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How to Understand Your Bounce Rate (And Fix It)

Bounce RateAh, bounce rates. Many times marketers are puzzled by this metric. On one hand, it's a fairly easy concept to grasp. Your bounce rate is merely the percentage of people who land on a page and then leave your website without visiting another page on your site. On the other hand, it's some sort of a riddle, as other factors come into play when determining if your bounce rate is healthy for your site in particular. When analyzing your bounce rate, there are questions that typically run through your mind: What factors impact someone's decision to leave your site? How do you know if your rate is good or bad? If you have too many bounces, how do you fix it?

To help you better understand your bounce rate - and begin to improve it - we've put together an easy overview.

What's a Good Bounce Rate?

Generally speaking, the closer your bounce rate is to 100 percent, the more you should be concerned. Therefore, in most cases, the lower the bounce rate, the better. Bounce rates between 50 to 70 percent are considered higher than average, 40 to 50 percent is average; and anything less than 40 percent is an impressive bounce rate.

That being said, what determines a "good" rate also depends on your industry and your goal. For example, content sites - such as blogs - often experience relatively high rates. Users who visit these content sites tend to be interested in the one page they clicked into and then leave the site without making it to another page. On the contrary, self-service sites, such as forums and FAQs, see lower bounce rates as these users are typically more engaged with the site, navigating through page after page. A huge factor to consider if your bounce rate is low is if you urged your customers to take an action offline - naturally there would be no reason for these users to stick around on the site if you directed them elsewhere.

What Makes a Visitor Leave a Site?

While a person's decision to leave your website may seem impossible to figure out, there are many factors that drive visitors off a page. If the page a user visits offers a horrible experience, the content does not relate to the user, or the product or service is hard to understand, a user is more likely to quickly move on (as mentioned by HubSpot). Other reasons that may drive a high bounce rate include a lengthy page load time, pop-up ads, auto-play videos, inferring music, ranking for irrelevant keywords, poor design and confusing navigation. Take a look into your site, and if any of these issues appear, it's time to make some updates.

How Can I Improve My Rate?

One of the best ways to get started fixing bounces is to look at historical data. Has your bounce rate increased or decreased over time? After you observe a trend, ask yourself if anything on your site changed to cause this pattern.

For example, maybe you upgraded to a cleaner, simpler design or began focusing on appropriate search engine optimization. Both of these changes could help improve your bounce rate.

Here are a few more checkpoints for improving and analyzing your bounce rate:

  • Offer a mobile-friendly site (comScore);
  • Make sure external links open in a separate window;
  • Eliminate complicated CSS and Javascript that slows down page load time;
  • Use simple and easy-to-understand messaging that guides users to take the next step;
  • Consider the rate for pages other than your homepage. Users may enter your site from a landing page, blog post, etc. and those pages must be evaluated, too.

If you're struggling to understand and improve your website's bounce rate, you're not alone. But by understanding what impacts visitor behavior and making an effort to build a more user-friendly site, you'll be well on your way to reducing bounces and urging users to explore your site!

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