Bounce Rate and How to Improve it

How to improve bounce rate

Bounce rate refers to website traffic that enters a site and leaves without carrying out any sort of action. A higher than average bounce rate indicates that there is an issue with your website, web page or web traffic. It is therefore considered to be a negative measure of website performance.

This measure, however, doesn’t impact your search engine ranking factor, a key part of SEO. This is mainly due to the behaviour we humans have adopted over time. We move across the internet in a more erratic way causing more website interactions to be recorded as a “bounce”. For this reason, it is illogical for search engines to go against what is becoming natural human behaviour.

So this measure acts as more of an indicator to see if you website, web page or web traffic is having the effect that you originally intended.

Industry Measures

There a few definitive measure of average bounce rate performance. In the past, Google published a benchmarking report that reported that the average bounce rate was 42.5%. The report included details of average bounce rate by country, by visitor type and by device.

Google Publication: Predicting Bounce Rates in Sponsored Search Advertisements

A well established “How to” guide

The best guide we can find is Confluent Forms – Guide to the meaning of Bounce Rate in Analytics. It has stood the test of time, first published in 2015 and last updated in late 2019.

Our advice on improving this measure

Include simple and accessible links to related information on your website. Think like Wikipedia and mirror their easy site wide navigation. This can be as simple as linking keywords in your blog posts and grow to be as complex as dynamically updating viewable content based on the visitor.

How to Implement a 301 Redirect

Arrow on the wall

Implementing a 301 redirect or more precisely managing 301 redirects is increasingly an integral part of technical SEO. This is especially the case when websites expand or migrate from one owner, host, domain or code platform. Over time, websites, if not properly managed, tend to get ragged. Duplicate content, broken links and out of date site maps tend to be errors that show up in your Google Search Console Tools or Moz crawl diagnostics summary. Firstly a 301 redirect redirects a browser from an old to a new location. Secondly, and most importantly for SEO, a 301 redirect tells search engines that your web page has been permanently moved to another location or address. As a consequence, the search engines transfer the PageRank, or link juice, from the old location to the new.

Using a CMS for your Redirect

If you utilise a content management system or CMS, there are quite often tools inside that allow you to arrange redirects. Check in your CMS tools section first. If you use WordPress or similar platform you may find a plug-in that will do the redirect. If not, you will have to arrange the redirect yourself, usually via a .htaccess file. In my case, I was working on two separate redirects. One to send traffic to The other to eliminate the index.html versions of my home page. There are good reasons for undertaking both redirects.

Redirecting to

There are two good reasons for implementing this redirect. Firstly, Google may treat the http:// only and the www versions of your site as two different sets of documents. Secondly here is a risk that you will build up two sets of inbound links. There are many ways of organising a redirect and the way selected depends on your operating system and server. In the most recent case, I was organising a redirect on an Apache server utilising Linux.

Redirecting to

My main reason for organising this redirect is a problem I have with web analytics. Quite often, web analytics will treat these two versions of the home page as two different pages. So you end up adding and diving all the time to get consolidated statistics for your home page. The second reason is more long term and affects link building. What happens, if people send links to a home page which is and you moved platforms? So that your home page became Without a redirect, the old page would become a broken link, losing all its link juice or PageRank. This redirect also applies to a redirect of .php or similar. But not .asp as this would be covered by the Microsoft IIS and is not covered here.

The 301 Redirect Code

Below, I show the code used for organising both redirects in the same .htaccess file. The redirects must be in this order. The .htaccess file is uploaded to the root directly of your website that contains your home page.

RewriteEngine On
# redirect index.htm and index.html to / (do this before non-www to www)
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*index\.html?\ HTTP/
RewriteRule ^(.*)index\.html?$$1 [R=301,L]
# redirect ->
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yoursite\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]

If you use this code you will need to change the “” to your exact domain, e.g. in my case. This code works for me on, the largest UK hosting provider. You may need to make several tries and depending on your web host wait for the new .htaccess file to become activated.