What is the ideal bounce rate?

Creating a website for your company means focusing on the details, from the landing page to your logo, to create a resource that appeals to your users. In theory, taking the time to build an informative, attractive site should translate into visible business success. However, with all of the metrics available to the average website owner, it can be difficult to determine what true success is and whether you need to make a change. Take your bounce rate, for example: defined as percentage of users who left your website from the entrance page without interacting with any of your resources, this metric can say a lot about what you are doing right and what you could improve on. But what is an ideal bounce rate, and how can you use it to make an effective change?

What Is An Ideal Bounce Rate?
Technically, there is no such thing as a perfect bounce rate: if you want, you can aim for a 0% bounce rate, in which every user interacts with your page in some way. For some, this goal might be a great way to inspire new, effective ways to engage viewers. However, a 0% bounce rate isn’t realistic: you can’t guarantee that your site and services will appeal to everyone, or even prevent uninterested users from clicking on your link by mistake. But despite this, most SEO experts agree that your bounce rate should be 20% or less. Anything more than 50%, in which one in two viewers is leaving your website without at least looking around, is a sign to both you and Google that something about your page is offputting to visitors.

Google Analytics reports that your bounce rate might be affected by any number of things, many of which aren’t negative at all. For example, if your website is a single-page site, multiple pageviews won’t be tracked unless the user reloads the page. Similarly, if a user has your page bookmarked, checks something on one page, then leaves, it is considered a bounce.

However, if your website has a high bounce rate from search referral, Google may take it as a sign that your site is irrelevant, has low-quality information, gives users a bad experience, or has technical issues like a slow loading speed. All of these factors can obviously affect your search ranking. Additionally, your bounce rate is inversely proportional to your conversion rate: a low bounce rate signifies that your website is relevant and appealing to users, qualities that usually contribute to a higher conversion rate. In contrast, a high bounce rate will mean a lower number of conversions. For this reason, it is important to understand exactly how high your bounce rate is and what might be causing it.

Tracking Your Bounce Rate
When it comes to properly tracking your bounce rate, Google Analytics is your friend: first, adjust your metrics by visiting the Engagement Report section and setting it to the past four months. Once this has been completed, apply the “visits with conversions” segment to your report. This will show you where the majority of conversions occur on your site and the minimum time it takes for visitors to engage with the site.

Next, add the code “Syntax: setTimeout(“javascript function“,milliseconds);” to each of your website’s Google Analytics tracking codes, replacing javascript function with your chosen timeout method. Use _trackEvent() as your parameter. Then, convert your minimum engagement time into milliseconds and add this to the end of your code. Once this is completed, set a goal referencing the parameters used in this code, allowing Google Analytics to better determine if a visit was a bounce or a profitable engagement. After a few days, your bounce rate should change, but if it is still high, it is likely time for a website change.

How to Improve Your Bounce Rate
To reduce your bounce rate, Google Analytics recommends checking your site design. Are your entrance or landing pages an effective and accurate introduction to your website? Are your pages properly optimized and connected to relevant ads and keywords? Should you change these ads or keywords to more accurately introduce your website and services? Once these factors are evaluated, take a look at your site’s navigation and layout. Your section headlines should be strong and comprehensive, your information should be arranged in a natural way, and your content should call your viewers to action. If you see no results from these changes, or are having difficulty implementing them yourself, consider turning to a professional to help make your website more appealing and improve your conversion rate. Your website and your clients will thank you.