, email link click, social media post, ad, or any other referral. The most common landing pages are home pages, product pages, service pages, and blog posts.
For example, let’s say you’re a fitness coach and have a blog post about protein shakes. That blog post is targeted at individuals who want to build muscle via healthy strategies.
Now, let’s say that your target audience is men who are looking for ways to bulk up. You could have different blog posts targeting different terms, such as “protein shakes for fat loss,” and if these pages are ranking in Google, your target searcher will arrive on a targeted page on your site that’s tailored to that topic, problem or need.
This way, you can better tailor your content to your readers’ specific needs and wants. You’ll also be more likely to keep visitors on your site instead of driving them away quickly.
2. Have Internal Links Open In the Same Tab
The second way to reduce your bounce rate is to make sure that every internal link on your site opens in the same tab. When clicking through to additional content, readers stay on your site instead of getting distracted and possibly leaving your site due to interruptions.
You can ensure internal links open in the same tab by double checking that the “open link in new tab” checkbox is empty when you add on-page links. Every content management system (CMS) has a menu that pops up when you’re adding a new link, and it should be self-explanatory.
Ensuring links open in the same tab can also be done with a simple code snippet. Going back to the blog post about protein shakes, this is the code you would add: <a target=”_self” href=”https://www.yourwebsite.com/article-about-the-benefits-of-protein-shakes” >benefits of protein shakes</a>
That way, readers can click through to the other articles on your site without having a bunch of new tabs open up. This creates a more seamless experience for your readers and is likely to keep them on your site longer.
3. Satisfy Your Website Visitors (and Avoid Frustrating Them)
If your website has a high bounce rate, it might be because your content isn’t relevant enough to your readers. If people visit your site and don’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll lose interest almost immediately and look elsewhere.
It’s imperative that your website’s content is relevant or useful to your readers, or may even be frustrating your users. If you’re not sure what your ideal readers are looking for, look at your pages with the highest bounce rate and see what’s going on. Do you find any of the following?
- Low quality or quantity of content
- Broken links and/or images
- Poor navigation
- Text is too small to read or too close to images
- The page generates a poor experience on mobile devices
- Too many calls to action (CTAs), or not enough
- Page doesn’t internationally convey your brand, service, or product
- The page or its content has a clear disconnect from the higher quality pages on your website
If you’ve discovered any of these factors, get them resolved as soon as possible. They are creating a less-than-ideal experience for your audience and hold you back from the results you want.
Beyond that, always periodically update both the scope and quality of your website content to make sure it’s maximally relevant to your readers. You can do this by creating more detailed articles and deleting any content that doesn’t relate to your readers’ problems and questions.
Remember that Google Analytics is only one way to measure bounce rate, too. If you offer live chat on your website, review the conversations and data to see if you identify any complaints or problems with user experience. You may discover that a key page is broken, some navigation is missing, or your website otherwise has a poor user experience somewhere.
4. Improve Your Page Loading Speed
If your website has a high bounce rate, it might be because your pages are taking too long to load. People are used to waiting for things, but if they have to wait too long for your pages to load, they’ll leave. A slow page is anything that takes longer than 2-3 seconds to load.
If you don’t know how fast or slow your website speed is, don’t worry. You can use free webpage load speed testing tools like GTMetrix, Pingdom or Google PageSpeed Insights to test your site speed.
After you test the speed of your pages, the tools will show you the top priorities to address. Relevant actions may also include using a content delivery network (CDN), which sends your website’s data from its server of origin to multiple servers around the world, speeding up your site and giving users an excellent brand experience.
Here are the seven most effective ways to improve page load speed across your website:
- Lazy load images via a CDN
- Reduce images’ file size
- Minify your CSS and JS (ask your developer do this if you aren’t fluent in front-end web development)
- Reduce, or if possible, eliminate internal links with redirects
- Defer all non-essential JS, CSS, and HTML files
- Consider a performance-optimized hosting package from your hosting provider
- Eliminate all unnecessary website plugins and extensions
Once you run some speed reports on your website, send the information and recommendations to your web developers and see what changes they can make to improve your website speed.
5. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
If your website is difficult to navigate on a mobile device or doesn’t fit the screen properly, people will bounce from your site quickly. Given that more than half of all internet traffic is from mobile devices, having a smooth mobile page layout is now a requirement.
To make sure that your website is mobile-friendly, start by testing it with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. If you find that your site isn’t mobile-friendly, try fixing it with a responsive design. Ask your developer to implement one if you can’t or don’t want to do one yourself. If you have the resources and desire, you can start from scratch and recreate your site with a mobile-friendly design. That way, your site will be easier to navigate on a smaller screen.
The Bottom Line
If a high percentage of your website’s visitors only view a single page before leaving, it could mean that your lead quality is low. Fortunately, you can reduce your bounce rate with proper strategies and consistent implementation across your whole site.
Here’s a recap of the key points about reducing bounce rate:
- Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits on your website. It’s the number of people who land on one page and leave without clicking to other pages or taking any other action. The way bounce rate is getting calculated is changing with Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
- Though a “good” bounce rate varies by website and industry, most experts agree it’s somewhere below 40%. A great bounce rate is 40% or lower and a phenomenal bounce rate is 25% or lower. With GA4, aim for engagement rates of 60-70%+.
- Make sure to dig into channel-specific and content-specific data, rather than just looking at your aggregate data. For example, it’s pretty common for blog post bounce rates to be high, but your homepage bounce rate should be much lower.
- Having as many relevant landing pages as possible is a great way to reduce your bounce rate. More landing pages and content means your target audience is more likely to find answers and solutions that you as a business owner provide.
- Ensuring internal links open in the same tab is also key. This prevents more browser tabs for the same website–yours–and creates a smoother experience as readers discover your expertise on multiple topics.
- Creating relevant content reduces bounce rate significantly. When readers discover your site, they’re hoping it’s an authoritative source of info for their most pressing questions. Help them trust you by making content worth their time and attention.
- Improving page load speed is a smart move to reduce bounce rate. The less time people have to wait for your content to appear, the more likely they are to engage with it.
- A mobile-friendly website is necessary to succeed in business today. Google estimates as much as 60% of all internet traffic is mobile, and that number grows annually. Give your readers the same flawless experience on their smartphones that they’ve come to expect on desktop.
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