“Bounce rate” is a term that may bring sports to mind, but it’s also a key thing to know about your website. It’s an important performance indicator that makes a big difference in the visibility and profitability of your business. Here are common questions and answers about bounce rate.

1. What Is Bounce Rate?

The definition of bounce rate is simple: it’s the percentage of visitors who visit a page on a website who leave without taking an action, navigating away without clicking anything or viewing another page. It’s different than exit rate, which accounts for visitors who leave your site from a certain page, without the page being the only one they viewed. “Bounce” is a good description for what happens — the visitor lands on a page on your site and “bounces” away to another site.

2. Why Does It Matter?

It’s important to track your bounce rate. Some web design pros assert that bounce rate is a leading factor contributing to where your site appears in Google search engine results. Whether or not that is literally true, the fact remains that if visitors depart from your site without interacting, search engines will pick up that your website was not what searchers wanted to find. Over time, your website’s position in search engine results will drop.

3. How Do I Measure Bounce Rate?

Measuring your bounce rate is a straightforward process. Install Google Analytics so you can monitor it. When you log in, you’ll be able to see the bounce rate for each page on your website. Determining what bounce rate you should aim for is a less straightforward process; once size doesn’t necessarily fit all. The type of business you run, the devices people use to access your website, your industry, and even your country are all factors. You can set up benchmarking in Google Analytics to compare your site to the average for your industry.

4. How Do I Improve My Bounce Rate?

Once you track your bounce rate for a while, you’ll get a sense of how you compare to the average. Then, you can take action to lower it. A few things are particularly effective, including using responsive web design, reworking the sources of your traffic, and making an effort to engage your visitors more.

Decreasing bounce rate is a crucial part of effective web design. Keep these facts in mind as you develop your site.