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What You Can Learn from Bounce Rate & How to Improve It

Before we can fix our bounce rate, we have to fully understand what bounce rate is. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your website and leave without viewing any other pages on your website. If you look into your Google Analytics, you will see a percentage. If you’re average bounce rate, for example, is 75%, this means that 75% of the people who come to your website leave after only viewing the page they entered on, whether it was your homepage or an internal page.

What this all boils down to is the fact that your website isn’t retaining its visitors. People are coming to your site and either finding what they want but not anything else or not finding what they want at all. The key is to make sure that once visitors land on a page, they are drawn to visiting even more pages throughout your site.

Is Your Bounce Rate Really a Bad Thing?

Before we get started, I would like you to take a moment to think about the goals for your website to see if having a high bounce rate on your site is really a bad thing. I have seen some websites where the goal is not to have visitors browse endlessly through a maze of content, but instead to take a call to action. Calls to action that could lead a visitor off your website includes:

  • Calling your 1-800 number to speak to inquire about products or services.
  • Leading customers to product sales on another domain or network, such as if you sell products on eBay or Etsy.
  • Clicking on ad banners that pay per click or lead to affiliate product marketing sites.
  • Filling out a lead form that does not take the visitor to another page on your website for confirmation.

Essentially, if you have any goals that only require people to visit one page on your website, then you may not have to worry about bounce rate unless you are having far fewer goal completions compared to the number of people leaving your website after viewing a single page.

It All Begins With Google Analytics

Your first stop in figuring out how to improve your bounce rate is in Google Analytics. When you sign into your Google Analytics profile for your website, you are greeted with an average bounce rate. While you want this to go down, it isn’t the one you really need to look into. Here are some things you can learn from your bounce rate throughout Analytics.

Best “Sticky” Content

First off, you will want to drill down to your Content > Site Content > Pages (in the new version of Google Analytics).

Google Analytics Content Bounce Rate

Here you will see the pages on your website that have received the most pageviews within the last thirty days with their bounce rate. Here you can see that:

  • My blog’s homepage bounce rate is a little under 50%. This means at least half of the visitors to my homepage move on to additional posts or pages on my blog.
  • My most popular post this month on the Facebook Timeline profile has a bounce rate of almost 91% – after people read the post, they are satisfied (hopefully) and move on.

You can then sort the bounce rate by clicking on that column to see pages with the highest to lowest bounce rate. This information can help you determine:

  • Which content leads people to more pages on your website vs. which content is the first and last that people see.
  • Which pages on your site need improvement first – you will typically want to improve the bounce rate of pages with a high volume of pageviews. This way, the pages that drive the most traffic to your site will send the most visitors throughout more of your website.
  • Which pages you should check out as models for ways to keep visitors on your site longer – the ones with the lowest bounce rates probably have the best leads to other areas on your website.

Best Traffic Sources

Next, you will want to go to Traffic Sources > All Traffic.

google analytics traffic sources bounce rate

Here, you will see the traffic sources that have brought the most visitors to your website along with their respective bounce rates. What I can see quickly from this is:

  • and are my top referrers with low bounce rates. Visitors from these websites are more likely to dig deeper into my blog.
  • StumbleUpon is my strongest social referrer and has the lowest bounce rate compared to Facebook and Twitter-related sources..
  • Facebook, surprisingly, has the highest bounce rate as a traffic source.

This section can tell you which traffic sources bring visitors who will stick around longer on your site. It can tell you whether you are satisfying a particular visitor over another. In my case, I provide content that StumbleUpon users are enjoying more so than Facebook users. And it can tell you which traffic sources to focus upon if your goal is to keep people on your website.

Best Keywords

Diving deeper into your Traffic Sources, under Search > Organic, you can see which keywords have brought the most visitors to your website through organic search along with their respective bounce rate. You can even see which landing pages the keywords lead visitors to by clicking on the Landing Page link above the data, then selecting Keyword (under Traffic Sources) on the Secondary Dimension dropdown, resulting in this.

google analytics keyword landing pages bounce rate

This way, if you have different keywords leading to the same page, you can see which searchers are receiving the information they want on the related landing page, and which keywords are making them want to continue browsing your site based on the landing page content.

