Among the many metrics of SEO, the Google Analytics bounce rate is a commonly misunderstood one. Many marketers fail to make sense of and leverage this in a way that will improve the website.
But the most basic thing about the Google Analytics bounce rate is simple and understood by all. A high bounce rate is poor for your website, while a low bounce rate means your website is performing well.
There are many answers that a marketer needs to know before starting with the improvement of a website’s bounce rate. Some of the top questions that help you understand this metric better are:
A bounce rate is the percentage of the number of website visitors that visits a page but instantly leaves it without taking any specific action – like, buying a product, exploring a service, downloading a file, etc. These users don’t even click any other links on your website or view any pages other than the page they land on. Leaving the site instantly can be termed as ‘bouncing’, and hence, we call it bounce rate.
While we all understand that the lower the bounce rate, the better performance of your website, it is virtually impossible to have a 0% bounce rate for a website unless the website is starting out and only have a few visitors so far.
The bounce rate of a website says a lot about its performance. A high bounce rate also considered a bounce rate, means your website doesn’t deliver the expected user experience or site sales. Understanding bounce rate and making use of this data is important for optimizing your site’s conversion rate.
For a better bounce rate, the sites should be able to hold the attention of their users. When a new lead is directed to your website from other sites or links or discovers your site without any links, they must find something on the website to stick around for exploring, and eventually find something to take an action.
Google uses the bounce rate of websites to decide if it can recommend your site to others. If a visitor of your site sticks around your site enough to explore multiple web pages, then Google considers that the users find your content interesting and helpful.
But your bounce rate doesn’t directly affect how you rank, although the bounce rate factor does contribute to the relevancy of websites. The Google algorithm considers your site irrelevant or ranks your site lower to a user with a search intent similar to the previous user who didn’t spend enough time on your site.
There are many ways by which a visitor can bounce from your website, and some of them are:
Understanding bounce rate and analyzing the data is not an entirely easy task. Like many other factors, bounce rate analytics are found on the analytics dashboard as well. Bounce rate is one of the important ranking factors on the Google search engine results page (SERPs).
Many marketing experts consider that a good bounce lies somewhere around 40%, but most websites have bounce rates somewhere between 41-51%. But over 70% of bounce is an incredibly bad bounce rate.
Enabling benchmarking in the Benchmarking section allows you to have more insights or get a visualization of average bounce rates in your industry. Enabling benchmarking also let’s get data for section-specific bounce rates, and this helps you how your website’s bounce rates are faring compared to your competitors.
Measuring or analyzing your bounce rates separately gives you an accurate percentage and helps you in understanding your analytics better or eventually why your website is not performing as expected.
Measuring your bounce rates individually also is beneficial during the A/B testing for new page designs. You can launch two different landing pages, and see which ones have higher bounce rates. This will help you avoid that design in the future.
The first common section you will find focusing on is probably the Audience Overview report, which shows the bounce rate of the overall site. But you can also get into more reports for different perspectives. Such as the All Pages report, which provides you with the bounce rate for individual webpages, and Channels Report gives you bounce rates for each channel grouping.
Regardless of which section you view, a lower Google bounce rate means you have a high chance of conversion of your visitors while a higher bounce rate means your website fails to engage the visitors in some parts of the website. But remember that, this is what we assume from the data we have and can be true to only an extent.
Note that a bounce rate is not the same as the exit rate of a certain page, and often exit rates are not something you need to be panicked about. For example, an order confirmation page on many eCommerce websites is expected to have a high exit rate. But having a high bounce rate on that page means people are directed to that page without buying a product/ service or visiting any other pages.
Once you have created content and shared it across various channels, you will have many users visiting the URL to read the piece of content. But there must be something you expect your users to do after they have finished reading. You must present your readers with some action to take. It could be something like buying a product or service, our downloading an app, etc. Having an appropriate precise Call to Action (CTA) means your visitors have an idea of where to go from here.
The best way to make people visit your page is to create entertaining and attractive titles for your content. But in the aim of doing so, many marketers go overboard and end up creating titles that turn out to be irrelevant or misleading.
Often these titles can be called click baits. And most often it can be that marketers are deliberately trying to create clickbait titles to gain attention and have potential readers click on the link. And while this is often enough for people to click on the link, they eventually, often immediately realize that there is nothing special about the content and bounce from your site.
Being mobile-friendly matters a lot for the websites because a significant amount of your users or visitors are visiting your site from mobile devices. If the website you are hosting doesn’t have a responsive design, then you are definitely going to have a high bounce rate. You can always test your website for Mobile-Friendly by running it through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
If your page bounce rate data says that all visitors spend less than a second on your page, then there must be something wrong with it altogether, and just about the quality of content. Your page might be blank or have some technical error, which often is shown by 404.
You can test your page from a browser that your visitors mostly use, and try to recreate the experience your audience goes through while opening that page. You can also see the problem from Google’s perspective by using Search Console under Coverage.
If you think you have done everything right for a particular page, and it still experiences a high bounce rate, then the problem could lie with the referring site. The site could be sending irrelevant visitors to your page by adding your link with the wrong context.
Sometimes it could be that the writer didn’t plan to link your page at all. But nevertheless, this issue can be fixed by reaching out to the publisher and requesting them to update their information or remove your link altogether in case your link has nothing to do with their context.
If this is truly a scenario where the publisher unknowingly linked your page, you have a high chance of getting everything straight.
After learning how to analyze your bounce rate data, and what are some of the factors that influence your bounce rate, it is time for you to work on improving it and eventually improving conversion.
Writing for SEO is not similar to writing for essays. There are many structures, or formats you must adhere to, to make your content readable by the audience. Valuable content alone doesn’t mean good readability and vice versa. Keep your heading bold and big so that it stands out from the rest of the content. Ensure that your whole content is not a long paragraph and is broken down into various sub-headings and short paragraphs.
The use of bullet points is one of the ways to make your content easy to read, and the use of infographics or images can provide an extra reference while the audience is reading different topics. You can also use white spaces and font style appropriately for improving readability.
High-quality and relevant images are a great way to reduce your bounce rate. And this is proven to be an effective way also. While many famous companies were using plain white backgrounds and minimalistic layouts, now they have replaced it all with quality images on the landing pages.
Even though you cannot hire a personal photographer, you can buy stock images from a wide range of photography websites. How you place your images is another tricky part that contributes to an engaging website.
We have mentioned before how having a CTA is an essential part of your content, but where your CTA appears and how it appears is important as well. A small CTA button, for example, might not be helping much because many audiences are not exactly looking specifically for it.
The aim here is to make the CTA button large enough for grabbing the attention of a visitor trying to leave a page or explore the page aimlessly. Apart from the size, the color, and the design of the button matter a lot too.
CTA’s contribute a lot to compel a customer to take any action and hence improve conversion.
There has been a popular concept going on that the audience on the internet has a very short attention span. From YouTube shorts to social media reels, we want everything to be made concise in a short time.
And this is reflected on the websites too. Your visitors only have a few seconds before they make up their mind whether or not to stay on your website, and you don’t want to spoil this chance by offering them a page that says ‘loading’ for what seems like forever from your audiences’ perspective.
Slowly loading pages experience a high bounce rate and it’s a fact. Google Analytics offers you data about timings through the Page Timings report to check which pages are facing high bounce rates because of loading speed.
While understanding and making sense of your bounce rate data might be possible after reading about it, fixing the problems requires more than one skilled professional. For example, working on the content will require you a good copywriter, but the same professional might not always work on designing your CTA button. It is always better to hire a digital marketing agency for the same.