Just like a rubber ball, your website has a bounce rate.
Though in the case of a rubber ball, you want you want a high bounce rate. With your website, you definitely do not.
Online marketers cower in fear of the a high bounce rate. Okay, well maybe they don’t cower. But it does cause a certain amount of wringing of fingers and knashing of teeth.
That’s because a high bounce rate refers to the large percentage of visitors that leave your website, or “bounce” back to the search results or referring website or anywhere else besides the one page they viewed on your site.
You don’t want that.
A lot of site managers and webmasters pay close attention to bounce rate and see it as an indication of a site’s appeal.
Generally speaking, in the world of online marketing a good bounce rate is a low bounce rate.
Most bounce rates fall somewhere between 26% to 70%. Here’s how that all plays out:
- 25% or lower might seem like a good thing, but it more likely means that something’s not working because it’s exceedingly rare that over 75% of viewers would hang out indefinitely on one website
- 26-40% is really REALLY good
- 41-55% is considered average and is a realistic objective when you’re starting to factor in bounce rates
- 56-70% is inching into the high range, but there are always other factors that might make sense depending on the website
- 70% or higher means that something has gone wrong with your marketing strategies, or that something is actually broken on the tech/development side
You can find the bounce rate for your site in the Audience Overview tab of Google Analytics.
So what happens if you discover your rate is too high?
There are a number of reasons your website can have a high bounce rate.
In an effort to lower your percentages and land you a good bounce rate, as we’ll take a look at some of the reasons why it may be low.
1. Obnoxious or irritating user experience.
Look. Nobody wants to be faced with a deluge of ads, pop-up surveys, and email subscribe buttons.
The marketing and sales teams may be nuts over these CTA-heavy features, but your users are going to bounce more than a kangaroo on a trampoline. You need only a single, clear call to action.
Also, is your site difficult to navigate? Do they get lost trying to find the search box? Does the user require surgical acuity to click on menu items while using a mobile phone?
It can be tough to see these common design mistakes because you know your website so well. So it’s advised to have a web or UX designer review the site and let you know if anything seems problematic.
2. The user noticeably ages while waiting for your page to load.
We all know that site speed is included in Google’s ranking algorithm.
See, Google wants to promote content that has a good user experience (unlike above) and they’re quick to recognize that a slow site = poor experience.
People are busy. Or maybe they’re just impatient.
Whatever the case, if your page takes longer than a few seconds to load, users may just bolt.
Fixing site speed in an arduous journey that can take many steps. But with each incremental fix, you should also see an incremental boost in speed.
Increasing your page speed could be something as simple as compressing your images, reducing third-party scripts and leveraging browser caching. If those alone don’t work, then seek out web developers who can help you.
3. Pesky pages contributing disproportionately to the overall bounce rate.
Google is savvy at recognizing these troublesome pages.
Now, if your single CTA landing pages are able to satisfy the user intent and cause them to bounce quickly after taking action, but your longer-form content pages have a lower bounce rate, then there’s probably nothing to worry about.
However, you’ll want to use Google Analytics to confirm that this is the case. Otherwise, you might have specific pages with a higher bounce rate causing users to leave en masse.
Consider adding an advanced filter to remove pages that might skew the results.
4. Title tags and/or meta descriptions are misleading.
Is the content of your pages accurately summarized by your title tags and meta descriptions that go with them? Or, even worse, are you trying to game the system by optimizing for keyword clickbait?
When visitors enter a site anticipating they’ll find content about one thing, then see that it’s something else altogether, they’re gonna bounce.
Review the content of your page to adjust the title tags and meta descriptions accordingly or even to rewrite the content to address the search queries for which you truly want to draw visitors.
5. Your product pages might need a little reworking.
These pages are a matter of too much vs. too little.
Too much information will overwhelm, while too little will leave visitors feeling unable to make an informed decision.
If you spend a little time looking at product pages, you’ll probably notice several opportunities for optimization that could not only decrease bounce rates, but improve conversion rates. It’s a two-for-one thing.
Do keep in mind though that bounce rates from product pages are often naturally higher than some other types of pages. This can vary even further depending on the nature of the product or service in question. (For example, the user finds the color of a sweater or the size of a shoe to be all wrong and bounces quickly to the page that has the right color/size.)
Some things you may want to include on your product page are:
- Is your return policy clearly stated to offset risk aversion?
- Is it clear where and how the product was made?
- What do your satisfied customers think of your products?
- Have you featured any rave reviews prominently?
6. You have an affiliate landing page or a single-page site.
In these situations, a good bounce rate is actually a higher bounce rate.
Because if you’re an affiliate, the whole point of your page could be to send people from your website to the merchant’s site. So yeah, a high bounce rate may well mean you’re doing something right.
Similarly, if you have a single page website, such as a simple portfolio site, then it’s normal to have a very high bounce rate. Basically because there’s nowhere else to go.
There could be other reasons you’re not getting a good bounce rate, but the above reasons are a good place to start. An experienced SEO consultant can also help.
Do you have any advice about achieving a good bounce rate that you’d be willing to share? We’d love to hear it.