More Data in Relation to Bounce Rate

Throughout Google Analytics, almost every piece of data is linked to bounce rate. Continue perusing Google Analytics to find how demographics such as location, browser types, and even social engagement relate to your website’s bounce rate.

How to Improve Bounce Rate

So now that you’ve learned more about your content, traffic sources, keywords, and demographics data and how it relates to your bounce rate, your next question is probably how to improve bounce rate. Here are some great ideas!

  • Add links to more pages within your website in your content. Think about other pages that people interested in that piece of content will want to see, and link to them throughout the content and at the end in a “if you liked this, you’ll love this” kind of way.
  • Go beyond just product pages. Someone may not be ready to purchase a product, but they might just want to learn more about it. Instead of just having the sales copy, include some links such as a product manual, guides on how to use the product to achieve a specific result, what other customers have said about the product, or other similar ideas. Maybe it will keep the visitor on the site long enough to make the sale.
  • Add links to content everyone will love to your sidebar. If your design includes a sidebar that remains throughout your website, then include links on that sidebar that everyone would enjoy. For example, a new visitor could end up on any page within your website without knowing anything about you, so you could have an About Me / About My Company page linked to the sidebar. You could also have a “first time guide” to visiting your site, top content, most popular products, and so on, all of which would attract visitors deeper into your website.
  • Improve your content. If you notice the issue on some of your content isn’t just a high bounce rate but also a low average time on site (meaning people leave pretty quickly), then it might be an issue with your content not providing what the visitor wants. Be sure to review pages on your website with a high bounce rate and low average time on site and look at ways you could provide more information that would keep visitors on the page (like video) long enough to notice that there is more to your website without just immediately leaving.

Last, but not least, even if you can’t keep visitors on your website, you can do your best to ensure they will return by giving them links accessible throughout your website to your social media profiles, newsletter, or other online properties. If they leave your website but become a fan of your Facebook page or start following your Twitter account, you will still have a chance of bringing them back vs. if they leave and have no way to connect with you otherwise. It’s definitely something to consider if you don’t have these options already!

What other things have you learned from analyzing your bounce rate? Have you had any success in improve your bounce rates using the suggestions listed above or trying other things? Please share your experience in the comments!

About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing, including social networking strategies and blogging tips.

  1. Matthew Bennett Nov 01, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Phew! Finally a clear explanation of Bounce Rate and how to improve it. I knew it was important but didn’t know how it was measured or what to do with the pages that are doing badly. Some of these have a lot of content on and a good average time spent viewing them. Now I can relax about those and to work on the others first. Thanks Kristi

  2. I’ve never thought about the use of google analytics in that way! Also I suggest, in order to know how the users are interacting in this pages with low bounce rate (i can help to improve it) to install a heat map (i.e. crazyegg) so you can see what content/banner/call-to-action boxes are interesting to the people who visit that particular website and try to replicate the same in the others with higher bounce rate… Nice article, very clear and useful thanks!

  3. Hi Kristi,
    As someone who does all of my own SEO and behind the scenes stuff for my own site, your article has been a big help.

  4. i need help

  5. Bounce rate plays major role in improving keyword rankings on Google. As an SEO, I always try to decrease bounce rate of landing pages to improve keyword positions which finally helps to drive better traffic.

    Great Article Kristi. Thanks

  6. Michael Shmilov Nov 01, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Hi Kristi,

    Thanks for the useful and clear guidance.
    I was wondering about the traffic sources section; if we can see a very high bounce rate, combined with a short avg. time on site, should we consider removing the link, sending users to the site?

    Or the approach should always be keeping the traffic, and optimizing the site. Meaning, how important the avg. bounce rate?


    • Hi Michael,

      I have taken some of my content that has a high bounce rate and low average time on site and redirected it to a similar or updated piece of content. I’ve seen good results from doing that in terms of keeping visitors from particular traffic sources longer on my site.

  7. Dave Clements Nov 02, 2011 at 6:37 am

    I’ve never really been too fussed about my bounce rate, because I could go either way; I’m happy if my readers got what they were looking for, but if they also want to stick around and continue reading other articles, then that’s great too. My bounce rate tends to be about 80%, which I always thought was quite high, but it really does depend on your overall goals. Since I don’t really have any specific moentization goals, I don’t mind whether people come and go, or stick around.

