Understanding Bounce Rate

Category: SEO that Converts published on: 2/1/2016  by Brad Cowart

Many business owners neglect to track their bounce rate when reviewing analytics. This is due to misunderstanding the term—they believe bounces are negative. Yet your bounce rate reveals a lot about site usage, which can help you improve your site’s performance. Tier Strategies uses bounce rate (along with time on site and pages viewed) to quickly update clients on their site’s usage patterns.


Bounce rate represents the percentage of people who visit a site and leave after viewing only one page. The higher the bounce rate, the more people looked at only one page.

Are Bounces Negative?

On the surface it would seem that anyone who bounced had a negative impression of your site. After all, why would they leave if the site was helpful? In reality, there are many reasons why someone would bounce and still be considered a good prospect.

Perhaps they were interrupted or just had a short time to look and they’ll be back. Perhaps they were just checking your phone number or directions en route to doing business with you. Perhaps they read one page for five minutes, such as a menu or reviews. If you listed your contact information on every page (and you should), they could become customers after viewing just one page.

What is a Good Bounce Rate?

That depends on what type of site you have. News sites, review sites and click throughs from an ad campaign tend to increase the bounce rate, while ecommerce sites, sites with more information, and sites ranked higher using SEO lower that rate. Keep in mind that now, more than ever, users are skimming web pages.

From monthly reviews of our clients’ sites, we’ve learned that a 50% bounce rate is standard. While this percentage may sound high, consider the reasons listed above. Remember, too, that many people are quick to click; they may not fully review your ad or Google listing. These people who are “just looking” will increase your bounce rate. You may want to consider whether your site encourages engagement.

When our client’s bounce rate increases beyond the 50%, we spend time uncovering the cause. Is it due to an issue with one page? Is it a technical problem? Or is the whole site getting a high bounce rate? We review other metrics as well (time spent on page, pages visited, how the visitor arrived) and then make changes to lower the bounce rate.


With this knowledge, review your bounce rate. What does it say about site usage? What changes can you make?