Bounce Rates – What Are They And Why Do They Happen?
Whether you employ a professional SEO company or handle your search engine optimisation programme in-house, you will have undoubtedly come across the term ‘bounce rates’ before. For anyone not in the know, the bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that happen upon a page on your website, either because it showed up in their search results or via another referring website, but leave without going any further.
Obviously, having a high bounce rate is not especially desirable. It means either that you aren’t attracting the right audiences in the first place, or that you are reaching your target markets but failing to engage them on initial contact. But before you or your SEO experts can interpret that data and use it meaningfully to make changes or improvements, you need to know where to find it and what it actually means. First, the data can be found within Google Analytics. It’s in the Audience Overview tab and, as noted above, it’s expressed as a percentage. There’s an overall percentage for the website as a whole, and then each landing page has its own percentage in the behaviour column in most views within Google Analytics. In terms of what those percentages mean, it’s helpful to know what’s classed as a good score and what’s not so good. Clearly, you can’t ever hope to engage with every visitor, so no matter how good your professional SEO company or site admin is, you should expect to see some number here. But what is a good percentage to achieve and what range of percentages is an indication that you or your SEO team need to make some changes?
Typically, SEO professional services that have analysed this type of data will tell you that the majority of bounce rates fall within the 26% and 70% range. If your percentage for a particular page or your website as a whole is below 20%, or even above 95%, then the most likely scenario is that something is definitely not working as it should be. It’s not unusual for the bounce rate to lie between 41-55% – in fact, this would be considered about average. A really good score would be between 26% and 40%. But even a percentage lying somewhere in the range between 56% and 70%, while that could be considered higher than the normal rate, might make sense if your product is particularly niche, for example. Between 71% and 95%, though, and it’s definitely time to look at what is not working. But where do you start? Broadly speaking, your site admin or professional SEO services will need to look at a selection of other factors in order to determine what’s going wrong or whether a high percentage of bounce rate is explainable and acceptable.
Perhaps your overall bounce rate – for the website as a whole – is good, but one particular page has a very high percentage of leavers taking no further action. You’d need to look at the content of that page to put that in context. Essentially, a professional SEO company or your own site admin shouldn’t look at the bounce rate in isolation, but seek to divine the reasons behind it before making changes. In our next blog, we’ll take a more in-depth look into the areas in which your website might need amendment, to get a high percentage down to within the average to good range.