    • It really does all come down to goals. Usually, when I see a high bounce rate in conjunction with a lengthy average time on a page (one of my articles currently has 90% but with 8 minutes avg. time one page), I feel pretty satisfied that they at least enjoyed the article. :)

  8. You’re welcome. I’m sure we’ll have an email marketing post here soon! :)

  9. Those are great tips and your link is a great resource Tim – thanks for sharing!

  10. J. B. Nippert Nov 09, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I am J. B. just turned 70 in August and have about one year behind me on the internet. I truly believed it was a waste of time at my age but I was wrong it is something I really enjoy now, at first I was scared to even send an email afraid of the unknown. As I grow in understanding an run across information like Kristi Hines delivers make the learning experience so much easier to understand. ( No Techie Talk) So many instructors can never bring the information down to the beginners level I guess they have forgotten when they were beginners. I had never paid any attention to Google Analytics before but after reading Kristi article I am going to make a point of learning about it.
    Thanks Kristi
    J. B.

  11. Bounce rate is something I’m always working on. Mine has improved significantly in the last six months, mainly because I added a Related Posts plugin and sprinkled links within my content to other older content. Having a list of categories or best posts on the sidebar has really helped also.

  12. Another nice post, Kristi.

    I was annoyed with my Total site bounce rate shown at the top of the table(Home page and individual pages combined).

    Then I realized my homepage bounce rate was in the low to mid 40% mark. So, thanks to your very clear explanation, I am not as stressed out as far as my high bounce rate for individual pages is concerned.
    Okay! So they will still need some working on, though.

  13. Hi,
    This is very useful documents about SEO and Google Analytivc, thank so mouch

  14. Great post :) thank you Kristi

  15. Astro Gremlin Dec 08, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Very comprehensive article on bounce rate and how to reduce it, Kristi. I use a plugin called Linkedin to show relevant articles (with photos) and have really improved my bounce rate.

  16. Jomson George Dec 10, 2011 at 4:43 am

    Since I am newbie, I have to learn a lot about SEO and also how to improve it. This will help me a lot, I will bookmark this. Thanks for sharing:)

  17. Very good information.Thanks!!! What should an acceptable bounce rate be at?

    • I found this quote on Wikipedia:

      “Google Analytics specialist Avinash Kaushik has stated: ‘My own personal observation is that it is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying. I stress that this is my personal analysis.'”

      Here’s the link:

      Hope that helps! :o)

  18. What improved my ecommerce site’s bounce rate from a 25% to around 1% was just making the default ordering of products by price (asceding) and not by product name (alphabetically).

  19. Hi, very nice article.
    Just one thing to remind, that if you have an event tracked within this landing page, the action been taken will show the visit as unbounce.
    We can even track mouse scrolling as an event so we can know if any engagment was accured.
    In the other hand, if we wnat to track events without leting them unbounce the visit, we can do it by adding additional code lines to the event tracking code.

  20. This was truly helpful. Would you explain the difference between bounce rate and % exit? Thanks!

  21. Raymond Parker Mar 01, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Thank you. This is the first article I’ve read that actually gives something to go on in terms of analyzing the data analytics provides.

    My site averages around 70% bounce. I’m not sure if this is a bad thing as I have quite a few DIY tutorial pages drawing traffic that probably bounces once they’ve learned how to solve the problem.

    Typically, these pages will have a bounce rate of 80-90% –though time spent on the pages indicates the content is well-recieved.

    I could probably improve my bounce rate further by adding more internal links and staying on topic on the blog … but I have a wandering mind. :-)

  22. Good Post Kristi!
    1 thing I want to ask here is, you wrote “My most popular post this month on the Facebook Timeline profile has a bounce rate of almost 91% – after people read the post, they are satisfied (hopefully) and move on.”

    I satisfy a user and he moves on (Leave the site). What if I want them to go to the order page and buy the product after reading that page? and if I see the bounce rate of over 74% with having 100 daily visitors on that particular page. What will you suggest?

  23. Lorelei Garnes Apr 16, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Great Article! Thanks for sharing.

  24. Thanks for clear and really helpful post, Kristi! One more thing you haven’t mention here that influences bounce rate much. Web design of a page can be the main reason whether people leave or stay on the page. Beautiful, usable and professional design can work wonders.

  25. Wow Kristi, a very nice detailed report on the #’s that are so often confusing. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I’ll be printing this out for future reference.

