How to reduce bounce rate: your questions answered

When browsing Google Analytics, you may have noticed a little statistic called ‘bounce rate’. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about some of these common questions: What does bounce rate actually mean? Why is it important? Do I need to reduce my bounce rate? If so, how do I do it? Luckily for you, we are here to share with you our expertise, hopefully answering all of your bounce rate related questions along the way….

What is bounce rate?

When someone lands on a page on your website, then leaves without visiting another page or clicking on anything else, this is called a ‘bounce’. In other words, a bounce is just another word for when someone leaves your website after viewing only one single page. The ‘bounce rate’ of a page is the percentage of people that visit your page and then bounce away from it.

Why is bounce rate important? And what is a good bounce rate?

In summary, your website bounce rate, or page bounce rate, tells you how many people landed on your content, checked it out, and left. This is important because it allows you to find out whether your website is retaining visitors or not.

It is very important to remember, however, that the standard for an ‘acceptable bounce rate’ will vary depending on the type of business or website you run. If you’re hoping that visitors landing on your site will stay and browse other pages for a while, eventually leading them to respond to a call-to-action (CTA) and become a converted customer, then monitoring your bounce rate should be important to you. On the other hand, if your site and content aims to be informative, you might expect that visitors could find all that they are looking for in just one visit, and as such, your average bounce rate won’t mean so much to you.

On average, bounce rates from 25%-35% are the lowest (best) bounce rates you could ever expect whilst everything is working properly. Bounce rates lower than 20% usually mean you may be experiencing Google Analytics problems, perhaps indicating a tracking code error. Again, very broadly, bounce rates under 40% are good, and what you should be aiming for. Bounce rates between 40% and 50% are ok, but anywhere above 50% is usually a tell-tale sign that your website or content has much room for improvement. Bounce rates of 90% or over again indicate that perhaps something is not working as it should!

Be aware though, that bounce rate benchmarks vary greatly between different industries. In general, blogs and content websites tend to have much higher website bounce rates than other businesses do – it isn’t unusual for even very successful blogs to have bounce rates of 60%-90%! This is because sites that prioritise content creation tend to show up more in google search results, meaning that they can often appear for irrelevant keywords, causing the user to bounce. The most efficient service sites and retail sites that have something to sell, concentrating on conversions, generally set a benchmark for lower bounce rates, around the 10%-30% mark.

How to reduce bounce rate:

Now let’s look at some tricks and tips to lower bounce rate. A good first tip is to start with identifying why bounce rate is high on your website or content specifically. Google Analytics is a great tool for this as you can view which search terms or traffic sources are bringing people to your site, as well as viewing the demographics of your visitors. From here, you can sort these groups by bounce rate, and as a result you can decipher what it is that is making visitors bounce. For example, perhaps a certain irrelevant keyword is causing many people to bounce from a particular page, or a link from an external traffic source is bringing audiences in that were expecting something very different, so they leave.

Researching bounce rate causes like this can be timely and seem a little complicated, but it is worth the effort because it then makes decreasing bounce rate so much easier! Once you’ve pinpointed what is going wrong, some of the fixes are self-explanatory. Its most likely that with a little keywords and terms alteration and some content optimisation, you will correct a lot of the problems you’re having.

After fixing any specific high bounce rate causes, here are some other great ways to improve your bounce rate in general:

  • Create a clear, easy-to-navigate menu/path. An often overlooked website feature for improving bounce rates is a clearly navigational menu and path. If your menu path is set up clearly with easy to follow breadcrumbs, users will stay to browse content in similar categories rather than exiting your site.
  • Add relevant internal links to your site content. Choose some pages that will be relevant and interesting to people visiting each piece of content: if they liked one page, it’s likely you’ll have another page they will like too! By creating internal links, you can redirect users around your site instead of away from it.
  • Remove pop-ups! They aren’t just annoying (making your visitors frustrated is a sure way to get them to bounce), they can also be damaging in terms of search rankings, as non-user-friendly pop-ups can result in penalties.
  • Improve your product pages. Customers don’t often want to just find a product and buy it – more often than not they are just looking for information about a product first. If your product pages include thorough product descriptions, instructions, guides to using the product, and customer reviews instead of just generic sales copy, it is more likely to keep the visitors interest long enough for them to feel ready to make a purchase!
  • Have an enticing sidebar. Your sidebar is a great place to add other interesting links that perhaps wouldn’t be so relevant to add into the copy itself. Why not include an ‘About Us’ page link, letting people know what your business is about? Other ideas include links to your top pages or most popular products.
  • Make external links open in a new window. Including external links to relevant websites is a good practice in terms of SEO, but it could have a negative impact on your bounce rate if the links are ‘stealing’ visitors. Making external links open in new windows is an easy solution!

If you’d like to know more about implementing some of these strategies for improving your bounce rate, as well as other optimisation options and how they can improve your business, don’t hesitate to contact us – our team specialises in content marketing, PPC, SEO, Social Media, and Web Design!