17th November, 2022

Have you noticed that your website has a high bounce rate and wondered why that might be? Find out the common reasons this may be happening and how you can fix this.


What is a bounce rate?

Google Analytics defines the bounce rate as single page sessions divided by all sessions – so essentially this is the rate at which a user goes on your website and only views a single page before clicking back off it again.

This means that Google Analytics doesn’t receive any trigger from the visitor as they have made no engagement with the landing page.

Measuring  your bounce rate means that you can essentially “measure” the quality of the webpage as well as the quality of the audience landing on the page.


Is bounce rate a ranking factor?

In this post, the bounce rate discussed is the bounce rate in Google Analytics. Google have repeatedly confirmed that they do not use Google Analytics data to rank websites however, some search marketers believe the contrary and that it is, in some way, a ranking factor. But is there any validity to these claims?

Backlinko.com released an article where they stated that an industry study found that there was a correlation between first page Google rankings and bounce rate. Later that same year, SEMrush backed up this claim by saying, “Bounce rate is an important ranking factor.” however, they cited no evidence to back this up. Rand Fishkin, the founder of MOZ, also shared similar opinions when he tweeted, “…Google uses (relative) bounce rate (or something that’s pretty darn close) to rank websites.”

Despite these claims however, there are many reasons that Google wouldn’t use bounce rate as a ranking factor, two major ones include:

– Not all websites use Google Analytics
– Bounce rate is easily manipulated

So whether you do or don’t believe that it is a ranking factor, measuring your bounce rate is important for other things than just ranking – it can measure how engaging your content is on your page and whether it is fulfilling the user’s requirements. A high bounce rate could suggest that you need to improve the user experience on your website.


What are the reasons for a high bounce rate?

1. Slow to load page – a slow to load page can be a big bounce rate factor. Users want the information quickly and wont wait long for it, interestingly studies have shown that 9.6% of visitors bounce when the page’s load time is 2 seconds and this increases to 32% of visitors when the page speed is 7 seconds.

2. Misleading title tag or meta description – whatever your page is advertising in the SERP, the content needs to match this. Don’t try and advertise your page for something that it isn’t – for example, don’t advertise your page as an ‘ultimate guide’ if it only has a couple of paragraphs.

3. Technical error – if a user gets to your page and it is either a 404 or a blank page, they won’t spend the time trying to find a working page on your site, they will simply bounce of the page and use a different site. Crawling your website and fixing all the 404 pages will help reduce the chance of this happening.

4. Coming from a poor link on another website – sometimes a link may be placed on another website pointing to your own which may be linked on anchor text which is nothing to do with what your page is about. It is worth going through your banklink profile and disavowing these links.

5. Poor quality content – users may be bouncing from your page due to the content being very poor and not answering the question they want answered. It is worth going through your content from the eyes of the user and asking “is this information useful?” If it isn’t, it may be time to update your content.

6. CTA heavy features – this can mean too many ads, pop-up surveys, and email subscribe buttons. These can be time consuming for the user to get through and often result in them just leaving the page. The best thing to do is choose the CTA that is the most important and don’t clutter the page with these.

7. Page isn’t mobile friendly – this can be tested by Google’s page insights tool (https://pagespeed.web.dev/). If a mobile user enters the site and it isn’t optimised for a mobile screen, this can make navigation difficult and result in them leaving the site all together.

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