Confused By Google Analytics’ Bounce Rate?

First off, you’re not alone. Secondly, it doesn’t affect your SEO. Thirdly, don’t go changing your website’s content just yet!
There is a lot of confusion behind this metric in Google Analytics’ Dashboard, and it can send a lot of us into an anxiety attack wondering if there is something wrong with our websites or content. To put your mind at rest, there is little to worry about even if your Bounce Rate is as high as 80-90% in its default state.

Coming from a background in Design/Website Design SEO is something I try to put a lot of focus into, being a Photographer my website’s content (photographs etc.) is very dear to my heart. So when I first came across Google Analytics’ Bounce Rate, your first instinct is ‘Is there something wrong with my content?’, ‘Should I change my photographs/content to improve it?’. This can be very detrimental to your website/business because you might be replacing content on your website which is actually very valuable, but unknowingly you’re removing it thinking it will help.

What ‘is’ the Bounce Rate?

There are a number of descriptions you will find on Google for ‘Bounce Rate’ (BR), but the one that comes up at the top of Google’s list is most people’s understanding of what the Bounce Rate is, and why everyone fears it.

“Bounce Rate [noun]. The percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page”. “A rising bounce rate is a sure sign that your home page is boring or off-putting”. Comforting thought.

Should I be worried?

Short answer, no. There are many reasons for why you have a high bounce rate and/or it is rising, for example, you might only have a one page website or you have 1-3 pages but you have tailored your home page to be long and full of information, enough for most of your potential clients to get what they need from your one page.

Majority of photographers only have a small number of pages on their websites and have all of their photographs on their home page, potential clients keep coming back to your home page to look for your new content and then leave as that is all they needed to see, therefore raising your BR.

As we add variables, we can see that the Bounce Rate becomes very relative to your business, how you have tailored your website and what the purpose of that website is.

Should I be changing my website’s content?

This again is relative, like most things on the internet, what you need to ask yourself before changing your content is the following:

  • What do you want from your viewer? Is your website for information only or is it to sell products directly via your site?
  • Do you need your viewer to view more than one page on your website?
  • Does your homepage have/need a ‘call-to-action’ function, i.e., ‘Click-here to buy’. 
  • What average duration should your viewer be on your home page for?

Once you have answered these questions, you should have a better idea of whether:

  • Your viewers are behaving the way you want them to or not.
  • Something is missing from your content in order to guide your viewers to the action you require of them.
  • Your BR is good or bad, for you.
  • Changes to your content is necessary.

  • Is there a ‘good’ Bounce Rate?

    Sadly, like most topics concerning SEO & Analytics, the answer again depends on your needs and what that BR means to you.

    Something that can help determine whether a BR is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ BR is the ‘Avg. session duration’. This informs us how long the average viewer is spending on that particular page. Dependant on how long you think the average user would take to read your content, should give you an idea of whether it is a good or bad BR and whether you need to improve your content to lengthen their stay.

    Examples of ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Bounce Rates:

    Let’s start with the Bad:

  • If your Avg. session duration is 2-10 seconds and you have a lot of info on your home page that you want your viewer to see, then you could consider this a ‘bad’ BR.
  • If your Avg. session duration is along the lines of 2-5mins, but you want your viewers to move through the pages and buy something, then this would also be considered a ‘bad’ BR.
  • The Good:

  • Your Avg. session duration is 2-5mins and all of your info, including contact information, is on the homepage.
  • You are consistently updating your homepage (like photographers do with new images) and the Avg. session duration is long enough, in your opinion, for return visitors to see your updates.  
  • Can I improve my Bounce Rate?

    Yes, you can. But that might not always mean changing your content, although having someone you respect review your work is always a good idea, then you might need to consider it.

    There are ways to customise your settings/filters for your BR so that the results that are being shown are more relevant to you. You will find the settings to do this in your Google Analytics Dashboard. With these settings you can really narrow down your target metrics and make your BR relevant to your needs, which therefore will improve your personal Bounce Rate.


    So that is it, I hope this illuminates the dark and mysterious Google Analytics a little more for you. It is not something to be scared and worried about but a great tool to help us learn a little more about our site visitors. Let me know if you have any further insights!

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