Businesses prepare websites and post information therein to educate, advertise, and eventually sell. When people visit the website but leave without really going through its contents, the whole purpose of the website is lost. That is one of the biggest fears businesses have with regard to online marketing. A concept called ‘bounce rate’ is one aspect used to measure and analyze the efficiency of a website.
It is primarily the percentage of visitors who open a website but leave without interacting with the website or without visiting other pages of the website. Naturally, then all businesses are interested to reduce bounce rate.
Reduce bounce rate
Before considering how to reduce website bounce rate a clear understanding of what bounce rate is, what it implies, and what acceptable standards regarding bounce rates are, is important. Thereafter consider ten specific steps that could be taken to reduce the bounce rate.
How to find your bounce rate?
You can find the bounce rate of your website by logging in to Google Analytics. It provides the overall bounce rate of your entire website. In other words, it is the total number of bounced users divided by the total number of visitors to all the pages on your website in a given period of time. Google Analytics also allows you to find the bounce rate of specific pages or even segments of your website.
Does the bounce rate affect SEO?
Bounce rate is the fourth most important aspect in Google search engine results, after direct website visits, time of site and pages per session. But bounce rate is not used by Google in its algorithms. How can we reconcile these two statements?
Rank Brain is a key ranking factor for Google searches. Rank Brain tries to understand the individual’s intent in searching for information on the web. When it notices that people are leaving a particular website without examining it further, it is interpreted to mean that the website does not contain the information the user was searching for. It will conclude that the website should not be ranked so high.
This certainly affects Search Engine Optimization. Understandably then, businesses want to reduce bounce rate to ensure SEO.
What is considered a good bounce rate?
There is no direct answer to this question. An acceptable bounce rate for a website would depend on a number of factors.
Bounce rates depend on the type of business you have. Generally, B2B type businesses have a higher bounce rate than B2C type businesses. Your specific industry is another aspect that impacts bounce rates. Thus depending on the industry, acceptable bounce rates may vary from 46% to 66%. The account settings tab on Google analytics helps you set up benchmarks. This helps you compare your bounce rate with the industry average.
Google Analytics (Audience – Behavior – Benchmarking – Channels) also helps you check the bounce rate for a given period of time which is again helpful if the product or services you are advertising has seasonal attributes.
Generally, a site-wide bounce rate is not a clear indicator of the performance of a website. A website will have blog pages as well as additional information besides the selling pages. Blog pages will generally have a higher bounce rate while it is the selling pages that should have a lower bounce rate to effectively increase conversions.
Therefore, use Google Analytics to determine page-wise or section-wise bounce rate. You could also use the options therein to create custom variables that would help you analyze the bounce rate against various factors, such as age, gender, location, etc. All these factors not only influence bounce rate but also helps you determine what would be an acceptable bounce rate for your website.
What does a high bounce rate mean?
A high bounce rate means that people are landing on your web pages but then are not interested in examining them further. They arrive on your web page but click out of it shortly without really interacting with it or checking out other pages on the website. There is no real information that has been collected about the visitor and hence no follow-up is possible. Basically, that would boil down to the inability to make conversions.
A higher bounce rate means a lower rate of conversions which obviously is not good.
What is the difference between the exit rate and bounce rate?
Bounce rates are what you should be concerned about while exit rates are not alarming. Why? We have already examined bounce rates and why that is of concern to businesses. However, the exit rate is a totally different metric. Exit rates measure the number of people that leave your website from a particular web page. That could be meant that the user scanned through a number of pages, perhaps downloaded information, or interacted with the website in other ways, before he exited from that particular page. The website, in all probability, has served its purpose. It has engaged the visitor and there is a possibility of conversion.
What is a good average time on site?
The time on site refers to the amount of time a user spends on the website. Generally, it is said that the maximum exits take place within the first 30 seconds. If your website is able to hold the attention of a user for more than 30 seconds then most likely he will stay for a longer duration and interact with your website. The average time on site for Google organic searches is about 3 to 4 minutes.
How to reduce the website bounce rate?
Bounce rates indicate to you that some adjustments are needed to the website. It tells you that users are not finding the content engaging. However, a redesign might not be what is needed. Here are ten steps you could take.
- Ensure that your website is mobile friendly. With the proliferation of mobile devices, most internet users today are not on a computer while looking for information or shopping. Ensuring that the website is mobile friendly will reduce your bounce rate. Make sure that the user experience is a pleasant one. The text should be comfortable to read without having to zoom in. Large videos that take a long time to download are a put-off. Instead, have videos that are brief and engaging and that use up less data on the download.
- Improve your page design. The initial few seconds give the user an impression of your website. Therefore ensure that the user can easily see what your website is offering in the first few seconds. Make your key information stand out clearly. Use videos, pictures, and other graphics tastefully to enliven the information. Ensure that the paragraphs are properly formatted with a comfortable font, type size, and proper line spacing. Keep paragraphs brief and use subheadings to make key information stand out. Use bullets or numbering to provide lists.
- Use proper keywords. Ensure that the keywords defined match honestly with the content provided. Consider what leads a user to that particular web page. Does it answer his question or provide him with the information he is looking for? If your content digresses from the specific aspects of the topic as indicated by your keywords, it would result in an increased bounce rate.
- Decrease page loading time. A web page that takes ages to load is an instant put off and users tend to click out of it even before it is fully open. Two to three seconds would be the premium loading time.
- Be cautious about using pop-ups. A website that has a full page ad that pops up as soon as the page opens is a sure bouncer. Ensure that the popup does not disrupt the user experience. A popup is also a very good way to collect information or engage the user. However, it should be tastefully done without interrupting the user as he examines the information on the page. Keep in mind that email advertisements have a much better conversion rate than the use of popup windows.
- Use a compelling call to action buttons. Ensure that there are clearly visible CTA buttons on the page. This will result in conversions. Use emotion and aesthetics in their design, color, size, placement, and the text used. It could be a call to sign up, make a purchase, or provide some information that you could use to follow up and make a conversion later on.
- Introduce live chat. This is one sure way to reduce bounce rate. A live chat that engages the user would ensure that he stays on the page longer. It will give him more time to consider the content on the page, and that increases the chances of conversion.
- Improve site navigation. Ensure that the design of the tabs and menus are logical and helpful. Additionally, a good internal linking structure will also ensure that the user navigates to other pages on the website reducing bounce rate and increasing the chances of conversion.
- Make an offer to bouncers. When a person is leaving the site, make an offer. It could be a discount, some specific information, or just obtaining the user’s email with the promise of informing him/her of special offers.
- Create multiple landing pages. Design multiple landing pages for high volume keywords. This will help users find the information they are looking for faster. These pages should be properly linked to your home page and page navigation should be logical and easy to ensure the best conversion rate.
Periodically examine how robust your website is. Consider its bounce rate and how it compares to those of others in your industry. Take appropriate steps to decrease the bounce rate and optimize conversions.