What is Bounce Rate on Google Analytics?
Bounce rate is the percentage of your website visitors who visit just a single page of your site. They enter the site through an entrance page (usually the home page, but can be a blog post or any other type of page) and rather than interact with the site by clicking to other pages on the same domain, instead ‘bounce’ off and leave the site.
For most, it’s a measure of visit quality, with a high rate usually suggesting that your most popular entrance pages are either badly optimised or are irrelevant to your visitors.
Why is Bounce Rate Important?
As Google’s search algorithm is partly impacted by your site’s bounce rate, all businesses should be looking to make sure they keep this metric at a reduced figure – those with higher bounce rates than their competitors are likely to be at a disadvantage when it comes to organic search rankings, therefore limiting the volume of traffic entering their site.
A high bounce rate also suggests that there’s a flaw in your digital marketing strategy as you’re either not attracting the correct visitors or the visitors are having a negative user experience, which inevitably has a damaging impact on your conversion rate.
If you’re paying for pay-per-click advertisements too, a high bounce rate could indicate that these are ineffective, which again highlights the importance of tracking conversions and where your website users came from (user acquisition).
Ways to Improve and Reduce Bounce Rate
Not to panic if you’re bounce rate is higher than you’d hope as all is not lost – there are multiple ways you can lower the figure.
Here we’ve provided some of our top tips for improving your site’s bounce rate…
Responsive Website with Clear Navigation Structure
With the number of businesses and consumers using the internet and visiting websites on their phone or tablets growing every year, it’s absolutely essential that your website is mobile responsive. It helps to ensure a smooth, simple and logical experience for the users visiting your site on smaller screens (which is the vast majority), increasing the likelihood that they’ll stay on the site to visit other pages and learn more about your services or products.
As a side note, it’s worth knowing that mobile friendliness is also a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. The sites that fail to adapt to different screen sizes are not favoured by Google, causing a reduction in search rankings and therefore, traffic.
It’s also vital that your site follows a clear and effortless navigation structure, making it easy for users to navigate throughout the site. Broken links, illogical animated drop-down menus, artificial pathways leading towards the sales funnel and any other navigational horrors are likely to cause your visitors to quickly bounce off your site and take their business elsewhere. Your structure should be immediately understood and provide the user with an easy experience in getting from one part of your site to the other.
Content Readability & Smart Formatting
One of the most common reasons as to why users exit a website is because it lacks readability. User experience is largely impacted by whether your content is legible, so avoid intimidating your visitors with lengthy and overwhelming paragraphs, and opt to use subheadings and bullet points instead. It helps users quickly scan and identify the points that are most relevant to their needs, whilst ensuring all of the required content is still on the page.
Other formatting options of text include ‘find out more boxes’ where some of the content is hidden, but can be expanded to read more, allowing users to find the information should they require it, but without bombarding the page with excessive amounts of content.
Target High-Volume Search Terms & Keywords
In order to reduce bounce rate, you need to be attracting relevant, high-quality organic traffic to your website. You’ll need to conduct thorough keyword analysis to gain an insight into the search terms and keywords your target audience is searching so that you can make sure your site is well-optimised for these high-volume phrases.
However, you also need to make sure that you don’t compromise on readability or upset Google by implementing any ‘illegal’ or black hat techniques. In the past, SEO agencies might have manipulated the way search engines perceive a web page through keyword stacking (repeating keywords to an extent that the content reads like gibberish) and hiding text (inserting illegible text at the bottom of the page that is the same colour of the background so that readers are unable to view it, but search engines pick up on it) to name just two examples. Sites that implement these tactics are violating the search engines’ terms of service and are likely to be heavily penalised.
Ever been on a site that takes forever to load? It’s incredibly frustrating and after a few seconds you’ll probably give up and close the tab. Well that’s exactly what your target audience will do if your site isn’t rapid.
Having a slow load time is perhaps the worst problem a web page can have. You might have the slickest design and the most compelling of content, but it’s of no use if your visitors can’t even access it.
Research has shown that nearly 50% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less – after 3 seconds they’re likely to leave and visit one of your competitor’s sites. Sites that have a consistently slow load time also annoy Google and often slip in search rankings, so it’s something that needs to be prioritised.
Multiple factors affect a site’s load time – contact us today for some of our top tips for making sure you have a speedy website.
Meta Titles & Description
Meta titles and descriptions are HTML attributes (the little snippets of text previewed in search results) that describe what a particular web page is about. Not only do search engines use them to associate the page with relevant search queries, but they also help users determine whether the search result is right for them, which is why it’s crucial that they’re optimised.
In order to maintain a healthy bounce rate, you need to be attracting the right kind of traffic, so it’s important users don’t misunderstand the purpose of each page. The snippets should provide a quick overview of that individual page, allowing users to evaluate whether it’s worth clicking or not.
If these HTML tags aren’t manually set or customised, Google will automatically generate its own snippets for each web page by picking out a few sentences it thinks are relevant from your site. However, we’re sure you’d rather be in control of how your content should be described.
Importance of Clear Call-to-Actions
After you’ve managed to attract visitors to your site, you’ll want to do everything you can to avoid losing them. Make sure you have a clear, compelling call-to-action that takes users a maximum of 3 seconds to notice – as touched upon earlier, your site needs to be effortless for your users to find what they want quickly and easily.
External Links to Open in New Windows
If your site is currently set to open all external links in the same tab, then you’re missing a handy little trick. Every time a user clicks one of your links to an external page (to a different website), they’ll be required to click the back button to come back to your site. However, it’s possible that they’ll get distracted by the new website and forget to come back to yours, causing your exit rate to soar.
However, if your external links are set to open in either a new tab or window, users can easily access your site by just clicking back onto the original tab. Something as simple as this can have a large impact on your bounce and exit rate, as well as user experience – pressing the back-button time and time again soon becomes annoying.
What is a Good Bounce Rate?
Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is what makes a ‘good’ bounce rate. It’s often dependent on the industry and also the purpose of your website.
Of course, you want the number to be as low as possible, but there’s no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ rate, the rate you should be aiming for will largely depend on the nature of your site and your individual goals.
If you’d like further help with creating a strategy to reduce your bounce rate, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.