If you spend at least five minutes reading about Google Analytics and SEO, you will learn that having a high bounce rate for your blog is bad and you should do all you can to lower it. But are they really telling you the truth? Well, I don’t think so, and I’ve stopped worrying about it. Here’s why:
What is bounce rate?
The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that land on your site and then leave without clicking on another post or page on your site. You will often hear that a high bounce rate means that people didn’t find what they were looking for or didn’t like your site, but it’s not always true.
In Google Analytics, a bounce is a one-page visit. It doesn’t take into consideration the time people spend on your page. If people click on the browser’s back button or open a link in another tab, they also bounce, even though they are still on your website.
So if you have infinite scroll on your blog and a visitor spends hours on it reading all your posts and then closes the tab, it’s considered a bounce.
How to check your bounce rate
You can view you overall bounce rate under Audience > Overview or find more details under Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages. Under Behaviour, you will see not only the bounce rate but also how much time people spend reading your posts and pages.
If your bounce rate is really low (under 20%) or really high (over 95%), it might be because you have installed Google Analytics twice or it’s not installed correctly on your site. To find out if you have installed it twice, open your blog in your favorite browser, go to the Developer tools and choose Page Source (Firefox) or right click and View Page Source (Chrome). Search for “analytics” and make sure the script only shows up once. Also, check your plugins and make sure you don’t have more that one Analytics plugin.
Is a high bounce rate bad?
As I said in the beginning of this post, a lot of marketing experts will tell you that a high bounce rate is bad. The truth is, it’s bad if you have an e-commerce website or service website. That means viewers are not interested in your products or your website is not that great and you should work on lowering your bounce rate and improving your site.
According to Hubspot, the average bounce rate for blogs is between 70-98%. But bloggers often try to keep their bounce rate under 50% and it might be impossible for some of them.
If you are a blogger, a high bounce rate is not bad and you have to look at the whole picture. Do you know how people find you? What keywords they use and what pages they land on? How long do they stay on those pages? Do they subscribe to your blog or follow you on social media?
Some people might find your blog through Google or Pinterest. If they are looking for a specific post, they might leave your blog without reading other posts. Others might follow you on Bloglovin or Feedly and will only read your latest post.
Not every visitor will browse your entire site and that’s fine. You should only worry if your homepage has a high bounce rate or if people don’t click on your call to action buttons.
Why I don’t worry about my bounce rate
When it comes to my blog, I have what many would consider a high bounce rate and I don’t really worry about it. Most people find my blog through Google and Pinterest and my most popular posts are my Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials.
Many people come from Google and want to learn how to make a pattern or a texture. They try one of my tutorials and then leave the site. Some of them might come back later or follow me on social media. A very small number will look at other tutorials or read other posts.
One of my most popular tutorials has a very high bounce rate of 90%. That means only ten out of a hundred viewers click on other links inside the page. But people spend 6 minutes on average on that page, so I know that they try that tutorial and they learn something new. And that’s exactly why I write these posts.
How to reduce your bounce rate
If you do want to lower your bounce rate, here are some things you could do:
- attract the right audience: don’t just stuff your posts with keywords to increase your viewers, but use the right keywords that match your content.
- write posts that are relevant to your target audience: look at your Analytics to see what your readers love and write more similar posts.
- improve readability and navigation: make sure your website is user-friendly and add headings and paragraphs to your posts to make them easier to read.
- add relevant internal links inside your posts and pages: try to direct your readers to your older posts by linking to them inside of popular posts or add related posts at the end of each blog post.
- improve your site’s design: sometimes if you have a high bounce rate and people don’t spend a lot of time on your website, it’s because they don’t like your site. The design might be outdated, your site might not be mobile responsive, or you might have too many pop-ups.
- improve your website’s speed: slow loading times are bad for SEO and will affect your bounce rate. Your viewers don’t have time to sit around until your website loads and they might click away before seeing your content.
In the future, if someone tells you that your blog’s bounce rate should be under 50%, just ignore them. If your traffic keeps growing and people follow you on social media and subscribe to your blog, it means you are doing a great job even if you have a high bounce rate.
Do you worry about your bounce rate? What do you do to keep visitors on your site?