You’ve had a quick look around your Google Analytics. A figure keeps jumping out at you and you’re not sure if you should do anything about it; it’s the bounce rate. It’s sitting at 60% but what does it mean? Is that good or bad? Where many people tend to ignore the bounce rate, there’s quite a lot it can tell you about your website and whether or not you need to make changes.
What is bounce rate?
Google explains the bounce rate as follows:
Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.
How do I know if my bounce rate is good?
It depends. Where some webmasters feel their 75% bounce rate is fantastic, others may be doing all they can to get it down. It depends on the goal of your website, and it depends on your industry.
GoRocketFuel.com specify that the average bounce rate is between 41-51% but emphasise that for websites with a higher than average bounce rate, it’s not necessarily a cause for alarm. They mention that websites with a 70% bounce rate that aren’t a blog, news, or events website, should revise their site.
If you are an eCommerce site, for example, a low bounce rate is better. If someone lands on your homepage with the intent to shop a particular item, you want them to click to other pages on your website. It’s normal, however, for a blog to have a higher bounce rate because quite often the purpose is usually to read the one blog post OR the blog has one page on its website. If you have a website purely as a point for customers to contact you, then the homepage may be the only page they visit if it has your contact details.
Why you shouldn’t ignore your bounce rate
Let’s not jump to conclusions too quickly. It’s best to delve a little deeper into five reasons why your bounce rate could be too high. The good news is, these are all fixable and requires you to probe into your Google Analytics as far as you can until you find an answer.
During your probe, remember:
- A blog will have a different bounce rate to your product pages.
- In your audience overview, the bounce rate is a site-wide bounce rate, the average of all your pages.
Take a look at each landing page and analyse those with a higher bounce rate, segmenting them down by variables like demographics, channels, time on page, affinity etc.
- Content Quality
A common reason visitors will bounce off your website is that they’re unhappy with the quality of your content. They’ve landed on your page and, as they begin to read, they notice grammatical errors, off-topic content, or, it merely puts them to sleep. The time on page can usually give a hint to whether your content is the problem. If they’re in and out in 20 seconds and it’s a three-minute read, maybe it’s time to get some professional content writing.
- SEO Relevancy
Avoid using keywords just because they have a high volume; they’re not necessarily the right ones. The problem with only going for high volume keywords is that they’re not necessarily appropriate. When people Google this keyword and land on your content, they’re quick to bounce because the content is irrelevant. Take a look at the pages on your website that gets the highest bounce rates and then take a look at the keywords that are being used to find this content. Are the keywords relevant to your content? If not, look to revise your keyword strategy for that page, not forgetting the user intent.
- Campaign Optimisation
The bounce rate can be a critical factor in determining the success of a campaign such as a landing page. When you notice that your conversions are low, for example, sign-ups to your list, a high bounce rate may indicate visitors are not being drawn into your offer. It could be as simple as revising your headline or call to action. If you do have a landing page that’s working well, compare the two and make the necessary changes. If you don’t have anything to compare to, make small changes and monitor your bounce rate and conversions over time until you hit the sweet spot.
- Site Speed
Did you know that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load? As a business, just imagine how much money you would lose if you experienced that kind of abandonment? It’s frustrating for the user and a key cause of high bounce rates; it’s not just content and keywords.
- Site Navigation
Your site navigation has to make sense to the user otherwise, like site speed, they’ll get frustrated and will leave. Site navigation has to be simple, a no brainer. The user shouldn’t have to dig deeper and deeper to find the content they’re after, in fact, they won’t, they’ll just leave. Keep your menu logical, tell the user where to click and make navigation enjoyable whether it takes someone five clicks or ten clicks to get to the content they’re after.
Bounce rate has been that elusive percentage staring at you on the overview page of your Google Analytics, but now you can see it’s a window into so many ways you can make your website better and get the outcomes you’ve been desiring. It may take some time to delve into each page, piece of content and group of keywords but a high bounce rate is usually a good indicator and starting point that something can be improved.
Dana Flannery is the Owner, Creative Director and Digital Strategist at TAC Digital, a Digital Marketing Agency in Brisbane dedicated to helping businesses increase website traffic and conversions.