calculating your bounce rateBryan Miller

6 minute read

How to Calculate Your Bounce Rate (and How to Improve It)

Published 2021-11-01T06:00:00 by Bryan Miller

When users reach your website, it’s important that you keep these individuals engaged long enough to take any action, which can include anything from creating a membership to purchasing a product. Among the most important elements of web analytics is bounce rate. This metric tells you if you’re effective at keeping site visitors engaged. The bounce rate of a web page refers to the percentage of users who leave your website without interacting with it.

If users are entering your website but are leaving almost immediately, this likely indicates that your website is poorly designed or that the content doesn’t match user expectations. Whatever, the reason, it’s important that you understand how to properly calculate and improve your bounce rate if you want to garner long-term success. In almost all situations, it’s essential that users visit more than one page.

Bounce rate calculations are easy to perform if you know the formula. Let’s say that 2,000 people click on a PPC ad of yours and are taken to a landing page on your website. If 1,400 visitors end up leaving the landing page without further interacting with your website, this means that the landing page has a bounce rate of 70%.

The ideal bounce rate depends on many different factors. While bounce rate can be used to determine how engaging a web page is, the data may point towards other conclusions. As such, you should understand how to parse this data and use it to improve your website. This article offers a more comprehensive look at how bounce rate can be calculated and the steps you can take to improve your results.

Having a Good Bounce Rate for your Website

As touched upon previously, there isn’t a single bounce rate that you should strive to reach for your website. The ideal bounce rate for your website depends on the type of website you manage as well as your current site goals. Some websites aim to have bounce rates between 20-50%, which means that anything above 50% would be considered poor.

If you manage an informational website, having a high bounce rate might not mean anything. It’s possible that the customer left your website satisfied after reaching the landing page. On the other hand, high bounce rates for eCommerce websites can be troubling since these websites want customers to browse and make purchases. It can be even more difficult to determine what a bad bounce rate is if you run a one-page website. In this situation, the page will invariably have a 100% bounce rate.

Other metrics can be used to identify if the page is performing well, which include how long the user spent on the page. If users are leaving the one-page website in a matter of 20 seconds or less, it’s likely that the website isn’t as engaging as it should be. A top goal when designing your website should be to provide site visitors with a good user experience.

If visitors are provided with relevant content, an aesthetically pleasing design, and fast load times, they are more likely to remain engaged with your website long enough to take action. It’s highly recommended that you set your preferred bounce rate before you place your website online. Your preferred rate can be informed by existing metrics related to the type of website you’re managing as well as the people who make up your target audience.

Bounce Rate vs. Exit Page

bounce rate vs exit page

Many website owners believe that the exit page metric provides similar data to the bounce rate metric. In reality, these two metrics provide substantially different data. If you attempt to use exit page metrics to inform your bounce rate decisions, you could make notable mistakes with the design and content of your website.

Bounce rate is designed to tell you the percentage of site visitors who left your website without further interacting with it. When a visitor leaves immediately after entering a homepage or landing page, this action can be used when measuring a website’s bounce rate. In comparison, the exit page metric provides you with data on different website pages by measuring how many users leave your website after looking at a specific page. If a visitor viewed 30 site pages before leaving, the exit rate metric will still include their data. This means that every bounce is an exit, but not every exit is a bounce.

It’s also possible for high exit rates to be somewhat positive in comparison to high bounce rates. If a user leaves your website immediately after making a purchase, there’s a good chance that they were satisfied with their experience. Because of how different these two terms are, it’s essential that you don’t view them interchangeably when analyzing your website’s performance.

How to Check your Website’s Bounce Rate

checking your website's bounce rate

After you determine what your ideal bounce rate is, you should start checking the bounce rate to determine if any improvements need to be made. When you use Google Analytics, you should be able to find this data without running into issues. Keep in mind that Google Analytics also offers an ample amount of additional data that could prove useful when you’re attempting to improve your website’s performance.

