Six Ways to Improve Your Bounce Rate

Impact Digital Marketing How to Improve your Bounce Rate

Unsure why you’re using up all your AdWords budget but seeing very little in the way of sales and sign-ups?

Improving your bounce rate can help drive you towards achieving greater conversion rates whilst saving you money.

What is bounce rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a website (in this case, your website) who only view the initial page they land on, before leaving the website entirely. The amount of time they spend on the page before it no longer counts as a bounce has not been specified by Google, meaning there could be no limit at all.

How does bounce rate affect my website?

In terms of SEO, Google is unlikely to rank a website well when a large proportion of the visitors leave within a short amount of time, as this likely indicates a poor user experience. This means you’re not only losing out on the users that have decided to visit your site, but, thanks to a lower ranking on Google, you will also be losing out on all the users you would have gained through being ranked higher.

Regarding conversions, users ‘bouncing away’ is likely to mean that they haven’t made a purchase or signed up to any newsletters, mailing lists etc. A lower bounce rate indicates that the user is exploring the site and has taken an interest in what you have to offer, and is thus more likely to make a purchase.

What is a good bounce rate?

Online you may find some suggested averages for where you should hope to have your bounce rate figure, but ultimately a good bounce rate varies depending on the industry you are in. What really matters is how you compare to your competitors. There are tools such as Google Analytics Benchmarking that allow you to compare industry averages for website analytics – including bounce rate.

A word of warning, though: these figures should always be taken with a pinch of salt, as they are not guaranteed to be totally accurate.

How can you improve your bounce rate?

The important thing to remember is that the source of a growing bounce rate is not the search engine; it’s the users visiting your site, which is why it’s crucial to build a website for people, not just for search engines, in order to rank well. The following are just a few examples of how you can achieve this and lower your bounce rate.

One: Fast loading websites

Research by Microsoft found that humans now have a shorter attention span than that of the average goldfish. With this in mind, a slow loading website is a definite no. Large graphics and more content can all contribute to a longer loading time, so it’s important to try and minimise the file size of any graphics being used, and not to try and cram all your information into one page. Other ways to decrease loading times will require a good understanding of the coding used to create it, so it is advisable to enlist the help of a professional if you believe it necessary, rather than attempt it yourself.

Two: Make sure your website is optimised

Having an optimised website means that your website will display in a far more user friendly way on devices that use a differently sized screen (mobile, tablet etc.), improving user experience and making them far less likely to become frustrated and add to your bounce rate.

Three: Clean up your web pages – avoid clutter

You don’t want to make it hard for the user to find whatever it was they were searching for that lead them to you. Avoid pointless content and using too many images in order to provide a cleaner, more readable page. This should make it easier for the user to find your call to action, or at least spot another area of the page they would like to visit.

Four: Make sure external links open a new tab

If you have a link to an external site in some of your content and it has not been configured to open up in a new tab rather than taking you away from the page you’re on, it will count as a bounce (assuming this is the first page they have visited). Most website management systems should offer you the ability to customise links in this way.

Five: Improve keywords – avoid low quality traffic

There is no quick fix for this; you need to experiment with different relevant keywords to determine which ones bring in the most responsive users. Try to avoid spamming your webpage with keywords just to attract in users, as they will only help increase your bounce rate, worsening your search engine results page ranking and potentially wasting your budget if you are using PPC advertising.

Six: Create appropriate and appealing landing pages

One common mistake people make is to direct every user to their home page, regardless of what they searched for to find them. You really should create a number of landing pages dedicated to certain keywords. This way users will be directed to a page more relevant to their original search and so will be less likely to bounce back. Bear in mind that these pages should also be appealing to look at, not just relevant. Many people will just turn away straight away if the website doesn’t look like a reliable answer to their problem

Cater for people, not machines

Search engines these days are clever enough to work out if a website is good enough to rank highly based on a number of factors around how actual users interact with it. If you build your content and website with users’ wants and needs in mind, you will improve in the eyes of the search engine as well.

If you’re interested in making some big improvements on your bounce rate, feel free to contact us for a website audit.

Ryan Sedgwick
Managing Director & Marketing Consultant at Impact Digital Markeitng
A Chartered Marketer, Ryan has gained extensive B2B and B2C marketing experience working across a broad spectrum of industries. Having graduated with a Masters in Marketing Communications from the University of Huddersfield, Ryan successfully utilises his skills and knowledge to effectively support businesses in getting the most from their marketing investments.