What is Website Bounce Rate – High or Low, Which is Better?

By | August 22, 2016

There are quite a few questions about website bounce rate.  For example, what is website bounce rate, what does bounce rate mean, or how do I interpret bounce rate?  I’d like to attempt to clarify a lot of the confusion surround this topic.  So for now let’s put aside what you’ve been told about bounce rate, and allow me to give you a clear and correct explanation…

bounce-rateSo what is website bounce rate?

The bounce rate basically shows how many people come to visit your site and end up leaving it without further interacting with your site.  Here’s an example:

Let’s say you have 1000 people visit the homepage of your website, and Google analytics, a tool that shows bounce rate, says your site has a 30% bounce rate, which means 300 people out of the 1000 that visited your website left without going to any other pages on your site before they did.  Simply put, that’s what it means.

Is that a good or bad thing?

You’re going to love this answer…it depends!  While in many cases it is a good thing to have a low bounce rate there are some cases where the opposite might be true, depending on what kind of site you have or what the purpose of your site might be.

Example of LOW bounce rate being a good thing:

For this example, we’ll use a make-believe website that is pretty much a blog trying to help people make money online.  For this particular scenario, we WANT to have a bounce rate that is low.  But why?

  • Typically we see higher SERP rankings for our website with lower bounce rates.
  • There are better odds that a visitor will view other content or promotions, perhaps even leave a comment, the longer they remain on our website.  They may even share pages to social media sites or revisit later to view more content.  The big takeaway here is the longer we can get them to stay, the better it is both for our ranking and website.
  • Typically websites that provide quality readable content with show lower bounce rates.

bounce-rate-variableExample of HIGH bounce rate being a good thing:

For this example, we will use the same website.  As mentioned before, the aim of this website is to get visitors to stay longer and have low bounce rates by providing quality content.

But if you remember, the focus of this site is to help people make money online so there will be a few pages that promote some products and services.  On those pages, we want HIGH bounce rate!

Why do we want a high bounce rate on those pages?  On those pages, we want high bounce rate because those are the pages where people that are visiting should be clicking on a promotional link you are providing and leaving your site.  So on pages with promotional links we want to have high bounce rates because this means that our visitors are following our advice and going off to where we want them to go!  So to break it down:

  • Opt-in pages usually will (or should) have a high bounce rate.
  • Your sales and promotion pages should have higher bounce rates as well.
  • Websites with a store or E-commerce sites usually have high bounce rates.  This is because people will visit their site, buy something, and then leave.

It is important to note that people visiting your site, especially if it happens to be a blog, will most likely not visit a promotional page.  What we want to do in those situations is link them over to our promotional page.  The idea behind this is that they will land on the non-promotional page, which should have a low bounce rate, and click the link over to the promotional page, which will hopefully have a high bounce rate.

Bounce-Rate-badExample of LOW bounce rate being a bad thing:

Remember that a low bounce rate means visitors are coming to your page, stay on that page, then go to another page on your website.  If those visitors go to certain pages on your site that are focused on getting them to opt-in or buy something via a promotional link taking them off your website, those are the instances when they SHOULD leave your website and you SHOULD also have a higher bounce rate.  If for some reason this isn’t the case for you, I will have a list a little further down in this article to help you out with this.

Now, there may also be MANY instances where visitors come to your website, that is aimed at informing, but those informative pages are seeing high bounce rates.  The reason for this typically means that they are not satisfied with the information you are providing.  This could mean the content is:

  • not readable and/or engaging
  • boring to read
  • isn’t relevant (this is a big deal!)
  • or simply not what they’re looking for

If this is the case, I’m going to show you how you can improve your bounce rates!

Example of HIGH bounce rate being a bad thing:

This is when you have great content on your site that is aimed to inform and link over to some other, non-promotional, pages on your site and you are seeing more than 50% of visitors are exiting the page.  This signals that something is wrong.  In this type of scenario, you should look to either improve those pages quality, promote a little less, or offer more quality content.

Improving bounce rates to-do list:

  • Make sure you are targeting the correct audience.
  • Make sure not to target broad subjects on your website.  This will definitely lead to bad bounce rates.  Instead, target niche topics and make your websites based on THOSE specific niche subjects.  This will greatly improve your bounce rates.  If you don’t know too much about niches are just need a refresher, check out this tutorial.
  • Make sure you are writing quality content.  Make it easy to read and also engaging (Something funny and/or controversial works as well).
  • Make sure you have plenty of relevant/quality posts based off your niche,  then interlink those pages together where applicable.  For example, if you look at many of the posts on my blog, you will notice there is a lot of interlinking happening.  Don’t over do it though.  Try to keep a 1/100 ratio if possible.  So for every 500 words on a post, keep the internal linking to 5 or less.
  • Make sure your posts are targeting specific keywords that people are looking for.  Here’s a keyword tutorial to help.

That’s it.  If you go through and implement everything on that list, which isn’t that hard to do, you will notice:

  • Lower bounce rates on those pages that are aimed to inform.
  • Higher bounce rates on those pages that are aimed to opt-in, promote, or sell.

And that is what we want!  It is by far the best scenario you could have on your website.  Remember, your primary goal is offering quality content and information to your visitors.  If this is something you are new at, I strongly recommend taking a look at my #1 recommendation.  They will ensure you are getting proper training in not just this area, but also for making successful websites in general.

If you have any questions, comments, or personal experiences to share, feel free to leave them below.  I look forward to hearing from you! 🙂

6 thoughts on “What is Website Bounce Rate – High or Low, Which is Better?

  1. Ronnie Jordan

    Thanks for that info. I was one that thought all high bounce rates meant trouble. That makes it not to hard to swallow. I’m sure we all experience it who has a website sometimes. You were very helpful. Thanks.

    1. Christian Dorius Post author

      Hey, Ronnie. Thanks for stopping by and reading the article.

      Yeah, I know what you mean about not as hard to swallow. I still cringe a bit when I see my bounce rate percentage getting a little too high. 🙂

  2. Grace

    Thanks for your explanation on Bounce Rates…. I always get so confused and the way you explained it here is perfect! I can now see the difference being good and bad bounce rates, and more importantly how they can be good or bad depending on the type of page… which I never realized before! I’m so glad I found your page!


    1. Christian Dorius Post author

      Hello, Grace. I’m glad you found this post useful.

      I know that there are a lot of people out there that don’t know the difference between the two types and just automatically think high is bad and low is good. Hopefully more people read this article just like you and get it all sorted out! 🙂

  3. Marlaine

    Really helpful stuff! Thanks! I think I’m going to have to go and do some editing on some of my posts now – especially with regards to your tip about 1/100 for internal linking. I like to add a “see these other related posts” at the bottom of my articles AND interlink in the article itself – I think I’ve overdone it on some.
    Your explanation on how low and high bounce rates can both be good was very informative – I’m interested now to get into my analytics account and see how I’m doing in a different light.
    Thanks for a good post!

    1. Christian Dorius Post author

      Hey, Marlaine! Glad you made it over to read this post. It sounds like you got some good information from it, which is always good for me to hear from visitors. I’m fairly certain that when you do go back and look at your analytics this time, things will look much different. 🙂


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