One of the important things that many bloggers forget to address is the bounce rate. Although the bounce rate has no direct impact on SEO, it surely does have an impact on other aspects that directly determine your SEO score. The bounce rate also gives you an idea on how your website performs in the business. You can learn if your prospects find whatever they expected on your website by looking at the bounce rate.
All website visitors are prospects, looking for some solution, each for their particular needs. You will understand this better if we look at a website like a store or a shop. Assuming you went to a hardware shop, and you wanted to buy a bag of cement, you would expect to get them in various types from different manufacturers. But the moment you do not find any, you will get out of the shop without looking back, moving forward to the next store.
As a website owner, you need to retain your prospects and possibly turn them to customers. There is the need, therefore, to make sure that your bounce rate goes down as much as possible. This can only happen when your visitors get engaged on your website, and as a result, they are compelled to take actions - eg. download, lead generation, subscription, etc.
Understanding the Bounce Rate
When you open your Google Analytics dashboard, you will see the average bounce rate for your website for the duration you selected. The bounce rate measures how many visitors landed on only one page and left without opening a second page. When there are fewer conversions, you would expect high bounce rates, because when a visitor takes an action, they will load a webpage and your Analytics will record it, and exclude the user from the “bounced” list.
[Recommended: 5 Ways to Increase Customer Engagement on Your Website ]
The bounce rate not only depends on the content you are offering on the landing page but also the source. For instance, a link from a website that promotes computers would expect to land on computer repair, software, or accessories page. If a visitor is redirected to a page promoting other products, eg. construction materials, then they will exit without taking action because they are not interested in your content.
Another thing to note is that bounce rate does not calculate the time a visitor spends on your site. You can have a higher conversion with a high bounce rate if all the processes take place on the same page without reloading the web browser. This Google Analytics Help article explains further on how to use Analytics bounce rate results for a better understanding of your business performance.
How to Determine the Correct Bounce Rate Value
When logged in to your Analytics dashboard, you will see a summary of your website performance as per the visitors you receive. You will see other information that will help you understand the bounce rate on your website. For example, there is a counter for all the users and the new users. New users are recorded from IP addresses that have not visited your site before.
The average bounce rate includes all the users. If a visitor has been on your website before, you are less likely to expect them to read many pages on your blog. But new users could go through more pages to understand your business before they take action or exit. From the image above, you can see that on that day, the total number of visitors included 90.37% new and the rest are returning visitors.
To accurately measure the real bounce rate, you would need to create a new metric rule within your dashboard. On the left menu, click on the “Behavior” link, and then on the “Site Content” under the submenu. Then click on the “All Pages” link. Now on the page that loads, click on the “Add Segment” button. Check the “New Users” box under the selection box and apply changes with the button.
By clicking the “All Pages” link under Behavior on your dashboard, you will see the difference in average bounce rate for all users and the new users. The new users’ bounce rate is the real-time metric you can use when you want to measure the performance of your website for the visitors you receive. Keep this in mind when you start working on reducing bounce rate and maintaining high engagement on your site.
Ways of Reducing the Bounce Rate for Any Website
Working on the bounce rate may take some time, depending on the amount of work you have to do to correct all the situations. We break down the details for you. Go ahead and start executing these steps to make sure that your website visitors take action on your website.
1. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices
According to recent research, mobile devices accounted for 48.2 of all online traffic in 2018. We understand that mobile devices have limitations when it comes to screen resolutions and aligning content. Without better compatibility, a visitor can leave a website almost immediately they land because of the poor user experience.
You do not need to be a developer to understand whether a web page is mobile friendly. By using a free SEO tool, you can determine whether or not your site is compatible for mobile use. One such tool necessary for testing mobile compatibility is the Mobile-friendly Test by Google Search Console.
Optimizing your website for mobile devices will help you retain users who rely on handheld devices for the internet. Another reason is that when sharing content on social media, people use mobile devices to check it out immediately. If they cannot check out or find what they wanted immediately due to compatibility issues, they will leave your page and head over to a competitor’s website.
2. Write High-Quality Content and Make it Engaging
The content you write on your website determines by a large percentage of how your users will be engaged or if they will exit. When writing the content for your landing pages, make sure that they address the needs of your prospects. The pages should only contain the information that is relevant to the keywords for which you are ranking them. You also have to address the issue straight from the beginning.
Content that is easy to read goes beyond using correct grammar and context. You have to ensure that you write it in a presentable way for devices, including smartphones and tablets. The various ways of making content readable include:
- Using subheadings to segment the article.
- Using bullet points.
- Using graphics (images, etc).
3. Correct All Your Broken Links
Broken links add to the poor user experience on a website. Addressing this issue will help you to retain traffic that could otherwise bounce. Imagine a visitor comes from a search engine or a referring blog only to find the product page throwing a 404 error page. You are sure to lose that prospect. They will not likely spend time trying to figure out the location to where you have moved the page. Their first assumption is that the product no longer exists.
In this case, you will need to start the broken link building strategy. If you had updated your site, and the location of various content or products changed, you should make sure to point all incoming links to the existing updated pages. It is essential to use an SEO tool to find which websites link to you so that you can identify the dead links that need updates.
Reaching out to bloggers that linked to your dead links with the updated URL would help you retain SEO value as you work out to reduce the bounce rate. In some cases where you cannot get your links updated, it is ideal to use a 301 redirect to send the broken link visitors to the updated pages. It will help retain your visitors and improve the engagement on your website.
4. Reduce the Page Load Time
Who wants to waste their time waiting for the website content to load? When a new visitor arrives at your site, they will likely be expecting to spend 30 seconds or less to complete their analysis of your product and decide whether they will buy it or not. But as soon as they find out that your website takes more than “normal” time to load, they will bounce in an instant.
A majority of the bouncing visitors click the back button on the browser and go back to search results to continue to your competitor’s site. This has a negative impact on your SEO because Google will understand that your website has a poor user experience. To help your website visitors complete what brought them to your site, make sure that your website loads faster.
Some of the ways you can reduce the loading time on your website include:
- Optimizing the images by compression.
- Loading all CSS from internal files (avoid importing via URL callback.)
- Minifying your HTML, JS, and CSS files.
- Enabling Gzip compression.
To learn more on the various ways that your website needs to be optimized for fast loading, visit https://gtmetrix.com and paste your website URL. Follow the instructions thereafter to optimize your site and lower bounce rate.
Harold is a marketing enthusiast and an influencer in Different verticals. She keeps special interest in the impact of visual branding on business growth. She has been writing for a long time now and has a interest in traveling as well.