5 Reasons Why Your Website Bounce Rate Might Be So High

Ellie O'Connor May 3, 2023

Your website’s bounce rate is an essential factor when measuring a website’s optimisation and success  through analytics. If you are yet to take a deep dive into looking at your current bounce rate and what it means for your website, then this might be overdue.

Google’s definition of website bounce rate:

A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.”

Essentially, the website’s bounce rate is determined by single-page sessions, meaning that if users enter your site without moving onto any more pages or making further interactions on the existing page, then exit the website, this would contribute towards the website’s bounce rate. From our experience, this is usually measured within a 30-second window. If the user spends upwards of 30 seconds on a single page this will not contribute towards the bounce rate. If users flick onto a second page and leave within this 30-second window, this will not contribute towards the website’s bounce rate.

If you are experiencing a high website bounce rate, this is usually a sign of a more serious problem on your website that needs to be addressed. With this in mind, a low bounce rate is also a signal that the website is experiencing problems. So if you don’t want it too low, or too high, where should you be aiming for? And how would you begin to work toward this? There are some things to consider.

The importance of measuring website bounce rate 

Many websites neglect the importance of measuring their bounce rate. Your website’s bounce rate should be closely analysed if you hope to see your qualified traffic improve, in addition to your user’s overall experience. Although your website bounce rate is not a direct ranking factor, it is still an important metric that is considered when assessing a successful page. 

From Google’s perspective, if they can see that users are leaving your site immediately after visiting one page, this essentially gives the impression that the page is either not relevant for what the search is ranking for, or it simply does not provide relevant content for the search. This ultimately would flag to Google that your website should not be ranking for the search term, and therefore will prevent you from ranking high on the SERPs. Whether your site is built to make sales or generate leads, reducing your high website bounce rate should be one of your priorities if it isn’t already.

What each threshold means 

If you are conceited about your website’s bounce rate but are not sure as to which threshold it fits into, there are a few things to understand. 

Your website’s bounce rate is measured as a percentage out of 100. What you consider as a high bounce rate can be determined by what you are hoping to achieve, and also what industry your website is targeting. If the average bounce rate for your industry is between 40-60% and your bounce rate is currently at 80%, this may be a cause for concern and would require a deeper look into what is happening. Additionally, it’s important to understand that the average bounce rates between mobile and desktop differ, with mobile having the highest bounce rate on average across all industries at 51%.

Whilst you are getting a better understanding as to what your competitors and industry leaders are achieving with the website bounce rate, you can use the following thresholds to get an initial to understand

  • 25% or lower may indicate there is a tracking issue that needs to be addressed
  • 26 – 40% is considered a healthy bounce rate for optimal success
  • 41% – 55% is average depending on the industry 
  • 55% – 70% may be concerning but possibly can be average spending on the industry 
  • 70%+ is considered high and would require action to take place 

If your website’s bounce rate is too low it might require the help of a developer to inspect if there are tracking issues, and the same can be said for a high bounce rate. If, after inspecting your high bounce rate, there are no set-up problems, it would be wise to reflect on how well the website has been optimised. 

Why might you be experiencing a high website bounce rate

Aside from general tracking issues, some other factors can be contributing to a high website bounce rate. 

1. Poor mobile & desktop optimisation 

If your website is not both mobile and desktop optimised, this can be a huge contributing factor towards a high bounce rate. Users who click on your website should expect their user experience to be seamless and perfectly usability in both formats. If your website has not been optimised for both platforms, make sure that you take the steps to do so. As mentioned, bounce rate is typically highest on mobile, and this is largely due to the lack of effort that is made by many sites to ensure they are mobile friendly.

2. Lack of quality content 

In alignment with the Google EEAT update, websites now must have content that is relevant to their niche and also valuable for visitors of the site. If you are ranking for a search term, in which your content does not supply a sufficient response or solution for the search query, users will quickly recognise this and exit your page to find something more relevant to them, contributing to a high website bounce rate.

3. Slow loading time

If your website takes a long time to load, this will be a contributing factor to your load time. Users should not be waiting any longer than 0-4 seconds on your website to load, ideally a minimum of 2 seconds. If you have checked your website load speed and it currently exceeds this threshold, you should take action to make your load time faster. This can be due to some factors such as having too much unnecessary code on your website. Traffic will continue to bounce off your website if your page speed does not improve.

4. Inaccurate title or meta description

The titles and meta descriptions must be consistent and aligned with the theme of the website’s page or content. If your meta description does not accurately explain what the contents of the page users  click on are about, they will quickly bounce off the site and find a different site that is more suited to their wants. Make sure you accurately write your meta description and titles on the page and do not mislead users as to what the page entails. Being obvious and apparent with the page’s intention is the best way to keep traffic on the page. 

5. Poor web design 

Whether you manage your website’s content yourself or have a web design expert who manages the pages externally, the website should be well-optimised to give users a seamless experience of the site. If your website does not have easy navigation menus or does not offer a table of contents for long-form content pieces, you should make sure these are included in an effort to reduce the bounce rate. 

How you can begin to reduce your website’s bounce rate 

Considering the points, we can take the necessary steps to counteract the negatives and turn them to be positives. This means optimising your website for both mobile and desktop use, whilst also improving the website’s overall design with navigation bars for example. 

Additionally, a look into the website loading speed should be taken into consideration. Anything that exceeds 4 seconds would require a close look into what might be causing this long speed. Whether it’s unused coding or high photo resolutions on the images that require minimising to quicken the load time, this must be looked into. Finally, you need to make sure that the featured content site-wide is optimised and accurate for the page. Quality content that adds value to users is proven to lower a website’s bounce rate, and ultimately provide a more enjoyable user experience.

Final thoughts 

Bounce rate can be used to your advantage if accurately measured. A high bounce rate is not the end of the world and can be positive spending on the purpose of the website, however, if your bounce rate is an anomaly for your industry, this would be a cause for concern. Action must be taken if you hope to make positive changes, whether you improve your site’s loading speed or optimise the content site wide for a better user experience, there is lots of action that can be taken to reduce your website’s bounce rate. 

If you are experiencing a high website bounce rate, or find that it is unusually low, then contact our team to discuss how we can help. We can offer services such as website audits to identify where issues may be occurring on your site, as well as conversion rate optimisation to see if there is anything within the way users access and use your site which may be putting other users off when they initially land on a page. 

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