Bounce Rate: 10 Tactics to Keep Visitors Hooked

Boing, boing, boing – What’s that?

It’s the sound of your website visitors arriving, taking one look, and bouncing away into the digital abyss. ☹️

Don’t worry – We’re here to help.

In this article, we’ll explain what bounce rate is and what makes bounce rate important for your website’s success. You’ll also discover how to measure, benchmark, and improve your website bounce rate.

This Article Contains:

Let’s get bouncing! ⛹

What Is Website Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a webpage without taking action, like visiting a second page, clicking a link, purchasing something, or filling in a form.

Note: The term “bounce rate” could refer to a few different things in other contexts (e.g., bounce rate in email deliverability).

Bounce rate has a sibling metric – “exit rate”, which is related but not the same.

Let’s take a look:

Bounce Rate vs. Exit Rate

Exit rate is the percentage of visitors that leave a web page after visiting multiple pages on the site.

Put simply, the difference between exit rate and bounce rate is this:

  • If a visitor arrives on page A, then leaves without engaging, that’s a bounce on page A.
  • If a visitor arrives on page A, navigates to page B, then leaves, that’s an exit on page B.

A page’s bounce rate and exit rate should be interpreted differently. 

If page A has a high bounce rate, it likely means visitors aren’t seeing what they need on the page.

However, if page A has a high exit rate, people are exploring multiple pages before exiting on page A and could be considering their options. 

It’s not as exciting as an on-the-spot conversion, yet not as troubling as a bounce.

Let’s delve deeper into what makes your web page bounce rate important and relevant.

Does Bounce Rate Matter?

The short answer is “Yes.” 

A bounce signifies a missed conversion opportunity. 

Understanding the reasons behind bounces can help you spot and resolve website structure, UX (user experience), UI (user interface), or copy issues that discourage conversions.

With that said, the following may surprise you:

  • A high bounce rate isn’t always bad. In cases like a single page site, a higher bounce rate is expected due to a single entry and exit point. In other cases, such as with a support walkthrough page, having them exit after finding the solution to their problems is a good thing! 
  • Bounce rate isn’t technically a Google ranking factor. However, a lower bounce rate is typically associated with better SERP rankings.

There’s a simple reason. Searchers value factors like quick loading speeds, user-friendly UX and UI, and quality content, which align with Google’s ranking considerations.

Now, we’ll explore how to improve your website and optimize bounce rate in a later section. 
But first, let’s examine how to benchmark and measure bounce rate.

What’s a Good Bounce Rate?

A good vs. bad bounce rate will differ widely depending on the industry, page type, and device.

According to a 2023 report by Contentsquared, the average bounce rate for all industries was around 48%.

But here are some examples of different bounce rates by industry:

  • Financial services: 53% (desktop), 57% (mobile)
  • Media: 52% (desktop), 64% (mobile)
  • Retail: 47% (desktop), 47% (mobile)
  • Software: 70% (desktop), 72% (mobile)
  • Services: 60% (desktop), 54% (mobile)

For an effective assessment, compare your bounce rate for similar pages (E.g., home pages) to competitors in your industry.

If your average bounce rate is lower than the industry average, it indicates that your website is performing well in terms of user engagement.

However, high bounce rates that exceed the average may point to a need for improvement in your UX, UI, or content relevance. 

Our tips are coming up soon!
But first, let’s look at some ways to calculate your bounce rate.

How to Measure Your Bounce Rate

The formula for calculating a page’s bounce rate is:

Bounce Rate = Number of single page  sessions / Total number of visitors * 100

For example, if 1,000 people visit your homepage and 900 leave without taking action, your bounce rate is 90%. That’s a pretty bad bounce rate and would imply serious issues with your website that are discouraging visitors from exploring and engaging.

How to Measure Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

You can check your page bounce rates for free in Google Analytics.

The older version, Universal Analytics (UA), was replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4) on July 1, 2023.

Note: Google UA defines a bounce as a single page session without interaction. This would always result in a session duration of 0, since UA only starts counting after the first user engagement action.

But GA4 describes it as a single page session lasting under 10 seconds and lacking a conversion event. This allows your analytics to show an accurate session duration.
You should communicate these different bounce rates to stakeholders during the changeover.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to checking your website bounce rate in GA4:

  • Click on Reports in the left sidebar.
  • Choose the report where you want to include the bounce rate metric. (E.g., Pages and screens).
  • Click Customize Report in the top right corner. (You must be an Editor or Administrator to do so)
  • Under Report Data, click on Metrics.
  • Select Add Metric, find “Bounce Rate”, then click Apply.
  • Finally, click on the blue Save button.

