Bounce rates. No matter how hard you try to avoid them, they should play an important part in your marketing campaign. Not only do they affect your conversion rate, but they also affect your search engine rankings. Both important areas of every website.
What Is a Good Bounce Rate?
Lowering the bounce rate on your site is an important part of website maintenance and is a never ending task. Some pages will have high bounce rates, while some pages will have much lower bounce rates. Ideally, you want every web page on your website to have the lowest bounce rate possible. However, that’s always easier said than done.
But how do you know which pages have a ‘bad bounce rate?’ What’s a good bounce rate?
Hold up, before we go looking at how to improve your bounce rate, let’s take a look at what it actually is.
What Is A Bounce Rate?
According to the all-knowing Google, the bounce rate can be defined as: “A single-page session on your website”. More specifically, this means it’s the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the website after viewing only one page.
How they leave is important in the calculation. Many users will simply press the back button and go back to Google or wherever they came from. If a user clicks another link and is taken to a different page on your website, then that wouldn’t count as a bounce. Instead, that is actually counted as a good thing, although it might not always be.
Other ways to bounce can be things such as closing your browser or typing in a different website in the search bar. Basically, if you leave a website after only visiting one page, then it’s classed as a bounce. As soon as a user visits a second page, then it’s no longer a bounce.
Eventually, the user will leave your website at some point, this is called an exit. Although exits are closely related to bounces, they aren’t considered as important. After all, users have to leave your website at some point. Instead, webmasters generally focus on the average time spent by users on the website. This gives them a much better indication of how well visitors are interacting with the site.
It’s also important to note that bounce rates are related to landing pages. For a user to have a single session they have to leave on the page they entered on.
So what is a good bounce rate?
A good bounce rate is usually between 40 – 60% for homepages / landing pages and 60 – 90% for blog posts. Obviously, homepages usually have plenty of links and things to click on, so you expect users to at least visit another of your web pages. Landing pages are also designed so that users click on your call to action and progress to another page on your website.
Blog posts, on the other hand, are different. Sometimes users will find what they are looking for and then have no reason to view the rest of your website. That’s a fair reason, but unfortunately, it makes your website look bad. You can try as much as you like to include other call to actions, but ultimately they’ll only click if it’s relevant to what they’re searching for.
Why Is Your Bounce Rate Important?
If you didn’t know already, your bounce rate is very important. Not only does it affect other rates on your website such as your conversion rate, but it also gives you valuable feedback.
If your web page has a very high bounce rate e.g. 90%+ then clearly there is something wrong with your web page. Maybe you’re promising readers the world with your catchy title but fail to deliver on your promises. Or maybe there’s just not enough information visitors are looking for. If a web page is lacking, then readers will hit the back button and leave.
Sometimes you’ll have the best information out there, but visitors will still leave! How come? Like we mentioned earlier, any one-page session is classed as a bounce. To reduce your bounce rate, you need to get people to click on other pages of your website. To do this, you need a good internal linking structure (which we’ll cover later). The important thing to know is that if there aren’t any other internal links for people to click on, then how will users get onto another web pages?
All of these factors affect your bounce rate and in term affect other areas of your website. Recently Google has started taking your website’s bounce rate into consideration when determining rankings.
If you have a very high bounce rate, then Google views your page as not being relevant to searchers. Since Google only wants to deliver relevant results to users, the chances are they’ll place you lower down the page. On the plus side, if you can optimise your website to have a low bounce rate, then Google will favour your website in the search rankings.
Oh and not to mention, a high bounce rate significantly affects your conversion rates. If a user leaves your web page then they’ll never buy your amazing product or service.
How to Improve Your Bounce Rate
Now you know what a bounce rate is and why it’s so important, you’re probably wondering how you can improve it. Well don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Although there are literally HUNDREDS of ways to improve your bounce rate, these are our personal favourites. Find any page on your website with a super high bounce rate (90%+) and follow these steps.
Check back after a few weeks and you should see a significant improvement. Remember it’s a constant battle to have the lowest bounce rate. Some web pages require multiple reworks before you get a nice low bounce rate.
1. Optimise Your Page Load Time
The first way to improve your bounce rate is to make sure you have a fast website. If a website takes too long to load, then users will leave. It’s as simple as that. As a rule of thumb, your website should take less than 3 seconds to load. That’s the average time visitors will be willing to wait before they decide to leave.
2. Make Your Content Visually Appealing
Having a wall of text can be very off-putting for readers. Not only are they more likely to lose the where they were reading but it can also stop people from reading altogether. If your web page has lots of content, then it probably needs reworking.
This means adding more images, improving the spacing, and spreading things out. Shorter sentences and paragraphs are also better than long ones. By making your content easier to read and understand, you’re much more likely to keep visitors reading.
3. Use Sidebars Widgets
If you want to increase the chance of visitors clicking through to other web pages on your website, then having a sidebar is essential. A sidebar can be used to include things such as banners, menus and other call to actions to get users clicking.
These are perfect for blog posts and other pages where there might not be any obvious links or places to click. A sidebar will always be on the side no matter how much they scroll and will be full of relevant and useful links.
4. Include Clear Call to Actions
Sometimes people won’t visit other pages on your website simply because you don’t tell them to. If you want to improve your bounce rate then you need to get people to click. This is most commonly done by using clear call to action buttons that users will click. Not only do call to actions help improve your bounce rate, but they also help improve your conversions! Not matter if you want people to buy your service or sign up to a mailing list, call to actions are a great way to get people clicking.
To help improve your conversion rate, be sure to check out our 70 ways to improve your conversion rate post.
Now you know why your bounce rate is so important, it’s time to make some changes to your website. Remember, your bounce rate requires constant work, and it’s not as easy as fixing it overnight. With enough time and patience, you’ll be able to reduce your bounce rate and reap the benefits of more conversions and higher rankings!