Bounce rate (n): The percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. (Oxford Dictionary)
In the world of SEO, “bounce rate” gets a lot of airplay, and with good reason. Since the whole purpose of a website is to capture conversions (as you have defined them), a visitor who arrives and leaves on the same page – bounces – doesn’t count as a hard conversion. A high bounce rate is not a good thing (usually), and if you’re seeing it on your analytics, you’ll want to take steps to correct it.
Bounce rate is something we talk about with our analytics customers. Even after a web developer has spent a great deal of time in designing and developing a website, the end result is still a work in progress. Paying attention to your site’s analytics will help you to refine its performance and adapt to the ever-changing ways visitors use your site.
What’s a Good Bounce Rate?
It depends. As with so many things in SEO, what might be considered a “good” bounce rate for one site might be not so great for another. The bounce rate for YOUR site will be dependent upon what your visitors do in relation to what you want them to do. If you want visitors to enter your site, look around, maybe fill out a form or make a purchase, then a high bounce number would indicate you’ve got some work to do on your site.
Reasons for a High Bounce Rate
- Site takes too long to load – 47% of users expect a site to load in two seconds or less; 40% will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.
- Information isn’t useful to reader – The content on your site matters. If you’re not providing your visitors with useful information and well-written, grammatically correct content, they will go elsewhere.
- Poor site design/visually unappealing – A site that’s difficult to navigate or confusing is a site that will drive visitors away.
- Visitor didn’t find what he/she was looking for – There are thousands of websites out there covering the same set of topics yours does. If a visitor doesn’t find what he or she is looking for on your site, they won’t spend any more time with you.
These are just a few of the more common reasons for a high bounce rate, and among the more easily-repaired issues for a website. But how do you improve your bounce rate? Read on.
How do I reduce my bounce rate?
- Improve your site visually. A site that’s pleasing to the eye is a site that invites exploration. Responsive design takes this concept even further by making your site work on screens of varying sizes, such as tablets and smartphone screens.
- Optimize for mobile. Mobile is huge: 60% of Americans use their smartphones to access the Internet. Make sure your site is easy to view and navigate from a smartphone. (Bonus: having a mobile-friendly site is a search engine ranking factor.)
- Improve navigation. Make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for on your site.
- Improve load times. You’ve only got, at best, two to three seconds to get your site in front of a visitor. Anything that slows your site’s loading time beyond that puts your site at risk of losing visitors.
- Provide quality content. Make your site’s content useful, informative, and interesting. Pay attention to things like fonts and font size, as well.
- Provide related content. One of the best ways to help your bounce rate on a a blog is to show related content. Sure, they entered your site because of one article, but I bet they are interested in similar articles. Make it easy for them to find that on your site. Most content management systems have a plethora of plugins for this very effort.
- Provide a clear call-to-action. Don’t make visitors guess what it is you want them to do while they’re on your site. Make your call-to-action visible and clear.
Bounce rate is just one of many pieces of information available to you in your website analytics, but it’s one number that can tell you a lot of things about your site. If your site’s bounce rate is higher than it should be, making the changes listed above can help to bring that number down. Many of those changes aren’t quick fixes, but they’re well worth taking the time to do and do well.