Bounce rate is one of the simplest ways to determine the effectiveness of your website. You receive a bounce whenever a user visits a single page and then leaves without viewing anything else, meaning bounce rate is the number of single-page visits out of total visits. However, just like any other metric, you cannot just take bounce rate at face value.
What Is an Ideal Bounce Rate?
It is not always as clear cut as “low bounce rate is good, high bounce rate is bad.” For one thing, an ideal bounce rate depends on what you are using your website for and how users are interacting with your site. For instance, if you are using your site to deliver blog posts, it may be normal for users to view a single page. On the other hand, if you have an ecommerce site or if users are reaching your homepage or a landing page and leaving, you do have a problem.
Ideally, you want your bounce rate to be close to the norm for your industry. If you’re using Google Analytics, set up benchmarking in “Account Settings.” This will allow you to compare your own results with industry averages.
Why Does Bounce Rate Matter?
A major reason bounce rate matters is because search engines use it to determine rankings. Rather than looking directly at bounce rate, Google considers search intent. This means that when a user leaves without interacting with your site, Google considers that the page may have fallen short of what the user was seeking and will lower your page ranking in the search results.
Another reason bounce rate matters is that it tells you if your strategy is working. If users are doing nothing more than viewing a single page, your marketing is clearly ineffective — it is not leading to conversions. Possible reasons for this include an unwelcoming website or a lack of guidance showing users what to do next.
In other words, bounce rate is directly connected to SEO and UX.
Lowering Bounce Rate with SEO and UX
Before you can lower your bounce rate, you need to give this metric more meaning. The best way to do this is to start examining different segments. Look at individual channels, source/medium pairs, and pages. If you find any of these have a particularly high bounce rate — 80 percent or more — the next step is to locate the problem and take the necessary measures to correct the issue. Some solutions relate to SEO, others to UX, and many to both.
Consider what users are expecting to see according to the headline or description that leads them to a page. If you are using clickbait or reaching people outside your target audience, it makes sense that your visitors are unwilling to stick around.
The same is true if you are sending users to a landing page and few end up providing you with their contact information. Consider if there’s a chance that you’re misrepresenting your offer and sending unqualified traffic to your site.
Header tags are critical to SEO, but they also help users consume content. Use headings to create a hierarchy, make it easy to scan the page, and help users decide if they want to read on.
Other On-Page Elements
Users should immediately feel that being on your site is a pleasant experience. This means high-quality visuals that relate to your content, obvious navigation, and clear buttons. Anything that is unattractive or difficult to understand will lead to a poor user experience and high bounce rate.
Users need to know where to go next, no matter if they’ve just consumed a piece of content or if they are ready to take advantage of your offer. If there’s a large amount of content on the page, it’s fine to include the CTA more than once — just make sure it’s where users expect it to be.
With more users now using mobile devices than desktop computers to access the Internet, it only makes sense to have a mobile-friendly design. Slow load times, difficult navigation, and words bleeding off the screen all lead to frustrated users who “bounce.” Plus, Google now uses mobile-first indexing, which means websites must follow best practices for mobile if they want to rank high in the SERPs.
Long gone are the days of brief and straight-to-the-point content. Marketers have now realized that users are looking for in-depth content that answers their questions and provides valuable information (although still straight to the point of course). It is impossible to keep visitors engaged with only a couple hundred words on a page.
As menUsers can’t stand pages that take too long to load. After all, the likelihood is they can find similar information or offerings elsewhere. Google also dislikes slow sites and penalizes them with lower rankings.
Decreasing bounce rate should fit perfectly into your strategy, as it relates to what you should be doing to your site anyway: improving SEO and UX If you are unsure exactly what your site would benefit from, run A/B tests or even ask users. As you implement changes, be sure to monitor bounce rate for different segments to check that your strategy is working. Finally, set a goal for your bounce rate — aligned to industry averages to ensure it’s useful and attainable.