How To: Improve Your Website's Bounce Rate
Posted 6 years ago by Tom Donohoe
5 Minute(s) to read
How To: Improve Your Website's Bounce Rate
Your website’s bounce rate is one of the first metrics you encounter in your analytics dashboard and sparks heated discussions asking: “is a high bounce rate good or bad?”
The answers can be confusing at first, so we thought we'd use this article to help explain what bounce rate is and some ways to improve it.
What Is Bounce Rate?
Let’s take a definition from the mothership itself, Google:
“A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.” - Google
To keep it simple. Visitors arrive on a page on your website stay for 1 second or 20 minutes but leave without visiting another page. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on a page on your website, then leave.
Is A High Bounce Rate Bad News?
How do you evaluate success on your website? Do you want visitors to view more than one page? If the answer is yes, then a high bounce rate is not good.
For example, if you have an ecommerce website and you require visitors to complete a checkout process, but a high percentage of visitors only view the product page, then you will want to reduce your bounce rate.
But if you have a travel blog, where you expect single-page sessions, then a high bounce rate is normal.
So it really depends on the type of website whether a high bounce rate is bad.
You can benchmark your bounce rate by industry in Google Analytics. To do this follow these steps:
- Sign in to your Analytics account.
- Navigate to your view.
- Open Reports.
- Select Audience > Benchmarking.
- Choose your industry
How can I Improve My Bounce Rate?
If your bounce rate is considerable higher than your industry benchmark, what can you do to improve it?
Try looking at these elements of your website and see what you can improve.
Are you mobile-friendly?
Google said in 2015, that in 10 countries, including the US, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers.
If a visitor lands on your website and has to “zoom-in” to read the content, they will likely leave. It’s no longer an option but a 'must-do' to have a mobile friendly site.
If you're getting a lot of traffic from mobile and have a high bounce rate, take action and evaluate your mobile experience.
Look at Traffic source
Maybe your website is great, but you’re sending traffic from other sources and they don’t get the experience they were expecting.
For example, you share all your new blog posts on social media, but the content of your social post doesn’t clearly explain the content on your website.
This can result in the visitors expectations not being met, so they simply leave. Audit the sources you are sending website traffic from and ask: “does the messaging match the page I’m sending visitors to?”
Avoid Disrupting Pop-ups
While some pop-ups are great for capturing leads, they also annoy visitors and can result in bounces. Full-screen pop-ups are not only extremely annoying, but also result in search penalties.
When using pop-ups, remember the user and follow Google’s guidelines:
Ensure your content matches keywords
Similar to traffic source mentioned above, using relevant keywords is also important. Evaluate the keywords that are bringing traffic to your site.
Whether it’s paid search or organic traffic, make sure content is relevant to the search.
Make your content user-friendly
Just as important as your keywords matching the content, your content also needs to be legible. If your visitors can’t easily digest your content, they might leave.
Nothing scares off readers more than massive chucks of text. Here are some tips for making your content user friendly:
- Use subheadings
- Use bullet points
- Use plenty of charts, images, screenshots and quotes from industry experts
- Bold keywords a few times
- End your content with a subheading conclusion or something of similar meaning
Clear and enticing call to actions
Once you have a visitor on a page, the last thing you want to do is lose them by having a poor call-to-action. Worse still: no call-to-action.
A clear and enticing call-to-action gives your visitors a “next step” you want them to take. This could be to buy a product, download an eBook or read a different article.
Ultimately, appealing call-to-actions not only reduce your bounce rate, but can also increase conversions.
When you're improving bounce rates, make sure you consider your industry. A high bounce rate isn't always a bad thing. Look at what people do on your site, where they're coming from and are they on their mobile?
Ensure your content aligns with the user's expectations and leads to a positive experience. Analysing these elements can uncover the information you need to improve your bounce rate.
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