Businesses are working hard to build an online brand presence and to conceptualize and launch marketing campaigns aimed at driving qualified traffic to their website. But what happens if visitors to your web pages can’t find what they were looking for, or worse, can easily be satisfied with content that is not completely matched to their search intent ?
In digital marketing and SEO, this situation can lead to what is known as a “high bounce rate”, where visitors to your web pages hit the back button faster than a speeding bullet.
While this may be daunting to uncover, it is also an opportunity to improve your website, user experience, and on the whole, boost the metrics that matter most to you, such as conversion rates, lead generation, sales and revenue.
In this guide, we will explore the basic reasons why bounce rates are important, why some websites have higher bounce rates than others and the steps you can take to remedy this situation on your web properties.
Let’s dive right into…
What is a Bounce Rate?
Typically, a “bounce rate” is defined as a percentage of visitors to your website, then leaving that web page without taking any further action.
This bounce rate shows a disconnect between the content on your page, and the intent or needs of the visitor who reached that page, prompting them to leave the left step quickly.
What is the Significance and / or Importance of Bounce Rates?
While the bounce rate may be an indicative measure of performance or a way to identify a problem with your content or web pages, there are circumstances where it can be misleading.
For example, a web page detailing operating hours can be a page that generates sales and walk-in by visitors who quickly find the hours and then “bounce”.
That said, more often than not, bounce rates can be used to indicate how well your website is meeting the needs and requirements of your target audience.
According to KasAndz, a leader in digital marketing and conversion optimization, this mismatch can have a lasting and significant impact on the bottom line of businesses large and small.
Why the Bounce Rate is Important:
A high bounce rate is almost always correlated with a lower conversion rate
- Bounce rates can be the SEO signal that Google uses to determine how well your page should rank for certain keywords or phrases.
- A high bounce rate is indicative of a low quality web page or one that fails to resonate and connect with your audience, or one that is of little value.
All of the above results in lower performance across virtually all KPIs that are important to your business. From building relationships with your audience, to gaining trust, winning sales, and improving your bottom line.
How is the Bounce Rate Calculated?
The bounce rate can be easily calculated in Google Analytics (GA), which provides the performance of all web pages represented as single page views.
Google Analytics will also provide you with an overall average bounce rate for your entire website, a figure calculated by taking a bounce concentration across each web page and dividing this total by the number of visits during that time.
GA also provides you with other insightful (and related) metrics like:
- Total visitors to your website
- Average number of pages per visit
- Dwelling time on site
- And more…
These can be used in conjunction with your bounce rate to reveal opportunities to better serve your audience.
What is a Good Bounce Rate?
Average bounce rates vary tremendously across industries and site types (ie info blog versus affiliate site versus landing page).
However, research shows that overall averages typically range between 26-70%, and there is always room for improvement.
Generally speaking, the following apply:
- 80% + = horrific rate
- 70-80% = poor rate
- 50-70% = average rate
- 30-50% = very good
- Less than 20% (possibly a tracking error)
How to Improve Your Bounce Rate
Is your bounce rate higher than expected? Do you feel you can do better? You probably can and that’s why we compiled this list on how to improve the bounce rate of a website. Consider the following proven strategies to reduce your bounce rate, improve user experience, and convert more sales.
1. Improve the User Experience
Although fundamentally “brainless”, objectively looking at ways in which you can improve your user’s overall interaction with your website, pages, brand and services is a solid place to start building a basic approach to high bounce rate.
- Use screen capture software to track how users are exploring your site and to identify any bottlenecks
- Re-evaluate the ease and intuitiveness of navigating a website
- Consider an independent site survey for feedback
2. Optimize your “Call to Action” and your On-Page CRO
Make sure your call to action is clear, concise and meaningful. You probably only have seconds to connect with your visitor. And most importantly, make sure the content matches that call to action. If content is not what consumers expect or are looking for, consider the back button pressed.
Make sure your key impact statements and “hook” are front and center without the user having to scroll
- Don’t give them too many options
- Save the laser-focused page on the designated topic
- Focus on solutions and declarations of interest early, saving the “features” further down the web page
3. Load Page Load Audit
Use tools like Pingdom, GTmetrics, or Google PageSpeed Insights to find out which pages of your site take too long to load. Research has shown that sites that take up to 3 seconds to load could lose up to 40% of visitors to “bounce”, with every 1 second of load reduce sales by up to 7%.
- Remember, many of your visitors may be on slower mobile connections. So while desktop speeds might be 2 seconds (for example), the same 2 second load time could take 6 seconds or more on a 3G connection.
4. Don’t be afraid to include Test A / B Page.
While the main content of the page should be carefully adjusted if SEO is a concern, it is advisable to test headers, calls to action, buttons, colors and layouts, especially above the fold. Make sure you have data to compare the changes to.
- Test one variable at a time
- Make sure you have enough data / visitors to make your decisions statistically reliable
- Simple changes may have a big impact
5. Multimedia Incorporation
In today’s digital age, visitors want food for high quality multimedia. Some studies have shown that it can incorporate media such as high quality images and video increase conversion rates up to 34% (Aberdeen Group).
- Hire a graphic designer to create uniquely meaningful images
- Consider adding a presentation, explainer, or video testimonial
- Make sure all video content is related to the topic you are discussing
6. Take Customer Feedback and Heart Visitor
Sometimes the customer is always right. Don’t let ego or lack of follow-up get in the way of giving your audience what they need, demand and deserve. Eventually, if you listen, your audience might give up.
- Feedback from visitors and customers alike should be shared across all departments to create a synergistic approach to better serve your audience.
- Collect feedback from email, chat, social media, review platforms and other channels
- Read your comments section
7. Mobile-friendly Design
With over 50% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, it is essential to ensure that your website is mobile optimized and responsive. If not, mobile users are guaranteed to leave the page immediately when they see images not loading.
- Test responsiveness across multiple devices
- Make CTA easy to read and operate on a mobile phone
- Testing and optimizing page load speeds for mobile devices
8. Improve Content Readability
Did you know it’s just in 8th grade level? Therefore, smart content creators target this reading level not only with their vocabulary usage, but also their sentence structure and length. If you confuse the reader, they go elsewhere.
- Split large paragraphs into smaller and easier to digest
- Separate your content into subheadings
- Use simple examples to help illustrate complex concepts or topic points
9. Taking advantage of Exit-Intent Popups
Exit intent popups are triggered when the user is found to be leaving your page. When triggered a popup will typically appear with a message telling them to wait or provide a link to their email subscriptions. These can make some visitors think twice, they can also be a bit annoying.
- Make the popup easy to close, otherwise, users lean back to escape
- Make sure the popup menu contains useful information
- Don’t take the whole computer screen
10. Make External Links Open in New Tab
External links are important to all websites because they usually show visitors where a certain piece of information is coming from or they can guide visitors to a fun site or useful tool. Regardless of why you have them, if they replace your own page, your bounce rate will suffer.
- Test all links on each page to make sure all links out in a new tab
- Check for broken links
- Make sure the links you add are safe for visitors
Reduce Your Bounce Rate and reap the Rewards
Given the impact a bounce rate can have on the success of your business, taking a measured and considered approach to reducing it can have a serious impact on your bottom line.
By following the steps and tips in this guide, you can quickly assess the health of your bounce rate and map out a tailored plan to address any areas of opportunity.
What does Google say about your bounce rate? What steps have you taken to improve your bounce rate?