Before we address the how, as a quick reminder, Google states that:
“A bounce rate is a single-page session. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.”
It can be found in Google Analytics here:
Previously on this blog, we’ve written about bounce rates – when to be worried and when not. We covered bounce rate as a whole (as above) by industry, channel, and device and showed that bounce rates will also differ depending on the type of site as a whole and on the different pages within it:
So we’re going to assume you’ve understood all of that and are now looking for action.
Here are seven ways to improve your bounce rate – with the knowledge that sometimes a high bounce rate can be a result of a positive user experience and means a site visitor has found exactly what they needed.
1. Page load time
Don’t make people wait a split second more than they need to.
Even if the final result is a glorious page with all the information a visitor needs, if the page takes too long to load, they’ll go elsewhere.
Users on mobile devices are likely to have less patience than those on a desktop or laptop as they are more likely to be on the go and want the information yesterday.
2. Mobile devices
Following the 2018 mobile-first Google update, Google primarily uses the mobile version of a webpage for ranking and indexing purposes. If you’re still in the dark ages and your site, or a specific page, isn’t responsive for mobile devices, you may be serving a horrendous user experience, which will radically increase bounce rates.
3. Reduce pop-ups
Being bombarded by pop-ups is bad enough on a desktop but on a mobile, it is sometimes impossible to deal with – especially when the close cross is not displayed clearly.
The same goes for intrusive adverts too.
A page might provide exactly what the user is looking for but if it’s hidden by layers of non-essential content, it can slow the load time and also cause bounce rates to skyrocket as visitors look for another result that serves their interests with fewer intrusions.
4. Site search functionality
If someone lands on a page but can’t find the information they need, help them to stay on your site with a search bar.
If they are effectively landlocked on one page with no way of finding other content, it’s not surprising they hit the back button.
5. Internal linking
Similarly, if you provide links to other content on your site, these are easy signposts to keep visitors on your site for longer.
In general, we’re all lazy and if things aren’t made easy, few visitors will take the initiative to look around your site unless they are pointed in the right direction.
6. Simplify your content
Be honest, was the content in question really written to help users or just because someone was on blog post duty? If it’s waffly or doesn’t get to the point, it might need a rewrite.
You don’t need to dumb down the content just make sure it’s written in a really clear and direct way. If the tone of voice and style of writing is appealing, you’ll encourage people to stick around to read more.
7. Content directing users elsewhere
Check whether your well-meaning content is directing users off to other third-party sites.
For example, if you’ve created some great video content but instead of embedding it into your site, you signpost visitors to YouTube, they are going to quickly click away from your site. If you absolutely have to direct people elsewhere, make sure the new content opens in a new tab, giving users a better chance of returning to your site.
High bounce rates often send webmasters into a flat spin but sometimes the panic is not necessary.
Take a deep breath and identify if the high bounce rate can be justified. If not, objectively assess your page or pages based on the points above to start bringing the rate down.