What Does Bounce Rate Mean? And 7 Ways To Reduce It

bounce-rateToday I’m talking about bounce rates. Plus 7 of the most common bounce rate problems that happen on sites and how to reduce them.

So let’s get to it shall we?

Now if you’ve been online for any length of time you’ve probably heard the term “Bounce Rate”

So what is Bounce Rate?

Here’s Google’s definition of bounce rate:

The percentage of single-page sessions.  (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page)

Simply put, someone comes to your site and never goes to another page on your site before leaving.

But all bounces are not the same. So what may be defined as a bounce by google, in reality may not be a true bounce.

You see Google’s analytical report does not track scrolling.

So if someone comes to your site and lands on one of your posts or pages (not the home page) and reads that post or page completely and then leaves your site. Would they be considered a bounce?

Sure they were in the eyes of Google. But let’s say they clicked an affiliate link on that page or post that takes them off site not to another page on your site. Are they a bounce?

I say no. Sure they didn’t go to another page on your site but they did click on your affiliate link which hopefully resulted in a sale. And isn’t that the goal – to generate revenue?

The reason I mentioned this is that I want you to understand that your bounce rate is a relative thing.

And in all reality not all bounces are equal, meaning not all bounces are really bounces. Plus when it comes to your bounce rate all you really have to do is have a lower bounce rate then your competition.

Average Bounce Rates

Ok I love QuickSprout – it’s such a great site and provides so much information. About a year ago they also were talking about bounce rates and they had a great infographic showing the average bounce rates for different sites.

I want you to see this graph so you don’t start freaking out when you go look at your bounce rate in your Google Analytics account. I’ll show where to find your bounce rate in Google Analytics in a second.

bounce rate

So as you can see from the graph above bounce rates can range from 10% to as high as 98% depending on the site type.

So again bounce rate is all relative.

Where To Find Your Bounce Rate

You can find your bounce rate in a few places in your Google Analytics account.

When you first login into your Google Analytics account. Your account is probably defaulted to show the Audience Overview page, which shows your bounce rate along with other stats.

If not just click the Tab in the left hand column that says Audience and then when that opens up click on Overview.

Here’s a screenshot of one of my blogs analytics. You can see where to find the overview page and I outlined my bounce rate – which is well below the average bounce rate for a blog – so yeah for me!!

bounce rate main page

You can also find your bounce rate under two different Behavior tabs.

The first Behavior tab is located under the main Audience tab. Here you can see your bounce rate for New vs Returning. Here’s a screenshot for that.

bounce rate pages
The other Behavior tab is a main tab in the side navigation bar. And with this information you can get a complete overview as well as the bounce rate of your individual pages.

bounce rate nav bar

7 Common High Bounce Rates And How To Reduce Them

1) Google Analytics Is Installed Wrong

You would be surprised how often this happens. And the way you can tell is if you have radical up and down jumps in your bounce rate percentage. If you’re below 10% or over 90% chances are your install got screwed up. Time to do it over.

2) Your Site Is Not Mobile Friendly

Remember the big update Google did on April 21st, 2015 regarding Mobile?

Any site that’s not optimized for mobile is not only getting less search engine traffic they’re getting very high bounce rates. If your site is not mobile friendly you need to put this at the top of your to do list and get it mobile friendly now.

With more and more people every day using mobile devices this is a must.

And if you’re not sure if your site meets with Google’s mobile friendly update. I did a post all about how you can check and what can do to have your site completely mobile friendly. Click here for that post.

3) Your Site Loads Slow

The online world is very impatient to say the least. And if you’re site takes to long to load, guess what?

See ya!!

People will not sit around and wait for a slow loading website. If your site takes more than a few seconds to load chances are you’ve lost a visitor (customer).

To check to see how fast your site is loading you can use Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool. This tool will show you how fast your site loads on mobile devices, plus gives you recommendations for speeding things up.

To check your website speed on a PC, you can use this free tool from Pingdom.

One of the biggest culprits for slowing down your site speed is images – and I mean big ones. There are many image optimizer you can use to reduce your image file size. A great free tool is called Compresspng.com. It also can compress JPEG image files.

Or you can use a plugin like EWWW Image Optimizer which will automatically optimize images as you upload them.

Another culprit is not using Browser Caching.  Again you can use a plugin like W3 Total Cache. With a plugin like this your visitors browser will only load new elements.

So for example it will remember a websites header and logo has been previous loaded and won’t download each time your visitor visits a new page on your site.

4) Have A Clear Call To Action

Every page and post on your sire needs a clear call to action. You have to tell your reader what to do next. So make sure you suggest one further action your visitor can take after visiting the page they landed on at your site.

5) Too Many Ads

I know ads are a source of revenue for many sites. But to many ads on a site more often than not will send people running. If you have a lot of ads on your site it’s time to consider removing a bunch of them.

Sure you may take a drop in income, but you’ll notice by having fewer ads people will stay longer on your site. And when people stay longer you’ll find that in the long run you’ll make more money.

To figure out which ads to get rid of, do a performance report. Now dump the low performers.

6) Your Pop Up Is Pissing People Off

Do you have a popup on your site? These are great for building mailing lists, but they do tend to piss people off. You may want to turn off your pop up and see if that affects your bounce rate.

If it goes down, then you know your pop up is driving people from your site. If you still want a pop up consider what I use which is an exit pop up. The only time my pop up is activated is when my visitors move their cursor to leave my site.

7) Improve Your Existing Content

If you’re doing things right your content is getting ranked in the search engines and that’s bringing people to your site. However when people arrive if your content is of low quality or like I like to say “thin” people will “bounce”.

Remember how you can see individual bounce rates for your pages on your site in Google Analytics?

Time to put that info to use. See which pages have the highest bounce rate and then ask yourself what can you do to improve the content on that page.

So you could start by asking yourself:

  • Does my content suit the traffic? For example, visitors are expecting a review but instead they hit a sales page.
  • Is my content valuable and of high quality? Have I covered the topic as best as I can?
  • Is my content grammatically correct or is it full of typos and errors? People don’t want to read content that is full of mistakes. It certainly does not instill confidence in your reader.
  • Is my content easy to read? Do I have short paragraphs, use bullet points, good white space?

Well there you go 7 of the most common bounce rate culprits and the ways to reduce them. And remember you don’t have to obsess over your bounce rate, you’ll never get it to zero anyway.

All you need to do is have a bounce rate lower than your competition and you’ll be just fine.

Did I miss anything? Is there a strategy you would add to my list? If so leave it in the comments below.


Thanks for dropping by, I hope you found this information helpful. If so, please feel free to share it with your audience.

And of course if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.

I Believe In You!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below