  26. Hey Kristi,

    I am not officially confused :-) Is a high bounce rate good or bad? The way I am thinking is this, hope it makes sence…

    1 – Q&A website. People type their question into Google and find your site in the serps, click through and within seconds get the answer they were looking for. So my guess is high bounce rate low time on site. I think this is a good user experience as they found what they were looking for?

    2 – Information website. People looking for a how to guide maybe. So my guess is high bounce rate high time on site. Again, that’s a good user experience as they must have read your guide and left?

    Suppose what I am trying to say is low or high bounce rates must dependant on which type of website you have?

  27. Michael Johnston Aug 07, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I have a free social site directed to entrepreneurs and investors, I would like to know if anyone would want to guest blog on my site. Thanks

  28. My site has an average bounce rate of 68% and I am getting worried as it seemed rather high. I appreciates your list of tips for improving bounce rate and I think I will try to put some internal links up on my sidebar and hopefully it helps. Thanks!

  29. if your content in the site is useful and informative to user who visits and also more internal linking will reduce the bounce rate.. you need to improve your content consistently for better bounce rate

  30. I have a different problem. Using traffic data I calculate the bounce off rate myself (Unique visitors/Unique Visitors that spent less than 10 second on the site), however the results is ridiculous about 7-8%. What would be the problem?

    Note: I don’t have the total visits time to leave data.

  31. What a relief! I thought I was going down. So it is not yet very important if my bounce rate is high if I am only concentrating on one page. What I should focus is organize and add more link going inside the site to make it more interactive.

    Really helpful indeed.

    Thank you.

  32. Hi Kristi,
    Improvement of the bounce rate has become a relevant issue. Thanks for sharing the above mentioned points, its really effective.

  33. Debbie Williams Jan 02, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you for your detailed explanation of bounce rates plus the suggestion of how to use this service/ brochure idea, I will implement that

  34. Hello,

    Is there a way to track whether a user clicks a link on each page? I have a link to Artists on most pages, each link is differnent. Can I drill down to know if the visitor has clicked the link?



  35. It’s a known fact that we know infinitely more about the universe than our own oceans. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are thousands of species of fish that we don’t know about. Some would probably be very shocking to us.

  36. Good article which highlights many simple, yet important, points. The point on simple navigation is especially important as people want to be able to find their information as quickly and easily as possible and a hard to use site will definitely cause most of them to leave.

  37. I have like over 80% bounce rate which is really high. The problem is, most visitors come from the search engines. I believe they’ve got what they are looking for in the post and then close the tab (isn’t that what most search engine visitors do?)

  38. Hi ! Thanks for your article.

    I just launched my website and my bounce rate is about 80% and I think I have an additional comment that can improve the bounce rate.

    May be if I target the people I want to talk in a better way they will spend more time on the site since the content is directed to them!



  39. my site bounce rate is 83.33% .what it means whether 83% out of total visitors on my website are going out . what is the major problem of high bounce rate ?

  40. If changing specific elements could enhance the result, create another version based on the given suggestions within the article and run an A/B test to see if there is any improvement with the new design.. just remember don’t disrupt all at the same time!


  41. Marius Lixandru Jan 19, 2015 at 8:12 am

    My bounce rate it 82,83% and i have a blog i want to reduce the bounce rate to 70% but this is a really hard work to do.

    • I don’t think that there’s some kind of magic solution to that problem. The bottom line is that people may come to your site through long tail keywords which may not relate that much to your pages. I

  42. Michael Robertson Apr 05, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks for this article.
    Bounce rate can be a misleading statistic if your site goals are not clearly defined.
    Thanks for the article!

  43. hi kristi
    Nice article on bounce rate. I totally agree with Arold, it can not be controlled because you cannot control people’s action on your site but you can help reduce it by linking to other valuable pages within your content.

  44. I am suffering with my bounce rate increasing due to spam bots. The top visitors to my site seem to be robots who turn up in analytics. I understand this is to get you to their site to see who is linking to you. It is very annoying and makes it difficult to analyse my genuine results. Is there anything that can be done about this?

    Many thasks


    • Hey Lisa,

      GA doesn’t track crawlers or bots on your website so it shouldn’t impact on you analytics at alll.

