Businesses work hard to build a brand presence online and to conceptualize and launch marketing campaigns aimed at driving qualified traffic to their website. But what happens if the visitors to your web pages can’t easily find what they were looking for, or worse, are met with content that is grossly mismatched to their search intent?
In the realm of digital marketing and SEO, this situation can result in what is known as a “high bounce rate”, whereby visitors to your webpages hit the back button faster than a speeding bullet.
Although this may be alarming to uncover, it also presents an opportunity to improve your site, the user experience, and overall, boost the metrics that mean most to you, such as conversion rates, lead generation, sales, and revenue.
In this guide, we’ll explore the underlying reasons why bounce rates are important, why some sites have higher bounce rates than others and the steps you can take to remedy this situation on your web properties.
Let’s dive right in…
What is a Bounce Rate?
A “bounce rate” is typically defined as a percentage of visitors who reach your site, then leave that webpage without taking any further action.
This bounce rate demonstrates a disconnect between the content on your page, and the intent or needs of the visitor who reached that page, prompting them to quickly exit stage left.
What is the Significance and/or Importance of Bounce Rates?
Although the bounce rate can be an indicative measure of performance or a means of identifying a problem with your content or web pages, there are circumstances where it can be misleading.
For example, a web page detailing hours of operation may be a page that DOES generate sales and walk-ins from visitors that quickly find the hours and then “bounce”.
That said, more often than not, bounce rates can be used to identify how well your website is meeting the needs and demands 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 both large and small.
Why The Bounce Rate is Important:
A high bounce rate almost always correlates to a lower conversion rate
- Bounce rates may be an SEO signal that Google utilizes to determine how well your page should rank for specific 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 provides little value.
All of the above results in lower performance across virtually every KPI that is important to your business. From building relationships with your audience, to gaining trust, earning sales, and bolstering your bottom line.
How is the Bounce Rate Calculated?
The bounce rate can be easily calculated in Google Analytics (GA), which provides each web page’s performance represented as single-page views.
Google Analytics will also provide you with an overall average bounce rate for the entirety of your website, a figure that is calculated by taking the summation of bounces 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 such as:
- Total visitors to your site
- The average number of pages per visit
- Dwell time on site
- And more…
These can be used in conjunction with your bounce rate to uncover opportunities to better serve your audience.
What is a Good Bounce Rate?
Average bounce rates vary tremendously across both industries and types of site (i.e. an informational blog vs. an affiliate site vs. a landing page).
However, research demonstrates that the overall averages typically range between 26-70%, and there is always room for improvement.
Generally speaking, the following applies:
- 80%+ = horrible 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 like you can do better? You probably can and that’s why we assembled this list on how to improve a website bounce rate. Consider the following proven strategies to reduce your bounce rate, improve the user experience, and convert more sales.
1. Enhance the User Experience
Although a basic “no-brainer”, taking an objective look at the ways you can improve the overall user interaction with your website, pages, brand, and services is a solid place to start building a foundational approach to tackling a high bounce rate.
- Utilize screen capture software to track how users explore your site and to identify any bottlenecks
- Re-evaluate the ease and intuitiveness of site navigation
- Consider an independent site survey for feedback
2. Optimize your “Call to Action” and On-Page CRO
Ensure that your call to action is clear, concise, and meaningful. You likely only have seconds to connect with your visitor. And most importantly, make sure the content matches that call to action. If the content is not what users are expecting or looking for, consider that back button pressed.
Make sure that your key impact statements and “hook” is front and center without the user having to scroll
- Don’t give them too many options
- Keep the page laser-focused on the designated topic
- Focus on solutions and benefit statements early on, saving the “features” for further down on the webpage
3. Audit Page Load Speeds
Utilize tools such as Pingdom, GTmetrics, or Google PageSpeed Insights to find out which pages of your site are taking too long to load. Research has demonstrated that sites taking up to 3 seconds to load may lose up to 40% of visitors to “bounce”, with every 1 second of load reducing 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), that same 2 second load time might take 6 or more seconds on a 3G connection.
4. Don’t be afraid to A/B Test Page Content
Although the main content of the page should be adjusted with caution if SEO is a concern, it is prudent to test headlines, calls to action, buttons, colors, and layouts, especially above the fold. Just 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
- You may find simple tweaks result in a major impact
5. Incorporate Multi-Media
In today’s digital age, visitors are hungry for high-quality multi-media. Some studies have demonstrated that incorporating media such as high-quality images and video can increase conversion rates by up to 34% (Aberdeen Group).
- Hire a graphic designer to create meaningful unique imagery
- Consider adding an introduction, explainer, or video testimonial
- Ensure that all video content is related to the topic you are discussing
6. Take Customer and Visitor Feedback to Heart
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 do listen, your audience may just give up on you.
- Feedback from visitors and customers alike should be shared across all departments to create a synergistic approach to better serving 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 coming from mobile devices, ensuring that your website is mobile optimized and responsive is imperative. If it’s not, mobile users are sure to immediately leave the page when they see images not loading.
- Test responsiveness across several devices
- Ensure CTA is easily readable and actionable on mobile
- Test and optimize page load speeds for mobile devices
8. Improve the Readability of Content
Did you know that the average US citizen is only at an 8th-grade level? Thus, smart content creators are targeting this reading level with not just their vocabulary usage, but also their sentence structure and length. If you confuse the reader, they are going somewhere else.
- Break up large paragraphs into smaller and easier to digest ones
- Separate your content with subheadings
- Use simple examples to help illustrate complicated concepts or topic points
9. Take Advantage of Exit-Intent Popups
Exit-intent popups are triggered when it is detected that the user is about to leave your page. When triggered a popup will appear typically with a message telling them to wait or providing a link to their email subscriptions. These can make some visitors think twice, they can also be somewhat annoying.
- Make the popup easy to close, otherwise, users press back to escape
- Ensure that the popup contains useful information
- Don’t take up the whole computer screen
10. Make External Links Open in a New Tab
External links are important for every website because they typically show visitors where a certain piece of information is from or may lead 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 every page to ensure all outbound links open in a new tab
- Check for broken links
- Ensure that the links you add are safe for visitors
Reduce Your Bounce Rate and Reap the Rewards
Considering the impact bounce rate can have on the success of your business, taking measured and well-meaning approaches towards 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 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?