Bounce rate is not as commonly discussed as some other website metrics, but it needs to be taken seriously. Not only does a high bounce rate send bad signals to the search engines, but it also suggests visitors are not engaging with your content. You can work hard on designing a quality site, offering exactly what you think your customers want. However, if a high proportion of people leave quickly, things need to change. What exactly is the bounce rate, and how can you overcome a poor ratio?
What Is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors to a site who leave after viewing only a single page. A visitor might conduct a search on Google, select one of the listings, access the page, then click the back button. A high bounce rate gives the impression that visitors are not engaged with the content, so are leaving without searching deeper into the site. There are exceptions to this, though, particularly when users only require a single piece of information that needs no further investigation.
What Is a Good Bounce Rate?
The bounce rate for a page will vary, especially when you look deeper into the sources of the traffic. A rough estimate of 50 percent to 60 percent is average, offering room for improvement. The marketing agency Rocket Fuel ran tests across several websites. Their data found that the best results tended to be between 30 percent and 40 percent. Above 70 percent suggests there is a problem, with varying results based on industry and content.
Ways to Improve Your Bounce Rate
After checking your analytics, you may find your bounce rate is not satisfactory. The following changes can help reduce the percentage, helping to engage more visitors with your site.
Test Site Speed Issues
Slow loading is one of the key factors that make visitors leave immediately. Test your pages using the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. In most cases, there will be some issues that need addressing and some room for improvement. While your site might be well constructed, there can also be issues with a server that needs to be upgraded.
A cluttered page makes it hard for visitors to find what they are looking for. This clutter is particularly problematic when it is above the fold. Try to remove any boxes and sidebar elements that have no obvious purpose. Put yourself in the shoes of your visitor, taking into account what they see on the first visit.
Make Each Page Focused
Pages with a broad range of content might be useful, but they don’t really cater to targeted groups of people. Instead, try to make each page focused, aiming to cover an individual topic. You can always add links to other pages featuring related content, encouraging visitors to delve deeper into your site. This approach can also help with SEO, as Google typically looks for valuable pages based on targeted keywords.
Format Your Content
Long paragraphs of text don’t look too appealing to visitors, especially when they are using mobile devices. Aim to format your content effectively, using titles, sub-headings, images, and other elements that break up the page. This strategy is important for articles but also helps for homepage content and product pages.
Improve Navigation and Search
Some visitors might not immediately find what they are looking for, but a quick search will direct them to the right place. Improving the site navigation and search facilities can make it easy for users to get to the right page. Cumbersome navigation, though, will usually lead to a quick exit. Use your analytics to find the pages and terms that attract the most attention, making them prominent within the navigation bar.
Include Call to Action Elements
If you want visitors to look at multiple pages, it is important to add call to action elements. You may be trying to direct people towards an email capture page, for example, so you use descriptive sales text to encourage a click. Alternatively, you might have a related article to the entry page content, using a link at the bottom of the text to highlight it.
Use Exit Tools
Visitors can quickly make their mind up about a page and move towards the back button. There are, though, tools that recognize exit intent and try to keep the visitor active. You can activate a pop-up offering a free gift, promote your email lead magnet, or show your live chat customer support. Many people will still leave, but some can become engaged with the process.
Add Trust Elements
Trust is a vital factor when a person visits an unfamiliar site. Visitors don’t know whether to trust your site, content, or products, so they will be conscious of elements that put them off. Adding trust elements can quickly reduce any skepticism, ensuring they stay longer on your site. Quality design and consistent formatting can create a good impression, while security factors like HTTPS and trust seals go a step further.
Optimize for Mobile
The bounce rate for mobile will often be higher than desktop devices. One common reason is that pages are not optimized for mobile, so visitors immediately leave the site. A lack of optimization might mean the text is small and difficult to read, content is not formatted correctly, and images do not fit on the screen. Ensure you have an optimized mobile site, either using a responsive design or specific mobile version.
A high bounce rate can be overlooked by businesses. However, it should be seen as a significant factor in the traffic and conversions side of your operations. You have managed to acquire new visitors, with the potential of turning them into customers. Instead, though, they leave your site, and you may not get them back again.
Fixing your bounce rate doesn’t need to be a complicated process, but you can gain new subscribers and customers from the amendments. If you check your analytics and see a problem with your bounce rate, making some changes could upgrade your business at no extra cost.