Panicking at the thought of your website visitors leaving your site and disappearing from existence? Well, you should be. Failure to keep your site visitors within your marketing circle is a sure-fire way to run out of business prospects – and money. In this article, I’ll be explaining the importance of bounce rate for SEO and also how to reduce it (which is good!)
Bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors that have visited only one page of your website before leaving. Search engines will use a website’s bounce rate as an indicator of whether that site is of good quality or not. The lower your bounce rate percentage, the higher that your site is regarded by Google – and more importantly, its users.
It’s important to monitor your site’s bounce rate because it could signal a problem with your site’s design, content or both. In any case, you want to keep your website visitors on your site for as long as possible, not only to please Google and its algorithm but also so you can increase your chances of turning those visitors into paying customers.
What is a good bounce rate percentage to have?
Obviously the ideal bounce rate for your site would be as close to 0% as possible, but that’s an unrealistic and somewhat-impossible target. Instead, we need to consider the market averages for websites within your niche as well as a wide range of factors, including how your bounce rate is affected on desktop, tablet and mobile.
According to the studies done by the team at GoRocketFuel.com, of which they studied around 60 websites of varying niches over the span of a few years, bounce rates ranged from 26% to 70%, with an average bounce rate of around 45%. It’s worth noting that these figures did exclude some anomalous results of 1% and 90%, as these were deemed to be either erroneous or well outside the norm.
Alternatively, studies from MonsterInsights show that the average bounce rate can change based on the industry that you’re in. For instance, you can expect to see a bounce rate of 20 – 40% for retail sites, whereas the service industry fairs much better at just 10 – 30%.
How to reduce your bounce rate
So hopefully you now have a better idea of how low your bounce rate should be, but now you’re probably wondering how to actually achieve that goal. Not to worry though, as I’ll run through the many reasons why your bounce rate may be too high at the moment, as well as how to reduce it.
Speed up your website
A big reason why your bounce rate might be too high is that your site is way too slow. A study from Google back in 2018 showed that 53% of mobile users left a site immediately if a page took over three seconds to load. Three seconds! That’s crazy.
If you’re wondering how long your site currently takes to load, then you’ll want to try out GTMetrix. It’s a free service that will quickly identify your site speed as well as outline all of the ways that you can improve the site’s performance, with recommendations ranging from large server issues to simply compressing your images. Try it out!
Keep things consistent
The relevance of your content is key when trying to keep the user on your site, as they will have clicked through from a search result or social media post for a reason. If you promised them information on how to start a blog, then that needs to be very clear within the first paragraph – and blog title! Any confusion as to what page they’ve landed on and they’ll up and leave.
There also has to be an element of consistency with your website design. For instance, if the user had clicked through from a social media post that looks completely different to the page that they’ve landed on, then they may question whether they clicked on the right thing. It helps to keep things consistent in this regard.
Improve the quality of your content
This may be a hard pill to swallow, but for many people this is true. The quality of your content is the most important aspect of your website, especially when it comes to content creation (i.e. your blog).
In the long run, the majority of your website visitors will have come via Google, therefore its highly-likely that they are looking for the best possible solution to their initial search query, and will quickly leave any website that fails to provide that solution.
If you’re writing informational content, like me, then you need to ensure that your content answers the problem without fuss. You may have noticed that in my posts, I like to include the main answer for the initial question (i.e. how to reduce my bounce rate?) in the second paragraph, after the initial introduction. I also make this answer bold for ease.
Want some more helpful tips on how to structure your blog posts for improved readability and SEO? Check out this article I wrote on how I structure my blog posts.
Consider the user’s experience (UX)
Having great, quality content really bodes in your favour when it comes to building a brand and making money online, however, if it’s really difficult to read your content or navigate through your site, then all of that hard work might be going to waste.
A good example of this is that a few months ago I changed my site’s colour scheme to a darker theme, with dark navy backgrounds, white text and colourful headings. Believe me when I tell you that it looked really cool, however, I began to notice that my bounce rate was jumping up massively. Why? Because my content became harder to read.
