What is a Bounce Rate on a Website & What Does it Really Mean?

what is a bounce rate on a websiteThere are A LOT of misconceptions about bounce rates on a website, what it really is, what does it mean, how to read them correctly, ect…

I’d like to put an end to the confusion by clarifying all of these issues. So forget what you’ve been told. Here’s the real truth:

What are bounce rates? They are basically an indication of how many people visit your website and leave it.

Let’s take a quick example: 

If I have 100 people visit my website’s homepage, and Google analytics (which shows me bounce rates) says I have a 20% bounce rate, it means 20 people out of the 100 who visited my website left and didn’t go to any other pages on the website. That’s all that it means.

But is this a good thing? The answer is it depends! Some people say having a low bounce rate is a good thing and in many cases it is, but depending on the kind of website you have, the purpose of that website, high/low bounce rates may be a good/bad thing. 

When a LOW bounce rate is a good thing

Let’s take this website as an example. It’s basically a blog. And in this scenario, my aim IS to have a low bounce rate. Why?

  • Low bounce rates on websites can lead to higher SERP rankings.
  • The longer people stay on my website, the more odds they’ll check out other pages/promotions/tips and possibly leave a comment, socially share the blog with other and keep re-visiting my page. This is really another word for quality content. The longer they stay, the better it is for my website and rankings.
  • Typically blogs with a lot of good readable content have low bounce rates. 
  • Another common thing is that blogs with GREAT internal linking strategy also have low bounce rates.

When a HIGH bounce rate is a good thing

Let’s take this website as an example again. Most of the page’s aim is to do what I mentioned earlier: Provide quality content to the reader, longer stays & low bounce rates. 

But since this website’s primary focus is helping people make honest money online, there are pages which promote certain products/services which help with that and it is THOSE pages which should have a high bounce rate.

Why is this?

Because those are the pages where people who visit should technically then leave the site and visit the promotion you are linking to and potentially buy. It is these pages which you would want to have a high bounce rate on. It means people follow your advice and go where you want them to go.

  • Typically opt-in pages should have a high bounce rate.
  • Sale’s page and/or promotion pages should also have a high bounce rate (unless you’re linking to another promotion).
  • E-commerce websites or websites with stores usually have high bounce rates, since people go there, buy something and leave.

Now usually people who visit your site especially if it’s a blog will not likely visit your promotion page. In those situations, you should link them to your promotion and in those scenarios ideally, the non promotional page they land on should have a low bounce rate and link to the promotion which should then have a HIGH bounce rate.

When a LOW bounce rate is a bad thing:

Remember low bounce rate means people come to your page, stay and go to another part of your website. If people visit certain pages on your website that are aimed to get them to:

  • Opt-in.
  • Buy something via leaving your website.

These are scenarios when they SHOULD leave the page and you SHOULD have a high bounce rate, but if you don’t, check out the list below to help you with this.

There are also MANY scenarios where people visit your website which is aimed to inform, but the page/s have a high bounce rate. This usually means the information you provide there does not satisfy them.

This means the content is either not what they’re looking for, not readable/engaging, boring to read or (and this is most important) isn’t relevant! And if that’s the case, I’m going to show you how to improve bounce rates below!

When a HIGH bounce rate is a bad thing:

If you have quality content on your website aimed only to inform and link to other pages on your website (no promotions) and you see that more than 50% of your visitors are leaving the page, something is wrong. In these situations, you should aim to improve your page’s quality, try to promote less and offer more quality content.

How to improve bounce rates (Do all of this):

  • Make sure your website targets the right audience. 
  • Many people target broad subjects on their websites. This will lead to bad bounce rates. Targeting niche topics and making niche sites on THOSE specific subjects will greatly improve bounce rates. If you don’t know about niches, here is a tutorial.
  • Make more relevant/quality posts on your niche & interlink your pages together. If you check out many of my blog posts, you’ll see a lot of interlinking going on. Be careful though as you should keep linking on each page to 1% and under. This means if I had 400 words on a page, I should not provide more than 4 links on it. Get it?
  • Make sure your pages/posts target specific keywords people are looking for. Keyword tutorial.

If you implement everything on the list (it isn’t as difficult as you think), you’ll notice:

  • The pages which are aimed to inform will have lower bonce rates. 
  • As for the pages which are aimed to promote/sell/opt-in will have higher bounce rates.

This is what we want! It is the ideal scenario you should have on your website. Additionally, whatever the case is, your primary goal is to offer people quality content and information. If you are new to this sort of thing, I would strongly recommend checking out my #1 recommendation for proper training in not just this area, but making successful websites in general. 

If you have any questions/comments, feel free to leave them below this post! Happy bouncing 🙂

2 thoughts on “What is a Bounce Rate on a Website & What Does it Really Mean?”

  1. Very informative article. I think there’s a misconception out there that a lower bounce rate is always better, but in reality, there are instances when you actually want a higher bounce rate, as you discussed above. Thanks for the info!


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