Why a High Bounce Rate can be Good (and when you should ignore it)

March 13, 2019

First off, your Bounce Rate is not a factor for your Google page ranking and has no effect on SEO in general. In fact, a high Bounce Rate might mean that you're doing your online marketing really well.

Google defines Bounce Rate this way:

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.

These single-page sessions have a session duration of 0 seconds since there are no subsequent hits after the first one that would let Analytics calculate the length of the session.

Bounce rate | Analytics Help

If you have pages that cover specific topics or issues (like this blog), and links are shared on social media, forums or directly between users then you would expect a substantially high Bounce Rate. This is because the user has everything they need on the page they landed on - they won't be navigating to other pages. Even if they spend 20 minutes on a blog article, once they close the page it will be counted as a bounce.

This is also true of business sites that have a physical presence. Often their customer's will land on their site just to grab the business's phone number or email address, then close the site once they have it.

The most common scenario a high Bounce Rate can be a negative indicator is on an Ecommerce site. If your users are expected to browse and follow checkout steps, a high Bounce Rate may indicate you're either ranking for the wrong terms and products (meaning your visitors thought your site is what they were looking for, but on closer inspection it wasn't - so they just leave) or something technical is blocking them from continuing. `

However, even in this scenario a high Bounce Rate can still be good if you're running a complimentary blog to drive traffic to the site.

So it's best to ignore the metric altogether and instead analyze Behaviour. That is, track what users are doing on specific pages, how long they're spending on each, where they navigate to, where should they be navigating to but aren't.

A Bounce Rate tells you almost nothing outside the context of other more specific data points. And if you have more specific data points, your Bounce Rate is a useless number anyway.