Bounce Rate: How it Impacts your Website

Is a high bounce rate good or bad? Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. Here we explain why it’s important to know if it’s good or bad, what a bounce rate is, and most importantly, how to avoid making a mistake when checking this metric, as it’s treacherous on its own.

What is the bounce rate?

The bounce rate is a metric that indicates how many users visit and leave a web page without taking any action.

Imagine that 200 users access your web page, and 50 of them leave without clicking on any link. These 50 users are the ones who enter the bounce rate metric when it is calculated because they did not take any action.

On the other hand, the other 150 users who did interact with a link will not be taken into account when calculating the bounce rate.

How is the bounce rate calculated?

To calculate the bounce rate we divide the “total visits that did not interact on the web page” by the “total visits obtained from that web page”, then the result is multiplied by “100%”. Resulting in the total as a percentage.

 Bounce Rate = Total visits that did not interact > Total visits obtained x 100

Using the data from the previous example the result would be:

Bounce Rate = 50200 x 100=25%

The 50 users that did not interact represent 25% of the bounce rate.

With this formula, you can calculate the bounce rate. Although in Google Analytics there is already a section where you can see it automatically.

How much is an acceptable bounce rate?

As a general rule, a good bounce rate is between 26-40%. The average percentage is between 41%-55%. And below-average is between 56%-70%.

However, it is not advisable to rely on these metrics because they depend on the theme of your website. Sometimes a high bounce rate is not a bad thing, because the quality of the bounce rate also depends on user retention.

According to Merca2.0 magazine, the bounce rate can be low or high depending on the theme of the page:

  • Retail pages: 20% to 40%.
  • Simple landing pages: 70% to 90%.
  • Major pages such as Yahoo: 10% to 30%.
  • Informative pages: 10% to 30%.
  • Content pages with a lot of irrelevant traffic: 40% to 60%.
  • Lead generation type pages: 30% to 50%.

How do we know if it’s good? Let’s find out:

In which situation a bounce can be bad or good?

Bounce rate is not bad in every situation, in order to understand it better, imagine that we have visitor 1 and visitor 2.

Visitor 1: Arrives to your page, reads your content for 30 seconds, and then leaves. (He either returns to the previous page or closes the window, but leaves).

Visitor 2: Arrives at your page, reads your content for 5 minutes, longer than visitor 1, and then leaves without clicking.

Both by definition “bounced”. But visitor 1 found something useful and visitor 2 did not.

In the case of visitor 2, the dwell time is high, and this metric helps us to know if the bounce rate is good or bad.

Let’s dig deeper about:

Dwell time

This metric measures the duration of the visit, and it has a positive relationship with user engagement; emotional connection.

When we combine the bounce rate with the dwell time it gives us a more reliable indicator of user engagement on a specific web page.

Let’s read this insight from “Duane Forrester – Public Outreach, from Bing” to understand it better:

“Even if you have spent all your effort and love in creating the content of a web page, quality is in the eye of the visitor. Low dwell times on the page may indicate that you are not capturing the user’s interest”.

Therefore, we must pay close attention to both “bounce rate” and “dwell time” to determine how good or bad the bounce rate may be.

You see, a high bounce rate with low dwell time tells us that we are not giving users what they want.

On the other hand, a high bounce rate with a long dwell time tells us that we are responding positively to what users want.

Pogo Sticking: Major negative effect on SEO

When we do not meet the user’s search intent, the “Pogo Sticking” effect happens.

Pogo Sticking is when the user does not find what they want on your page, and they have to go back to the results page to find what they are looking for.

Imagine that you search for “how to choose a fast computer”, you get 10 results and you click on the first one. If you don’t find what you are looking for there, you will have to switch to the second result to find what you want: fast computers.

If the second result solves your search intention, Google will notice that the second result solves the intention better. Which is a negative point for the first one and a positive point for the second one.

That’s why focusing on search intent is the most important thing when creating content. This will prevent users from leaving your site towards your competitor’s site. A user who does not find what he wants will need to go somewhere else to find it.

Pogo Sticking also happens when the user finds it difficult to enjoy the information, either because the information is very abstract, difficult to understand, or the page is not displayed properly on mobile devices.

Conclusion and tips to avoid issues

A high bounce rate is good for ranking if the dwell time is high. The two always have to be looked at together.

Some tips to improve the results and SEO of your website:

Create useful content and solve the search intent.

Create quality content, identify what is the search intent of the keyword for the web page you want to rank, this way you will always match what Google is looking for: offering users what they want.

Make sure you have a good copywriter who knows how to write well, who knows how to make the abstract understandable, who knows how to solve the user’s intention, who knows how to optimize the content to rank as many keywords as possible.

Fast loading

We all like things fast and that is why Google has long demanded that web pages load fast, this helps us to rank better and, at the same time, allows us to avoid losing users.

Google itself says that a fast website is a requirement to rank better and also to avoid 24% of users leaving.

Make the website responsive

If the content looks terrible, how will the website perform? Negatively. Content is viewed on many devices: computers, tablets, and cell phones. Each has a different screen size. This means that something that may look good on a computer may not look good on a phone. Make sure that the content works well on these 3 devices to ensure that Google does not subtract points to your websites.