Why is My Bounce Rate So High? (6 Potential Causes)

Bounce rate, as it pertains to websites, is the metric used to determine the percentage of visitors who leave a website after only viewing a single page. Every site owner has gone through a time where they’ve thought, “why is my bounce rate so high?”.

In this article, we’ll be going over the causes of high bounce rates and covering the steps you need to follow in order to get a strong, healthy bounce rate.

What is Bounce Rate?

As we covered in the introduction, bounce rate is simply a metric that measures the percentage of visitors who drop out of the site (or “bounce”) after viewing one page.

Bounce rate is typically used to determine how “engaging” a website is, or in other words how well it can retain visitors. A high bounce rate can indicate that users aren’t satisfied with the content, while a low bounce rate is generally an indicator that your website is doing rather well.

Do Bounce Rates Matter?

So, you might be asking yourself, do bounce rates really even matter? Do they affect my rankings at all? In a sense, yes.

Although Google keeps its ranking algorithm a secret, they’ve explicitly come out and said that bounce rate specifically does not influence rankings. However, this is only partially true.

You see, even if bounce rate itself isn’t a ranking factor, other metrics like time-on-page are. If your bounce rate is high, there’s a good chance other metrics like time on page are also performing poorly, thus bringing down your site’s rankings in the SERPs.

To put it simply, a high bounce rate often correlates with poor or unengaging content, thus reducing time-on-page and other related (and impactful) metrics.

What Is a High Bounce Rate?

Now that we know that bounce rates matter, what exactly would be considered a bad bounce rate?

There’s no simple answer to this, as the average bounce rate varies vastly by industry and, even, the type of website you have. E-commerce websites have a vastly lower bounce rate than blogs, for example.

What is the Average Bounce Rate?

Luckily, we can turn to a recent study by CXL on bounce rate statistics to get a rough idea of what an average bounce rate for websites looks like.

The normal bounce rate for e-commerce and retail websites hovers between 20-45%. B2B websites tend to run an average of 25-55%. Blogs, finally, score between 65-90%. Between niches, we see huge swings (real estate, for example, tends to have a 20% lower average bounce rate than food and drink).

For this reason, it’s very tough to nail down an actual average bounce rate. As a benchmark, try to aim for something below roughly 75% if you’re blogging.

What causes High Bounce Rate? (6 Potential Causes)

So what exactly does a high bounce rate mean for your website? As we can see in the benchmark study, bounce rate percentages vary vastly by industry, so there’s a chance your website might not be suffering as badly as you think. However, it’s important to always try to lower your bounce rate if possible.

As you might expect, there’s a myriad of reasons your bounce rate might be low. Let’s dive into six potential causes.

1. Slow Loading Speeds

The first, and arguably the biggest reason readers will click away from your site would be slow loading times.

While some people are more patient than others, users will typically only wait a couple of seconds before hitting the back button.

As internet speeds across the world get faster and faster, potential readers have less and less patience for slow loading speeds.

2. Poor Design/Layout

The next immediate reason would be a poor user experience (design/layout). Think of how many times you’ve opened a site and gotten bombarded with dozens of ads, sidebar links, pop-ups, etc., and just closed it and went back to Google search.

Even if a site’s content is excellent, many potential readers will back out immediately if it’s ugly, uninviting, or obnoxious.

3. Bad/Unhelpful Content

If your site is fast and (aesthetically) pleasant to look at, then your content might just be unhelpful or poor.

If a reader clicks through to your site and discovers an article full of broken English, poor formatting, or obviously AI/low-effort content, they’ll back out and find a better-written site to read.

4. Misleading Meta Titles

Next, going hand-in-hand with unhelpful content would be inaccurate or misleading meta titles and descriptions.

Meta information is what is shown on Google search (the title and description of the article in the SERPs) and it’s the only indicator to potential readers what the content is about.

If your meta descriptions vastly oversell or inaccurately portray the content on a page, readers will back out because it wasn’t what they were expecting to find.

5. Not Enough Interlinking

Now, you may actually have great content, strong and friendly design, and accurate meta titles, but people may be leaving the page because there’s simply no call to action telling them to read more.

Interlinking is the concept of linking between various pieces of relevant content in order to both provide the reader with more context and to also keep them on your website for longer. If there’s very little or no interlinking, they don’t “know where to go next” and will likely leave.

6. Do Pop-Ups Affect Bounce Rate?

Finally, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: pop-ups. As long as the internet has been around, pop-ups have been frowned upon. They’re great for converting users into email lists, sign-ups, etc. but terrible for user experience.

So yes, pop-ups certainly affect bounce rate, but a balance can be struck between affecting bounce rate and driving conversions.

How Do You Fix a High Bounce Rate?

Now that we know why poor bounce rates happen, let’s talk about the steps we can take to get to a healthy bounce rate.

Speed Up Your Site

First up, determine if site speed is the issue. Run some of your pages through tools like PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix and check to see if all the metrics look good. You should always try to aim for “green” scores on Google’s speed test tools. Make sure your CWV (core web vitals) are also looking strong.

Boosting site speed is an entire rabbit hole in itself, but there are a few simple steps you can take. Compress images (using plugins or online tools), ensure you’re working with a good hosting company, use a CDN (content delivery network), and utilize speed plugins.

Strong UX (Design/Layout)

Next up, make sure your user experience is strong, inviting, and friendly. Try to minimize pop-ups (add a greater delay if you must use them) and clean up your sidebars.

Make sure your menu system is accurate, clean, and not overwhelming. Don’t have too many flashy elements and large, obnoxious email sign-up boxes everywhere. Websites used to be cluttered and chaotic (remember the early 2000s?), but these days they’re streamlined, clean, and organized.

Accurate Meta Information

As for meta information, make sure what’s showing up on Google search accurately represents the content potential readers will find on your website.

If you have an article about feeding Pomeranian dogs, make sure your meta title and description say something like, “Best Ways to Feed Pomeranian Dogs” and not something misleading and generic like, “Dog Feeding Guide”.

Writing strong meta-information takes a lot of practice, and it’s worth taking the time to tweak titles and experiment. Keep an eye on both your CTR and bounce rate.

Strong (Relevant) Interlinking

Finally, make sure you’re on top of your interlinking game. Every single article should have links in it to other pages. Don’t spam the links, of course, as that’s bad for both SEO and user experience, but make sure to insert them wherever relevant and helpful.

As stated earlier, a strong interlinking system keeps users on your site longer, which in turn reduces bounce rate and increases time-on-page.


As you can see, having a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily unfixable. It can be frustrating, but by stepping back and taking a deep dive into your site, you can determine the issues that are driving away visitors.

Make sure your site is fast, the user experience is friendly/inviting, the content is accurate and strong, and, finally, that interlinking is relevant and helpful.

By following these steps, you should be able to lower your bounce rate and get your site to a healthier point. Good luck!

Additional Content to Read

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Pierce Reiten
Pierce Reiten

Helping businesses increase sales and build a reputable brand image through SEO, quality website content, and creating a powerful content strategy. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you!

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