Bounce rate: definition, relevance for SEO and measurement

The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a website who leave without taking any action, such as clicking on a link, filling out a form or making a purchase. It is an important key figure for monitoring website performance - especially in terms of SEO.

Why is the bounce rate important for SEO?

According to Google, the bounce rate is not a ranking factor. However, it does have an indirect influence on the ranking of websites.

It is an important indicator of the quality of other ranking factors that are of greater importance - in particular loading speed, user-friendliness and mobile optimisation. If good or poor values are achieved here, this is usually reflected in the bounce rate.

The bounce rate also inevitably has an impact on the dwell time (time on page). Taken together, these metrics provide information on whether a favourable or less favourable user experience is being created. User experience is an increasingly relevant indicator for Google's ranking.

A high dwell time and a low bounce rate indicate that your content is appealing and is used intensively. Google rates this absolutely positively.

How is the bounce rate calculated and how high should it be?

The bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of single page sessions without actions by the total number of sessions on the website and then multiplying by 100.

For example, if 100 users land on your website (total sessions) and 5 of them leave a web page without doing anything (single page sessions), the bounce rate is 5 per cent.

  • Bounce rate = single page sessions / total sessions x 100

In Google Analytics and other tools, you can view the bounce rate in specific reports. Google Analytics offers the sections Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions (in the left menu bar).

The average bounce rate is between 40 and 50 per cent, although this always depends heavily on the industry and the origin of the visitors (channels). E-commerce sites, for example, have significantly lower average bounce rates (20 to 40 per cent) than blogs (up to 90 per cent). Among the channels, email generally has a very low bounce rate (around 35 per cent). Display ads have the highest bounce rates (around 55 per cent).

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