Just to recap, your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your site that leave it after looking at just one page. The definition of high varies from sector to sector, but in general a bounce rate of 26% to 70% is OK and nothing much to worry about.
If your bounce rate is lower than 25% something’s wrong somewhere; 26% to 40% is great going; 41% to 55% is OK, 56% to 70% is high-normal, but some sites will be quite comfortable here. If your bounce rate is more than 70%, you need to take urgent action.
Here are seven of the most common reasons for a high bounce rate, sudden or not.
Your pages are too slow to load
Google has always said it’ll look at site speed in its algorithm as slow pages mean a poor experience. Visitors don’t like slow sites and so they may leave. Monitoring and maintaining speed is a constant battle, so if you’ve taken your eye off the ball lately, you need to get back into the game.
Your content is just too good
Well, it’s everything your visitors need, on just one page. This is an art in itself, to be fair, but it might not be doing you any favours. If your visitors are spending a few minutes on this single page, then Google will give you the thumbs-up as it’s obviously good-quality content. If you’re looking to improve your bounce rate, though, then you could engineer a way for visitors to explore further once they’ve been wowed.
Some pages may be bouncier than others
If you have a few pages that feature just a quick call-to-action and the rest of your site is sticky, then you probably have nothing to worry about, as Google is smart enough to pick this up. It’s always a good idea to confirm that these bouncy pages are having this effect, though, just to be on the safe side and maybe tweak a couple of them.
Your metatags and descriptions are squiffy
If someone’s looking for dog leads and they end up on your feed-bowl page, they’ll come straight back out. This is easily fixed, obviously, but spend some time reviewing your metadata and title-tags to make sure there’s no other errors. Sometimes the titles are fine but the content isn’t matching the search queries, so that may need to be re-written.
You have technical errors
If you have a massive spike in your bounce rate and it seems that people are spending only a second or two on a particular page then they may be getting a 404 message or something similar. This is easily resolved, which is a good job because left unfixed, it can cause Google to drop the page pronto.
Your page goes to an affiliate landing-page
If you’re an affiliate to a business then the entire point of the page is to direct people to the merchant, so a high bounce rate is a good thing. Don’t worry too much, as Google can discriminate between rubbish content and a functional bounce (as it were). You can also adjust this bounce rate, after all, the page is doing what it says on the tin.
Your website is just plain poor
It looks like you time-travelled back to 1996, or there’s acres of wordage, or the layout is just weird. Get an honest and experienced friend or professional to give it a once over and brace yourself for the truth. It hurts, but it’ll set you free. It could also be that you haven’t optimised it for mobile; if not, why not?
You need short sentences, images and infographics to break up the text, headers and some white space to ease the eye.