Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a website who leave your site after viewing only one page. This factor describes the engagement. The lower your bounce rate the better which means more pages are visited by one user.
The bounce rate has nothing to do with the factor ‘time spend on website’ or the exit rate. Reducing your bounce rate should be your focus when working on usability, content and attraction. There is no one size fits all rule.
Expect massive changes when you do a redesign. If you didn’t change any layouts and you see a sudden spike it’s likely a server error happened or masses of unrelated visitors came to your site. (i.e. foreign bot attack or featured on reddit whose community is fast at closing tabs.)
Why is my bounce rate so high?
- The visitor didn’t find what he was looking for
- your website is difficult to use or navigate
- your webpage is full of ads
- the page is loading too slow (+4 seconds) test it here
- the visitor does not speak your language
- you only have one page
- low quality traffic who is not interested in your content
- faulty implementation of your tracking code (i.e. not installed on ALL pages)
How can I reduce my bounce rate?
1. Improve your Content
Your website’s main goal is to attract the right visitors. Your keywords should match your content. Check your keyword terms via seocheck.io and imagine a visitor entering your website through the keyword your ranked page is listed for. Is your page’s content satisfing the required demand? People scan websites within a few seconds and decide if that page serves the info they are looking for. Provide good content with an obvious main message.
2. Improve your website
Is your website cluttered with ads, sidebars, popups and other distracting elements? Nobody has time to find content burried down your site thus they leave after visiting one page – higher bounce rate. Make your content visible. The keyword is usability. Let your friends surf your website and see what they are clicking on. Use heatmaps to see where people click.
Design factors to improve usability:
- good color contrast
- larger fonts
- large and clear headlines and subheadlines
- bulleted lists
- white space
- accessory images
- good layout
- easy to find search field
- content in sections
- clear navigation
- responsive layout
- use breadcrumbs
Website Speed is another important part when it comes to bounce rate. Are you waiting minutes for a webpage to load? Would you visit a second page and wait again? Use google pagespeed insights and aim for a 90+ rating for desktop.
Use attractive and useful meta descriptions for search engines. Be clear what they can expect on your site.
Add a searchbox to your navigation.
Optimize for mobile devices.
Add internal links within your content.
Make your content scannable.
3. give options
Put a “related posts” area below your content. If you are an expert in your niche chances are high that people will be interested in your content. Show it.
Spend time on creating an outstanding call-to-action button below your content. Add an obvious link to the next steps and help your visitors to enter your goal funnel.
where to find bounce rate in google analytics
Bounce rate is shown on your main stats page:
How Bounce rate is calcuated
Bounce Rate = Total numbers of visits viewing only one page / total entries to page
When does a visitor bounce?
- click on a link to a different website
- typing a new url
- close the browser
- clicking on a new tab
- session timeout (normally 30 mins)
- hit the back button to leave your page
Average bounce rate for websites
Content websites: 40-60%
Lead generation: 30-50%
Retail sites: 20-40%
Service sites: 10-30%
Landing pages: 70-90%
Landing pages with the only goal to get new subscribers will have a high bounce rate giving a signal that your site is not relevant. But if your visitor subscribes, the site is relevant to your visitors so we need to find a way to connect the goal conversion with the bounce rate.
Open Google Analytics and go to: Audience > Behaviour > Engagement
click +Add segment on top and check “Sessions with conversions” (goals must be defined in front)
Find the time span where your most conversions take place and add this to your google analytics code:
setTimeout("ga('send','event','Profitable Engagement','time on page more than 2 minutes')",120000);
This line defines the event category (profitable engagement) and the event action: more than 2 minutes (1200000)
This way we will not count visitors who only view one page but stays more than 2 minutes on the site as a bounced visitor.
Play around with different colors and layouts and see how your conversion and bounce rate is affected. Split testing with analytics is a complexe topic thus I just refer you to this excellent guide about A/B split testing
The bounce rate at seocheck is currently 82% (profitable engagement not implemented yet) – It’s high because my main goal is defined on the frontpage. Subscribe to track your keywords. The missing 18% are surfing around on pages like this. I clearly focus on the keyword tracker thus not giving many options to dilute the traffic.
If I put the blog posts on the frontpage giving more options to read content the bounce rate would reduce to maby 50%.
So how do I use this metric?
The bounce rate is an indicator for engagement and relevancy of your site. If you have a landing page with the main goal to collect leads and a bounce rate of 95% it’s fine because you reached your goal with one page view. (if not think about usability or implement profitable engagement) If you have a forum, tutorial site or shop the bounce rate should be lower. People surf around and your goal (signup, sale, subscribe etc.) will be hit after several pageviews. Focus on lower bounce rate if you have a lot of content. Keep in mind for SEO: A high bounce rate is an indicator that your entrance page is not relevant to your visitors. It is not confirmed that google uses it as a ranking factor but it’s a signal of the quality of your site so I assume it plays a role. (case study is in progress)
Stay focused with bounce rates in mind but don’t put it above your conversion goals.