It wasn’t that they couldn’t read it, it’s just that they didn’t want to. Despite the great reception that I had from Instagram polls and friends, I had to go with what my analytics were telling me. Not only did I revert back to a lighter theme, but I also stripped back my site to its bare-bones. That’s why my blog posts are just the title & content now.
Of course, that’s just one example and there could be many reasons why your audience just isn’t taking to your site, with reasons including poor layout, paragraph length, colours, functionality and more. If you would like some help with improving your site’s UX design, then feel free to contact me here for consulting work.
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Run some A/B testing
Following on from improving your content and UX design, it’s worth running some A/B tests to determine the source of your high bounce rate. If you don’t know what A/B testing is, it’s a method of changing one aspect of your website and seeing how the analytics improve (or get worse) based on that particular change.
It’s important to only change one aspect of your site at a time, otherwise, it can be difficult to narrow down the source of the problem. An example of an A/B test would be to record your site’s analytics such as bounce rate, link clicks and the whereabouts of those clicks, before altering something specific like the colour scheme from light to dark (or vice versa). After a week or two, you would compare the results.
Once you’re happy with what you see, you can keep the changes as they are or revert them back to normal. You can also run a new A/B test to try and improve on your conversion rates. This time your A/B test could be to change the location of your CTA buttons, font sizes and so on.
Add helpful internal links
Internal links can be a fantastic way of keeping readers on your website, for instance, if you have a blog then you can include links to other blog posts (within your domain) that could also be of use to the reader. It helps if these internal links are relevant to the content that the user is already reading.
A good example of this would be if you were reading this post on internal links and how to reduce your bounce rate, I could also drop an internal link for another article I’ve written on the 7 simple ways that you can improve your site’s SEO yourself! 😉
As you can see, this example was relevant to the content that you’re already reading and it firmly focuses on your reading intentions. When you add internal links (or content in general) you should always be wary of what the reader actually wants to know, from there you can create content that answers every possible question that the reader might have.
Install an SSL Certificate
This can be a simple one to overlook but luckily it’s also a simple one to fix too. An SSL Certificate is a certification that activates the padlock you see in your browser’s search bar above, as well as adding the ‘s’ (for ‘Secure’) onto the end of HTTP (i.e. https).
Having a Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (https) website tells Google that your site is a secure place to process card transactions and information. Without it, users may find it difficult to even view the website.
Often when a site lacks an SSL certificate, the user will first be greeted with a warning message telling them that the site is unsafe before prompting them to return to Google.
I don’t actually know whether this affects bounce rate because the user technically isn’t even landing on the page, but it’s still going to be detrimental to your website’s traffic nonetheless.
To set your site up with an SSL Certificate, you will need to purchase one from your web host provider, however, sometimes an SSL certificate is provided with your hosting package. I know that Siteground includes this in their packages.
BONUS: Build an email list
Although building an email list might not necessarily reduce your bounce rate, it can definitely help to keep your website visitors within your marketing reach – which is vital. If you can somehow capture their email address at the first time of asking before they exit your website, then it gives your business a second chance at making a sale.
When a website visitor subscribes to your email list, it gives you an opportunity to not only to redirect them back to your website, but also to up-sell them products and services too. It really is true when they say that the money is in the email list.
Without an email list or something equivalent, you’re entirely reliant on people clicking through to your website from social media and search engines each and every time. Doing it this way can get quite expensive, both in time and money, especially if you’re also spending money on ads. Save yourself the stress and start building that list today.
Need help with growing & monetizing your email list? Drop me an email here today.
Your bounce rate can differ depending on the industry that you’re in, whether that be in service or retail, but more importantly, it can be affected by your website’s performance, UX design and content, amongst other things. It’s a good idea to perform A/B tests to identify the cause of the high bounce rate and also how you can reduce it.
Do you have any questions or feedback regarding this post? Let me know in the comments below!