Now, when you look at the pages and screens report, you’ll see the bounce rate percentage for each page.

But let’s say you want to create a report that includes the bounce rate metric for a specific page type, such as your landing pages.

You can do that using Exploration Reports by following these steps:

  • Click on Explore and select the Blank Report option.
  • In the left sidebar, click the “+” next to Dimensions.
  • Search for “Landing Pages” and click the checkbox to enable the dimension.
  • Click Import in the top right.
  • Back in the left sidebar, click the “+” next to Metrics.
  • Search for and enable “Sessions”.
  • Search for and enable “Bounce rate”.
  • Click Import in the top right.
  • Drag and drop “Landing page” from the sidebar into the Rows section, and “Sessions” and “Bounce rate” into the Values section.

And just like that, you can view the bounce rate for each landing page!

Should You Measure Bounce Rate?

Measuring website bounce rate is valuable for all companies that rely heavily on their website visitors for revenue (E.g., SaaS, e-commerce, e-learning platforms, etc.).

It is particularly beneficial in situations like the following:

  • Website creation or when recent changes are made to web pages
  • Low conversion rate analysis
  • Landing page creation and optimization

How Often Should You Measure Bounce Rate?

In general, businesses should measure bounce rate monthly, quarterly, and annually to track trends and patterns.

For high-traffic websites with dynamic content (e.g., a daily news website), monitoring bounce rate daily or weekly may be necessary to inform future content decisions.

Additionally, you should measure bounce rate when altering a web page or A/B testing variations.

Is your bounce rate sky-high?

Check out our tips to bring it back down to earth.

10 Powerful Ways to Reduce Your Bounce Rate

We’ve all clicked on a website, viewed the page, and thought, “Nope,” due to an unappealing, confusing, or untrustworthy interface. 

You wouldn’t want your visitors to have that experience.

Try these 10 tips to achieve a low bounce rate:

1. Increase Loading Speed 🏎️

When it comes to page load time, the statistics speak volumes. 

Bounce rate increases by 32% between a one and three-second load time. And websites loading in one second instead of five have three times higher conversion rates. 

So, how do you grease the wheels to speed up your site?

First, using Google’s free PageSpeed tool, check if your pages load in two seconds or less. Alternatively, leverage the Speed Report in Google Search Console, which assesses all your URLs and gives you a graphical representation of their loading speeds.

If your page load time is high, check the following:

  • Audit CSS and JavaScript: Work with developers to remove slow or unnecessary scripts and implement asynchronous loading (loading multiple elements simultaneously).
  • Enable Browser Caching: Store static resources (elements that don’t change) on visitors’ browsers, reducing the need to reload them each visit.
  • Optimize Image Size: Reduce image file sizes without compromising quality.
  • Use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): Distribute website files across multiple servers globally for faster access.

2. Use Simple, Enticing Copy 📝

Visitors rely on your copy to understand the value of your product or service. That’s true for everything from product pages to blog pages. Long, complicated, or boring copy may cause them to lose interest and leave.

To improve your copy, try the following:

  • Use simple language and short paragraphs (1-2 lines) for easy skimming.
  • Incorporate “bucket brigades” to boost reader engagement (E.g., “Here’s the best part…”, “But here’s the kicker…”).
  • Allow adequate white space on the page to give your content breathing room.
  • Choose a suitable font size for both desktop and mobile.
  • Use clear subheadings to facilitate skimming.
  • Emphasize the benefits of your product or service throughout.

3. Satisfy the Search Intent 🔎

Search intent (SI) is a crucial aspect of search engine optimization (SEO), which is all about creating content that Google deems useful for searchers.

If your page doesn’t meet the SI, visitors are more likely to bounce because they didn’t find what they were looking for.

All too often, people rely on intuition to guess the keyword SI, but that’s not always accurate.

To rank and ensure a low bounce rate, assess the following based on top-ranking pages in Google SERP:

  • Intent type: Do people want your content to inform (E.g., “What is…”, “How to…”), compare (E.g., “vs.”, “review”), transact (E.g., “buy”, “download”), or navigate (E.g., “ pricing”)?
  • Persona: What’s the target audience? (E.g., business owners, consumers, etc.)
  • Format: What’s the expected page type? (E.g., a listicle, a shop page)
  • Question: What exactly are they looking for? (E.g., how to solve a problem, what caused a problem)
  • Keywords: What are the essential on-page keywords to satisfy SI? (Tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush can help you find them.)

Tip: If SEO isn’t your forte, consider partnering with Startup Voyager. Nailing SI to boost rankings is our growth agency’s specialty! We have a track record of ranking on page one for 70% of our clients’ main target keywords. 🔥

4. Use Strategic Linking and Navigation 🔗

Links on your website serve essential functions like:

  • Allowing Google to crawl and index your pages and understand the structure of your site.
  • Helping visitors navigate.
  • Directing traffic and link juice to related posts and pages that need it.

