There was a time when bounce rate and average time on page were “nice to know” metrics. They showed up in your website analytics, but you probably paid far less attention to them than other SEO data points.
Times, they are a’changin’. Bounce rate and average time on page have valuable information to share with regard to website performance and user experience — and B2B marketers and web designers building and maintaining sites are paying close attention.
The question is not if or why bounce rate and average time on page metrics matter, but how to improve them on your site.
In this article we'll cover:
Hubspot’s definition of bounce rate is, “the percentage of people who land on a page on your website and then leave without clicking on anything else or navigating to any other pages on your site.” In practice, bounces look like this: Someone finds one of your blogs on a search engine results page (SERP), clicks through, reads the article, and then exits your site without visiting any other pages.
Average time on page is exactly as the name suggests — the average amount of time visitors spend on a particular page — and it reveals if they are actually reading your content. For instance, if the average time on page for a lengthy blog post is only 10 seconds, it’s safe to assume that most visitors aren’t actually reading the post.
Many factors influence bounce rate and average time on page, such as what kind of traffic your site is attracting and the SEO that’s been done.
The page type and the content it contains are also factors. If the page is largely informational without many links to other parts of your site, then a high bounce rate and low average time on page may not be too alarming. The opposite should hold true if the page is, for example, mainly a directory of links to your products and services.
The truth is, ideal average for time on page will vary. Some marketers state that their average time on page is between 2-3 minutes. Others dial into this metric using read time, which is averaged based on the number of words in an article and a general reader’s words per minute speed. In that scenario, a 40- to 50-second page visit is encouraging.
To get an idea of the variations in bounce rate, check out this graph created by Conversion XL showing the average bounce rate for various industry web pages.
In general, you should aim for a bounce rate below 40%. If it’s above 55%, you definitely need to look for reasons why people may be leaving your site and for ways to improve.
On the other hand, don’t let an extremely low bounce rate lull you into a false sense of security. An average bounce rate of 20% or less might reflect really engaging content, but it’s more likely an indication that there’s something wrong with your site analytics tool, such as a duplicate tag.
Don’t panic, but do investigate how you can remedy a high bounce rate and/or low average time on page:
To help keep these tips top of mind, our friends at Easelly made this infographic summary:
Improving your website's bounce rate and average time on page will ultimately improve your SEO. Check out our SEO Survival Guide for even more ways to improve your SERP rankings and website performance.