How to Use Bounce Rate as a Metric to Improve Your Website Performance

You have a website. Money and effort has been invested in design, you’ve added content, it’s popular. You are still working hard to improve performance. Ever tried to measure it?

You might have tried but were scared off by different metrics and reports staring at you, confusing conclusions?

You have an answer now, ‘Bounce Rate’.

Definition for Bounce Rate: The percentage of single page visits. Or in detailed, percentage of web site visitors left from the entry pages itself without going any deeper into the site.

This is an important performance metric of a website page, revealing the quality of received traffic and effectiveness of the template including content. On PPC or similar ad campaigns, high bounce rates combined with shorter ‘stay length’ – period of time a visitor stays on a page- indicate click fraud.

How do you track Bounce Rate?

Most of the analytic tools provide Bounce Rate report, including Google Analytics.

How much is too much?

There is no definite threshold but anything more than 60-65% could be cause for concern. Although I must admit, there are harmless situations that exist which cause high bounce rates.

Some situations which create high bounce rates but pose no threat: There are several among some are:

  • When the visitor get converted from the landing page itself.
  • When the visitor is just looking for an information from the page –could be a link URL, to quote, an answer, a definition etc.
  • When the visitor clicks on your ads.

What to investigate on a high Bounce Rate?

Now here comes the real practice session. We have to analyze three possibilities listed below:

  • Traffic referrals
  • Visitor expectations
  • Landing page quality.

1. Traffic Referrals:

Segment your bounce rate report with traffic referrals. Figure out the top traffic referrals driving you poor quality traffic, taking high bounce rate as the metric. How important they are to your website?

Bounce Rate for Referrals

Try to avoid poor quality traffic sources and invest more time building good relationship with quality referrals.

If you think your traffic referrals are highly relevant, but produce high bounce rates, move on to the next step.

2. Visitor Expectations:

Bounce rate is highly influenced by the visitor expectations. Visitor expectations can be easily interpreted from the call-to-action elements of those referral website pages. Study what exactly made the visitors come to your website from those referrals – banners, searches, links, emails etc.

Bounce Rate and Visitor Expectations

For example, visitors searched for terms which are too generic to your website. Your pages are only satisfying a small percentage of those visitors. The bounce rate will obviously be very high.

Consider another situation. Your visitors are clicking on an old promotional banner on a referral website offering a discount price which is no longer valid. They land on your page and see that offer is no longer valid and exit.

Refine your visitor expectations by working on your keywords, ad copy, email campaign content, or whichever is creating it. You are done.

You couldn’t trace anything wrong in the above two possibilities. Move on to the next and that is your final check point.

3. Landing Page Quality:

Your referrals are relevant and the visitor expectations are matching what you offer. Then the quality of your landing page has to be questioned.

There are several methods to study the landing page quality, A/B testing and multi-variable testing are for example. You can also get support of heatmap tools such as crazyegg or site overlay option at google analytics for the same study.

Some more articles which can help you to improve the landing page quality:

101 Easy Ways to use Google Website Optimizer, Top Landing Page Tips from the Pros

A Word from the Author:
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14 thoughts on “How to Use Bounce Rate as a Metric to Improve Your Website Performance

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  2. Hey Andrew

    It’s working for me… Anyway feel free to use the contact page or mail to me at ‘kichus[at]’.


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  7. Great work!

    Thank you so much for sharing the useful information on Bounce Rate and Landing page quality, I really like it and looking forward to read more on it.

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