To improve your linking strategy, try the following:

  • Utilize relevant internal links to guide visitors to related posts and pages. For instance, on a “healthy eating” page, include a link to your “green energy smoothie” recipe.
  • Incorporate a table of contents in long-form content for easy section navigation.
  • Provide a site search function to help users locate desired information.
  • Regularly check for broken internal links that cause errors.
  • Ensure user-friendly header and footer site navigation.

Remember: When a visitor clicks a link or navigates to a new page on your site, you’ve avoided a bounce!

5. Work on UI and UX 🧑‍💻

UI and UX go hand in hand and are equally important.

The truth is:
An aesthetically pleasing website with poor usability is as bounce-worthy as a visually unappealing but user-friendly website.

To ensure exceptional UX and UI, you can:

  • Hire an expert web design and development team to construct a visually beautiful website.
  • Test your website, ensuring every button, link, and multimedia element works.
  • Verify that your website works well on various screen sizes and browsers.
  • Check the user journey from arrival to payment to ensure seamless signup and checkout processes.
  • Eliminate pain points like unnecessary steps (E.g., extra form fields, email verification) and distractions (E.g., pop-ups).

    Tip: There’s a time and place for pop-ups. Pop-ups can be effective for conversion optimization (e.g., offering discounts) or as a last-ditch effort to retain visitors.

This part is crucial…
Don’t forget about mobile!

Bounce rates tend to be higher for mobile users (e.g., in six out of 10 industries listed in the Contentsquare report), yet many businesses still neglect the mobile user experience and user interface.

So, it’s also crucial to apply the considerations above to mobile users.

6. Offer Content Specific Lead Magnets 🧲

Lead magnets are informative assets (E.g., e-books, whitepapers) companies offer in exchange for lead information — like email addresses that you can use for any future email campaign.

When a visitor fills out a form and downloads an asset – Boom! 💥 No bounce, baby!

To increase conversion rates further, offer assets relevant to the content on your blog pages.

For instance, in a “managing personal finance” blog post, include a link to download a free e-book titled “10 Essential Financial Success Strategies.”

7. Consider the Source 🔀

Bounce rates can differ based on traffic sources due to audience and intent. Analyzing bounce rates by channel may uncover optimization opportunities.

For example:

  • A high bounce rate from organic traffic may indicate unsatisfied SI.
  • Increased bounces from social media-generated traffic could suggest a disconnected brand identity between social media and your website.
  • A higher bounce rate from direct traffic (i.e., typing in the URL) might mean your URL resembles another site’s, causing unintentional visits.

8. Use Multimedia 📺

Picture this: 📸

A visitor arrives on your website and sees a video explaining your product or service. The moment they click “Play,” their session is no longer deemed a bounce. Plus, it improves their understanding of your company.

In general, incorporating multimedia (videos, images, gifs) enhances page engagement and encourages visitors to stay longer.

9. Emphasize Your CTA ⚠️

A call-to-action (CTA) guides visitors on the next steps to take. 

Your CTAs should:

  • Be immediately visible above and below the fold
  • Use clear, concise, and actionable language (E.g., “Buy Now”, “Get A Quote”, “Start Your Free Trial”, etc.)
  • Catch the eye with accented colors and fonts

10. Build Trust 🤝

A website lacking credibility is a bounce magnet. You must show visitors your site is safe and trustworthy to avoid high bounce rates.

Include elements like these to convey your website’s trustworthiness:

  • User reviews
  • Customer testimonials
  • Third-party reviews (E.g., Trustpilot, G2)
  • Contact information or a Contact Us page
  • Trust and security badges
  • Awards and accreditations
  • Affiliate program memberships
  • Case studies
  • Secure HTTPS connection (URL starting with https rather than http)

Wrapping Up the Battle Against Bounciness

Understanding and managing bounce rate can significantly impact your website’s success. But a high bounce rate doesn’t have to be the end of your online dreams.

Armed with our ten powerful strategies, you can defeat the bounce rate beast, keeping visitors hooked and returning for more.

If you need assistance achieving a lower bounce rate, Startup Voyager can be your sidekick! The SEO experts in our growth agency can help you 10X your organic traffic and keep visitors engaged.

Reach out to Startup Voyager today to optimize your website and content for fewer bounces and more conversions! 

About the author

Startup Voyager is a content and SEO agency helping startups in North America and Europe acquire customers with organic traffic. Our founders have appeared in top publications like Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Inc, Huffpost, Lifehacker, etc.