Google Analytics: Is A High Bounce Rate Bad?

A few years ago, when the SEO community first discovered that Google was using bounce rates to determine relevancy, webmasters were in a panic trying to figure out how to lower their bounce rates. But is having a high bounce rate really bad? In this article, we show you which high bounce rates are good and which high bounce rates you should be worried about.

What Is A Bounce Rate?

According to Google, bounce rate is the percentage of visits where only one page is viewed before a person leaves your website.1 A high bounce rate is often considered bad because it might indicate that a person came to your website, didn't find what they were looking for, and left right away. But there are bounces that are good.

More often than not, visitors are searching for one thing. And if your page answers their questions, solves their problem, or gives them all of the information that they are looking for, then a visitor might leave your website completely satisfied without navigating to other pages. This is an example of a good bounce.

As a result, to differentiate between good and bad bounce rates, you should consider how long visitors stay on each page.

Using "Average Time On Page" To Find Bad Bounce Rates

The Average Time On Page statistic tells you how long visitors stay on a page before browsing to other pages or leaving your website. This statistic is a better indicator of quality content and relevance than bounce rate because even if the bounce rate is high, it lets you know whether or not visitors are reading the page before they leave.

Good High Bounce Rates

If a page has a high Bounce Rate, yet the Average Time On Page shows that visitors are taking the time to read the page, then you should not be concerned about the high bounce rate because visitors are obviously reading the content and finding it relevant and useful.

Bad High Bounce Rates

If a page has a high Bounce Rate and the Average Time On Page is close to 0, this is a bad bounce. Visitors are not staying on your website and they are not reading your content. You should figure out ways to make that page more appealing.2

How Can You Minimize Bad Bounce Rates?

It is easy to minimize bad bounce rates. Here are some tips.

  1. Evaluate page content and make sure that it is well-written and matches what visitors expect to find after reading the headline or title of the page.
  2. Make pages more appealing by reducing excessive advertisements and fixing other unsightly features.
  3. Determine whether your website looks trustworthy and professional. In today's world of beautiful user-friendly websites, many visitors quickly leave sites that look amateur.
  4. Open external links in a new window. If you link to a lot of external website or embed advertisements, sometimes visitors will click these links and leave your website. Use target="_blank" where possible to give visitors the chance to stay on your site.
  5. Split up long articles into separate pages. Sometimes visitors are intimidated by the possibility of reading large amounts of content. Don't overwhelm them.
  6. If using paid marketing campaigns, make sure that your page targets the right keywords so that visitors expectations are satisfied.
  7. Improve load time. The quickest way to turn a visitor away is to have a slow-loading website.
  8. Make your website sticky by proving easy access to related content.

 

You may also want to read 25 Ways To Improve Your Website.

  1. Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. See Google Analytics help for more details. []
  2. While Bounce Rate and Average Time On Page are two statistics that can be used to determine the value of a page and the usefulness to visitors, it is also good to consider other factors. It is often the case that pages with high-converting advertisements also have high bounce rates as well. []
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4 Responses to “Google Analytics: Is A High Bounce Rate Bad?”

  • Nehru November 15, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Thanks a lot for this wonderful and useful information about bounce. But i am in other problem, i have some links on pages of my site (inter links) but these open pages on my website in new window using target_blank, from the day i have started this my page rank has incrested to 4-5 % , please suggest me is my own website link in new window using target_blank can increase my bounce rate. Or i should search and look for any other reason why my bounce rate is increasing…. Thnaks again..!!!..

  • Anand – Wootish.com December 17, 2012 at 2:11 am

    The problem with analyzing good and bad bounces is that whenever there is a bounce, the time spent by the user is counted as zero. That’s because Analytics calculates the time on page based on the the period between the time when the script was first triggered and the last time there was an engagement on the page (via link click,etc.)

    So even if your page has a ‘good high bounce’, it could be more so because of the averaging out from various traffic sources (maybe direct users are pushing the average to the high time spent zone).

    In any case, I think bounce rates do tend to be high depending on the traffic source. A search engine visitor typically spends less time on the site because they quit after they know the stuff that they came to the site for in the first place. That does not automatically mean they are not interested in your site. It’s all about how you ensure they come back.

    We run a service that typically targets bouncing visitors and help websites either make money off them (if they are quitting, why not show them some ads before they leave), or display newsletter signup forms to these visitors when they click away, so that we can still make a repeat visitor off of a bouncing user.

  • Jeremiah Say January 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    I didn’t know that slow loading speed could affect bounce rate. Thank you for the tip:)

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