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What Does Your Bounce Rate Mean?

bounce rate

When you rank higher in search results, you get more clicks. Ideally, many of those people will stay on your website. Some of them, however, are going to quickly leave and return to the search results page. This is known as "bouncing" and it's a problem because it often signifies that your site did not give them what they were looking for. You ranked well for SEO and for the terms that they were using, but your site did not deliver in some fashion. The percentage of users who quickly leave your page is reported in analytics as your bounce rate. High bounce rates can undercut your efforts and it's important to ask yourself what is going wrong.

Typical Bounce Rates

Bounce rates vary massively, but they typically run from 26% to 70%. If the rate is between zero and 25%, that's just unrealistic and it usually means something on the page is broken. The same is true if the rate is very high, such as 70% or above. You should fall into the middle. From 56% to 70% is considered unusually high, but it does happen. The sweet spot, where you're doing really well, is from about 26% to 40%. The average, though, starts right around 40% and runs up to about 55%.

Now that you know what the rate should look like, let's consider why it may be too high.

Broken Pages

First off, something could be very wrong if you have a massive bounce rate. Maybe the page that you ranked for was actually left partially blank. It runs well for the search engines, but people who visit the site aren't ever going to get what they need. The first thing you want to do is to check the pages yourself, as if you were a visitor, to make sure everything works as it should. Sometimes it's just a simple error, one broken line of code, that can cause the entire problem. It's not your content, your products or your branding. It's just the page itself.

Slow Pages

Another issue is when your site, for one reason or another, loads too slowly. In the early days of the internet, people may have waited for a minute or much longer to see if it would load. In 2020, though, you likely just have a few seconds. Once a page takes five seconds, most people are going to bail back to that search results page. They may just figure that your site is never going to load or they may refuse to take the time to find out. Either way, they're moving on to your competition. The actual page may be incredible, but, when it takes too long to load, most people are never going to see it.

Misleading Pages

Once you get the pages working properly from a technical standpoint -- they load quickly and nothing is broken -- you have to consider whether they are misleading to the reader. If they are, it may take people a little longer to bounce, but it's going to have a massively negative impact on their experience. They searched the terms they chose for a reason. If your site doesn't deliver what they need, they'll move on.

For instance, maybe you misjudged how your audience would use certain terms. Perhaps you always wear designer brands and feel content paying hundreds of dollars for a pair of shoes. When you start your own shoe company, you sell all of the pairs for around $100. You consider that a steal -- you're still trying to create a name for the company, after all -- and you optimize for terms like "affordable shoes" or "budget shoes." Your audience, however, considers $100 shoes to be expensive. When they want budget options, they're looking to pay under $50. They may like the listing initially and it may rank well, but, as soon as they see the actual products on your page, they'll know this is not the right site for them. Intentional or not, your site is misleading.

Fixing Your Bounce Rate

These are just a few reasons for potentially high bounce rates. If you're running into these issues, please get in touch with us at Content Customs. Our expert teams can help you figure out exactly what is going on, and we will work hard to correct the issues for you and get things back on track.

Jonathan Schlosser

Posted on 22nd July, 2020 by Jonathan Schlosser

About Jonathan Schlosser

Jon Schlosser is a professional writer and SEO specialist living in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

View all posts by Jonathan Schlosser