Bounce rate, as defined by Google Analytics, is a percentage of single-page sessions on your website. In simple English, it represents the percentage of people who open only one page on your website, don’t click on anything, and move on. Reasons can be various, from not liking the design, to not finding what they’re looking for. The higher the bounce rate, the lower the conversion rate for you website. Google also takes bounce rate in consideration when determining search engine rankings. You can check your bounce rate in Google Analytics dashboard, along with Exit rate data that show which page on your site are users most exiting from.
If you have a single-page website, it’s natural that you have a high bounce rate since Google will add one new view only when visitors refresh the site. However, if you have multiple pages on your website, and really high bounce rate, you are doing something wrong. Here are some things that increase the bounce rate and a few tips that can help you make it lower.
Content related issues
Readability – As we all know already, Content is king, and it has to be good, unique and informative. Today we add one more adjective – readable, or easy to read. What does that mean? Content online is not the same as that in books and news papers. People reading articles on the internet usually do it fast and want to see the most important information immediately. People will read your articles if they are structured well: short paragraphs, bullet points, distinctive titles, key parts in bold or italic, good writing style. You’d be surprised, but longer articles are actually considered better quality, but they need to be formatted well, and without grammar and spelling errors. If you write articles just to have something thrown on your website, no wonder your bounce rate is high.
Fresh content – We mentioned before on our blog that people love fresh content and when the website or blog is updated regularly. If they come to your website and see that last post was written in 2010, it’s high probabilty that they will leave and head on to newer article. These days something written even last year can be considered ancient, depending on what your site is about. So write those articles, or at least update the older ones, and keep the visitors on your site.
Right keywords – Everyone wants organic traffic and getting visitors directly from search results. That’s why it’s important to find the right keywords. Keyword research is key part of your SEO campaign and running a website in general. If you are targeting a wrong keyword and/or don’t have your content written around your target keyword, people won’t be happy – they didn’t find what they were searching for. Find those good keywords and include them in your content and give your visitors what they are searching for.
Landing pages for high volume keywords – While we’re at it, if you find high search volume keywords during your keyword research, it’s a good idea to create separate landing pages for them. Why? The visitors that search for the certain keyword will find exactly what they were searching for, be happy, make a purchase, recommend to their friends and look around your website.
Technical related issues
Popups – Ugh, pop up ads, am I right? Who likes them? No one. But they keep appearing, and they *are* useful for marketers. However, normal visitors will mostly find them annoying and close the website as soon as possible. Avoid using them as much as you can, or at least make them less intrusive if you need them. Make them show up in the corner or don’t make them too big. Pay attention to the language used in them as well – don’t be aggressive to your visitors!
Page load time – This is a very important part of bounce rate problem. If your site takes long to load, chances are people won’t even wait for it to fully open and leave. On average, people want a page to open in 2 seconds, which is really really a little time, so if your loading time is above 5 seconds, you have to work on your page load speed. You can check it on Pingdom’s checker. Decrease your page load time with smaller images in size, not in dimensions. Save them for web and they will still look great but open faster. Also, if you’re using WordPress, remove all the unnecessary plugins that slow down your page. Avoid previously mentioned pop ups, and large animations.
Mobile-friendly – This is not only for bounce rate but for rankings and user experience in general. More and more users are coming to websites from mobile devices so you just can’t avoid being mobile-friendly anymore. We wrote an article about getting your website to be mobile-friendly, so do it if you still haven’t.
Bad hosting – Bad hosting could slow your site down, and even crash it. If your number of visits is more than the hosting you have can take, your site will crash as soon as there are more people on it, and it’s possible none of those people will come back or look around. Invest in better hosting that can take more information and more visitors, it’s worth it.
Bad design – Did you ever open a website that looks like it’s from 1995? I have, and I closed it immediately! Quality design is very important – it’s the first thing people see when your open your website. Have nice colors, large, readable fonts, cool graphics and logo, and easy to use navigation. If you’re using WordPress, half the work is done for you since you can install pre-made themes that already look great and offer great user experience. Also, don’t forget to point out your call-to-action buttons on landing pages and all other pages that could need it. They have to be eye-catching and easy to see.
Open links in new window – This should be self-explanatory, but we’ll mention it anyway. If you’re linking to external sources (which we hope you do, it’s great for link building!), make sure all your links are opening in new window. If they open in the same one, they will lead your visitor to the other website and increase the bounce rate. It’s simple to do, so you really shouldn’t avoid it.
Are you concerned about your bounce rate? It’s worth keeping an eye on it and making your website a better experience for your visitors and clients. Try fixing your On Page SEO as well and increase your conversion rate all together.