  45. Thanks for sharing this :) I would like to add few more things that can help to lower Bounce Rate :

    1) Open External Links in New window

    2) Decrease web page load time

    3) Make your blog mobile friendly.

    4) Avoid Pop Up Ads

  46. Kristi,
    An useful content. I have to admit, from point 1 (Is Your Bounce Rate Really a Bad Thing?) it made me thinking on ways to improve (or, reduce) the bounce rate. For a normal blog kind of website, what do you reckon could be a good bound rate?

  47. My website has good traffic but it has huge bounce rate. I hope things mentioned in the post will help me.

  48. Saurav Shastri Aug 26, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Thanks for this helpful blog. I learned many things and now I m going to implement them to reduce the bounce rate of my website.

  49. Hi Kristi

    It’s really a fact, Nowadays many bloggers are getting high bounce rates on their blog which is really a head ache for them.
    Due to high bounce rate, they aren’t able to generate sales. I am also one of them.

    Since last 4 months, I have been noticing that my blog is getting high bounce rate and my visitors are leaving my so frequently.
    They aren’t engaged with my content.

    So to solve this issue, I was doing research on it and searching for some best ways which I can implement to reduce bounce of my blog.
    While doing research, I have learn’t bellow points which can help to reduce bouce rate of the blog.

    1. Fresh & Helpful Content

    During the research, I was noticing few blog content and I found a big diffence in them.
    I have seen two blogs and one of them writing content just to sell their product and to drive traffic. The writer of that blog just writing articles based on keywords and their articles aren’t enough informative.

    On that blog, I only seen content which aren’t helpful to me.
    On the other side, the second blog is filled with awesome content.

    Articles on the second blog is completely eye catchy and even after reading their titles, I wasn’t able to resist myself from reading those articles. I read almost 4-5 articles there and they all are hub of helpful information.

    Difference which I noticed in between these two blogs is, 1st blog is only writing for sales and traffic But 2nd blog is writing just to help their readers.

    2nd blog was focusing on creating high quality content which can solve issue, which can create results.

    The writer of 2nd blog was giving brilliant solutions and writing in-depth articles.
    He was focusing on readership and building relationship with their readers.

    This was the big difference in these 2 blogs. & I learnt that content should be of such kind which can create results and solve issue. :D

    2. Updating Old Articles

    2nd thing which I learnt is, Updating old articles.
    I have learnt If we will not update old articles with fresh information then there would be high chances, the reader will surely leave our blog because they might not be getting what they really want.

    So updating articles with fresh information would be a technique to hold them and engage them on our blog. Right? :D

    3. Content Readability

    I myself never read those articles which have so long and thick paragraphs. I have seen some websites which writes so long and thick paragraphs which scare readers to read them.
    I also scare when I see such long paragraphs and I don’t read them.
    I always love to read short and clean paragraphs.

    So we should must improve our content readability so that readers can find it interesting and helpful. :D

    There are also some other points like improving blog design etc etc But I can’t mention all of them in single comment. :D

    Your article is really helpful to me and I learned so many points from you.
    Thanks Kristi for sharing such a great piece of content with us.
    Happy Blogging ;)

  50. I have a bouncerate of 80%!

    What i did:
    -I asked why to many people ,
    -tested many browsers and computers
    -looked in google analytics the bounce is the same on mobile/apple/pc/tablets
    -I’m writing quality dutch content nothing is stolen.
    -I dont have a blog that gives answes in 5 seconds

    So what do i do wrong?

    I just don’t see why

  51. Wayne Sullivan Nov 05, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Great post! I saved your blog site for later. I always get the bounce rate confused. I have a commercial cleaning company and I have a lot of words on one page. I suspect my customers are finding what they are looking for all on one page. My bounce rate is about 75% and average time on site is 2:07 minutes. I would think they are reading and maybe saving my website for later. I am still learning about seo though. Thanks for the post.

  52. Awesome post, thanks a lot. This question came to my mind: Is a lower bounce rate better than more users? Let’s say I have 100.000 users/day and a bounce rate of 65%. If I could manage to lower the bounce rate to 40% but lose 30.000 users, would I rank higher?

  53. Andree Thomson May 18, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Hi there, so if someone comes to my site, and checks out my webpage but on that page clicks an external link off to another site (reference, etc), then will that count as a bounce?

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