Bounce Rate: What is It & Why is It Important for your Website?

bounce rate in online shops

Bounce rate is an important index that is particularly helpful when it comes to optimising your website. For many, however, this key statistic causes confusion. In this article, we’ll answer the following questions: what is considered a “good” bounce rate? How do you calculate your website’s bounce rate? And how can this figure help you optimise your website?

What is bounce rate?

Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of website visitors leaving a website after only having visited a single webpage.

To put it in other words, when talking about bounce rate, we refer to visitors ending their session on the website without having clicked anything and without having visited other pages of the same website.

For example, a bounce rate of 50% indicates that one out of two visitors leaves a website without looking at any other page.

Good to know: The bounce rate shouldn’t be confused with the exit rate. The exit rate refers to the proportion of visitors who have left a website after having visited it. It therefore describes the exits of an individual page divided by the number of all views on this page.

In order to improve the bounce rate of your online shop, you need to get visitors to your website to visit other pages on your website. To achieve this, among other things, you will have to optimise your website’s internal linking.

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Why keep track of your website’s bounce rate?

As a key performance indicator (KPI), bounce rate provides you with lots of useful information about the performance of your website or online shop.

It helps you understand your website's visitors and potential customers better, including what they think of your webpages.

Analysing and evaluating bounce rate usually raises questions in terms of the user experience (UX) of the respective site, the page speed, the relevance of the content and internal linking between pages, the effectiveness of calls to action, etc.

It will allow you to identify the elements on your webpages that cause website visitors to leave the page. Once you know this, you can then optimise these elements.

By keeping track of your bounce rate, you can observe your pages’ overall bounce rates, and individual page's bounce rate, filter it by device used, and even by region. This way, you’ll be able to efficiently optimise your website or online shop.

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How to calculate your website’s bounce rate

The bounce rate is calculated like this: divide the number of visitors that only viewed one page by the total number of visits to the site. Then multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage.

For example, if out of 1000 visits, the site records 520 sessions where there is only one page viewed, the bounce rate is (520/1000) x 100 = 52%.

Depending on what you wish to analyse, it is possible to apply this formula to the entire website or to individual pages, filtering it by a specific period of time.

The good news is, however, that you don’t have to perform this calculation manually.

man pointing at 3D chart

With just a few clicks, you can find this information in Google Analytics:

  1. You can check the total bounce rate in the tool by selecting:
    Audience ➡️ Overview.

  2. To filter the bounce rate by device, go to:
    Audience and then to Mobile Device ➡️ Overview.

  3. The bounce rate for individual pages can be checked under:
    Audience ➡️ Behaviour ➡️ New vs. recurring.

  4. Find out the bounce rate according to region:
    Target group ➡️ Geographical data ➡️ Location.

In general, a high bounce rate isn’t particularly considered a good sign. For this reason, we recommend website operators and all those involved in e-commerce to try to keep this index as low as possible.

However, whether a bounce rate is qualified as “good” or “bad”, always depends on different factors.

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According to research data provided by siegemedia, on average, the bounce rate of all types of websites is 50.9 %. In other words, generally speaking, one out of two users doesn’t visit more than one page of a given website.

For online shops, on the other hand, the share of users leaving the website after viewing only one page usually is around 54.5 %.

Nonetheless, other studies suggest that the bounce rate of a website greatly varies and depends on the type of website, the industry, the type of device used to access the page etc.

The bounce rate of a blog, an online shop, and an online forum can be very different.

A study by Contentsquare also found that mobile users (49%) had a higher bounce rate than those using visiting a webpage with a desktop device (45%).

According to SEO platform SEMrush, ideally, your website’s bounce rate should be between 26% and 40%.

A share of 41% and 55% users leaving your page is still considered a good bounce rate, whereas a bounce rate of 70% and more could negatively impact your business.

But don’t worry too much about these numbers! As we mentioned before, there is no “good” or “bad” bounce rate. We only wanted to give you an idea of the average bounce rate.

After all, bounce rate isn’t the only factor that reflects the performance of your website. Several factors must be taken into account when evaluating the bounce rate, including the type of website and the purpose of each page.

Keep in mind that the most important thing to know is whether the visitors' expectations were met when they visited your website (page).

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How to evaluate & improve your bounce rate

Before trying to reduce your website’s bounce rate, you need to understand why it was high in the first place. To do so, here are some things you need to take into account.

#1 Avoid click baiting

Click baiting is a technique often used in the online world to get people to visit your website.

In the context of bounce rate, we refer to click baiting in terms of misleading meta titles and meta descriptions.

Both the meta title and the meta description of a website are displayed in the results page of search engines. Ideally, they summarise or promote the content of the page that is linked. This way, users will know what to expect when clicking on the link.

example of meta-title and meta-description in google search results

In this example, the meta title is clickable ("How to Write Great...") and the description is directly below it. (Source: Google)

Therefore, to avoid click baiting and creating false expectations for search engine users, make sure to optimise your meta tags.

Be careful not to overdo it with misleading metadata, but still encourage potential customers to visit your webpage.

If your pages don't meet the expectations of potential customers, users will visit your website, but also quickly leave it again.

#2 Internal linking

Can users easily navigate through your website and move from one page to another? What about the category page: can potential customers access the product pages via the category page?

When it comes to the navigation of your page, everything should be as user-friendly and intuitive as possible.

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If website visitors find it hard to move around your sites, they most likely will abandon their session on your website or in your online shop and leave your site.

As we already stressed before, internal linking is something that every website needs to constantly optimise and keep in mind.

Make sure you allow for an easy navigation. If you sell many products, then implementing breadcrumbs can lead to more clicks as well.

#3 Web design

When it comes to assessing the credibility and trustworthiness of a website, three out of four internet users think of the web design as an essential criterion.

If your website doesn't look professional, you will quickly lose potential customers.

Thus, to prove your brand's trustworthiness to potential customers, make certain you choose a sufficiently large font size. Also, use high-quality graphics and images.

Also, try to avoid aggressive colours and an excessive use of banner ads and pop-ups.

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#4 Page loading speed

According to Google, the loading time strongly impacts the bounce rate of a page.

1 to 3 seconds is enough to increase the bounce rate by 32%. At 5 seconds, this rate can even reach 90%.

Therefore, it is important to improve this parameter in order to reduce the bounce rate of your website or online shop.

#5 Useful and relevant content

Users visit your website to find relevant answers to questions they have or to discover a product they like.

If your website’s content doesn’t meet these expectations, they will most probably decide to visit another website and perhaps even buy from your competitors.

Only create useful an relevant content. This doesn’t only apply to blog pages, but also to product pages, your About Us page, etc.

#6 Mobile-responsive pages

Most people nowadays use mobile devices to surf the internet.

Hence, if your website is not properly displayed on smartphones or tablets, this can be the cause of a “poor” bounce rate.

To improve your pages’ bounce rate, we recommend you ensure that all of your pages are mobile-responsive and mobile-friendly.

In other words: make sure all of your website pages are properly displayed on all devices.

These 6 tips will not only help you improve your bounce rate, but also help you in terms of SEO (search engine optimisation) and therefore optimise your website’s ranking in the Google search results.

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This article was originally published on our French blog: Taux de rebond : qu'est-ce que c'est, comment le calculer et l'améliorer ?

Guest Author Olivier Clémence

Guest Author Olivier Clémence

I'm Olivier Clémence and I help e-merchants boost their sales through natural search engine optimisation and the P² method I've created to reach the top rankings in Google.

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