Bounce Rate: What it is, and How to Reduce it

If you read a bit about website optimisation or use Google Analytics, you’ve probably seen the term ‘Bounce Rate’ followed by a percentage. You have probably realised the term carries some importance, but just how much do you know about this mysterious term? In a nutshell, what is it, and what can be done to improve it?

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that leaves without staying to look around. It’s a bit like if you have a shop, and someone comes along and looks at what you have displayed in the window, then leaves without stepping through the door to explore what else you have to offer inside.

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that leaves without staying to look around.

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that leaves without staying to look around.

When you login to your Google Analytics, the bounce rate is one of the first things you will see beside the number of visitors to your website. If you see a bounce rate of 80 per cent, this means that 80 per cent of the visitors to your website left before going any further than the page they landed on. This ‘landing page’ could have been your home page, or some other internal page.

Generally what you want for your website is a low bounce rate. You want people to stick around and browse through everything you have to offer. If people are leaving without doing this, then it may mean they are not finding what they want. However, you should not put your head in your hands just yet, because a high bounce rate may well mean something else.

When a high bounce rate actually ISN’T something to worry about

It may actually be that your visitors HAVE in fact found what they needed on the very page they landed on, and did not need to look around. It may be that the page had a strong enough call to action to compel them to act immediately. For example, they may have called you, or completed a contact form. Then again they may have clicked on a link that you wanted them to follow, such as an affiliate advertisement. It all depends on your goals as to whether a high bounce rate is actually a bad thing.

If however you do want your visitors to spend some quality time on your website and look around the content you have invested great consideration in, then you will want to focus on reducing your bounce rate if it appears high. But what actually defines ‘high’?

What is a ‘high’ bounce rate?

Most expert sources agree that a bounce rate of around 40 per cent is excellent, and that 41 to 55 per cent is average. Anything over 55 per cent is higher than average, and over 70 per cent may be cause for concern, unless as we said your goal is to convert your visitors there and then on the page on which they land.

So what to do if you ARE looking to reduce an above average bounce rate? Here are a few solutions:

Offer easy ways to explore your site

If a visitor is met by clear routes to other sections of your website, such as links within the content or a list of related pages listed in a sidebar, you are going to stand a much better chance of enticing them to further explore what you have to offer and how to buy from you. Head up a list of links with a ‘You may also like’, ‘Popular Products’, ‘About us’, ‘How to order’  or ‘Related Posts’ and you could tempt a longer stay.

Find ways of enticing visitors to explore more of your website.

Find ways of enticing visitors to explore more of your website.

Provide a bank of information

Your visitors may not be ready to make a purchase or enquiry the minute they land on your website: they may well want to find out more first. So provide them with more information. List useful resources such as brochure downloads, information guides, product manuals, customer reviews or how-to videos. These should help to maintain the interest of the visitor until they are ready to take action.

Review your content

It may be that the content on your landing pages is not doing a good enough job of impressing visitors to the point where they want to find out more. Is the content compelling? Is it telling visitors what they need to know and want to hear? Is it well targeted? Has it been well written so it is free from typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors? Visitors are renowned from being turned off by poorly written content, so make sure what you have on your pages is sending out the right messages.

A low bounce rate generally equates to a higher conversion rate. If you are having difficulty in getting your bounce rate down, you may need a concentrated strategy. If you could use some help, please get in touch.

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