To get started, sign in to your website’s Google Analytics page. From here, you should navigate to the tab that says “Audience Overview”. When you click on this tab, you’ll immediately be provided with many different types of data that may prove useful. However, your main goal is to locate the bounce rate data, which should be easy to notice. You can decide if you want to view the bounce rate for individual pages or the website as a whole.

In the event that you would like to view the website’s bounce rate, all you need to do is click on “Bounce Rate”, after which you’ll be shown a graph for a specific time period. If you want to view bounce rates for individual pages, choose “Behavior” before clicking on “All Pages”. You’ll then be given a thorough list of each page on your website and the bounce rate that it has.

Top Ways to Lower Your Bounce Rate

When you’re looking to reduce your bounce rate, there are five steps you might want to perform.

1. Targeted Keywords

The first step is to start using targeted keywords on the page that contains a high bounce rate. If you place random keywords on a landing page or homepage in an attempt to obtain high rankings for various search results, there’s a good chance that the visitors who reach your website won’t be interested in the content or products you provide. Instead, it’s highly recommended that you use targeted keywords, which are keywords that are specifically targeted to your main audience.

When you use targeted and relevant keywords in your content, the people who reach your website will have already entered search results that relate to a product you offer or the type of business you run. If you would like to begin placing targeted keywords on your website, you can do so with the help of the Google Keyword Planner tool.

2. Readability

Even if you write about interesting subjects and use ample amounts of multimedia on your website, it’s still important that this content is readable. If you just place paragraphs of text on your website with no headers and hardly any breaks in the content, most users will leave your website without delving further into the content you offer. Your content should always be formatted in a manner that’s engaging and designed to keep the reader’s attention. Use a combination of subheadings, quotes, imagery, and bullet points.

improving your websites bounce rate

3. Improve Content

Likely the easiest way to lower bounce rates is by improving the content you place on your website. When you write better blog articles and post more relevant content, site visitors will be more likely to remain engaged with your website. If you manage an eCommerce website, improving your content can also help you build trust and strengthen your brand image. When attempting to write more engaging content, it’s recommended that you avoid articles that the majority of your target audience wouldn’t be interested in.

Let’s say that you own a furniture business. Your website should consist of articles and content that relate to furniture and similar topics. Along with articles that are directly about furniture, your audience would also likely be interested in articles about interior design. If you want to be able to convert visitors into long-term users, writing content that’s relevant to their interests is important.

4. Avoid Pop-ups

Among the most important things you can do to keep users from “bouncing” is to avoid placing pop-up ads on your website. Pop-ups are ads that will display over the actual content of your website in an attempt to get users to click on the ad for further information. The issue with this form of advertising is that it’s intrusive and annoying to most site visitors.

When a visitor enters your website, they are likely doing so for a specific reason. Distracting the user from the reason they visited your website in the first place will only lead to the user becoming frustrated with their experience. Instead of pop-ups, consider using banner ads in email campaigns, which are considerably less intrusive.

5. Use Meta Description

Meta descriptions are short sentences that are displayed under the title of your website in Google search results. These descriptions provide users with more information about a search result and are necessary for bringing in relevant traffic. Meta descriptions are an organic method for filtering out users who aren’t interested in the kind of content your website provides.

If you don’t include this information, users who have no interest in your website’s content could click on your site simply because of the site name or its placement towards the top of search results. When someone enters your website but isn’t interested in your content, they will likely leave your website immediately, which increases bounce rates. Meta descriptions naturally decrease bounce rates by turning these individuals away before they click.

Bounce rates are important metrics for any website. While a high bounce rate isn’t always a bad sign, you should take measures to decrease bounce rates in most situations. Being able to understand this metric can be invaluable towards helping you create more relevant and engaging pages for your website.

Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller

Bryt Designs

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web tech enthusiast specializing in web design, development and digital marketing. Bryan is a recent graduate of the MBA program at the University of California, Irvine and continues to pursue tools and technologies to find success for clients across a varieties of industries.

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