Understand Bounce Rate for Ranking Success

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In this second of our ongoing series of using Google Analytics to improve your web content, we’ll be covering how to use and understand bounce rate. For starters,bounce rate is simply the percentage of your total visitors who view only one page before exiting your site. A high bounce rate is considered an indication of low quality, and Google takes this rate into account as a ranking signal.

What is a high bounce rate?

Generally speaking, what is considered high will depend on what kind of site you’re running. Some say that a bounce rate above 50 percent is too high, and others say as much as 80 percent is acceptable. You’ll find what is considered acceptable for your site as your analysis continues.

Image courtesy of Google Analytics

Image courtesy of Google Analytics

Regardless of what you find acceptable, you’ll want to continually monitor it, and it’s always a good idea to reduce your bounce rate. A reduction in this metric is an indication, both to you internally and Google as well, that visitors are interested in your site content.

How to Find Bounce Rate

Open your Google Analytics account by signing into Analytics with your Google username and password. You’ll be able toaccess Analytics here, and then click the button in the top right called, “Access Google Analytics”.

Once here, look in the left-hand column where you’ll see the word “Acquisition”. Clicking “Acquisition” will expand into a section containing several sub categories. The first category you’ll see is called “Overview”.

Clicking on “Overview” will bring up a view containing the various traffic sources tracked by Analytics. More on these in a moment. See the image on your left for a screenshot of what you’re looking for.


Website Traffic Behavior

Google Analytics breaks your website traffic down into the following categories:



  • Organic Search;
  • Direct;
  • Social;
  • Referral;
  • Paid Search; and
  • Email.

Each of these categories has its own bounce rate associated with it, and each should be taken into account individually, meaning that 76 percent in one category may be healthy, but that same percentage in another category may be an indication of problems.

Organic search is traffic which comes to your site directly from a person seeing your website in a search result. Direct traffic is when a person types your website URL directly into the browser bar. Social traffic is traffic which comes from social media like Google+, Facebook or Twitter. Referral traffic visitors arrive on your site from another website. Those who visit your site from a paid online ad, such as an AdWords search ad are considered Paid Search. Email traffic, is not surprisingly, people who find your site via an email, generally an email marketing campaign.

Hummingbird and Bounce Rate

With Google Hummingbird comes an algorithm where social signals are more important than ever before. Given the significance of social media, you’ll want more of your traffic to be coming from social, and attempting to drive down your bounce rate from this source will grow in importance.

The reason you want to minimize bounce rate from social is that the lower your bounce rate, the higher Google will rank your web content because Google sees your content is engaging people. I.e., your social traffic is not only staying to read the content they arrived for, but also continuing on to consume further content.

Get Bounce Rate Under Control and Succeed with Google Hummingbird!

By lowering your website’s bounce rate you’ll be sending strong signals to Google that your content is engaging, and that people who visit your site find value in your content. It’s sometimes difficult to say what Google uses as a ranking formula, but one thing Google says over and over is that they will rank content people view as valuable. Provide this high-value content by using Google Analytics to further understand this important metric, and continue your ranking success with Google Hummingbird.

Learn how We Do Web Content can help you produce quality, engaging content that keeps users on your site. Call us today – 888-521-3880.