Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who come to your website and leave without viewing any content. First impressions are essential, if a potential customer doesn’t like what they see, they are either going to hit the back button or close the browser. You categorically do not want a high bounce rate. The main reason being that it’s not good for your search engine optimization results.
Search engines monitor bounce rates closely, a high bounce rate is an indication that people are not interested in your content. Therefore, they will penalize you with low visitor traffic and by giving your website a low ranking. At the end of the day, it doesn’t look good on them if websites on the first page of search results don’t have good content. Basically, it’s in your best interests to make sure your website has everything it needs to keep your visitors fully engaged.
A Better Understanding of The Bounce Rate
There are some metrics that just don’t get enough attention, and the bounce rate is one of them. A lot of website owners have no idea how important this is when it comes to search engine optimization. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave a website without navigating to any other pages. You can get this information from Google Analytics tracking software. When a website is clicked on, Google monitors how long each person stays on the site, and whether they click through to other pages.
When a visitor leaves your website by hitting the back button, it’s referred to as ‘return to SERP.’ However, since Google is pretty secretive about exactly how they monitor websites, it is not known how long a visitor must stay on a website before Google counts it as a return to SERP. Nevertheless, what we can tell you is that when visitors leave your website just as quickly as they came onto it, it doesn’t give your site the best of reputations. You may be thinking, “well, what if a visitor is clicking out of my website because they found what they were looking for?” This is a good question because indeed some browsers are just looking for a quick answer to their query. The problem is that Google or any of the other search engines are not capable of monitoring this. Therefore, to resolve the problem of a high bounce rate, your only option is to make sure your website is good enough.
What is a Good Bounce Rate For SEO?
As mentioned, Google doesn’t hand out this information for free, so there’s no definitive answer to this question. The percentage is going to vary depending on your website and your business goals. Since there is no answer to this question, many businesses choose not to focus on it, and instead invest more in metrics such as scroll depth and dwell time. Despite not knowing the precise percentage for a good bounce rate, it’s best to do what you can to keep it as low as possible.
How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate
So, you’ve checked your Google Analytics and you’ve got a high bounce rate, now what? Not to worry, you can reduce it; here are some tips on how to do so:
- Page Load Time Optimization: Before you do anything else, make sure your page load time is properly optimized. The assumption is that content and visual stimulation are the most important aspects of a website, this is not the case. One of the worst problems a website can have is the length of time it takes to load. You could have the most stunning website with killer content, but if it takes forever to show up on a visitor’s screen, they will click out very quickly.
- Content Formatting: Less is always more when it comes to website content. Visitors are not interested in fighting through stacks of text before they find what they’re looking for. If you are guilty of bombarding your visitors with too much text, it’s time to cut it down and reformat.
- Limit Promotions and Sidebar Widgets: It’s always a good idea to provide your visitors with extras such as promotional offers and other relevant content. This is especially applicable to blogs. However, when it’s overdone, it looks tacky and it’s a guaranteed way to overwhelm visitors and send them running right into the arms of your competitors. As mentioned, there is nothing wrong with providing your visitors with additional content in your sidebar, just make sure it’s done in moderation.
- Don’t Just Focus on Bounce Rate: There is a chance that there is more going on with your website than the bounce rate. You may have a problem with your product page, your blog page or you might not be providing your visitors with what they want, and so they leave. For example, if your time on site is low and your bounce rate is high, it may be an indication that your website isn’t providing visitors with what they need. This could be a keyword issue. Let’s say you sell dog collars and the content on your page has got the relevant keywords related to dog collars. If a browser just wants information about dog collars, and types in something like, “the best dog collars for small dogs.” If your page comes up and they are not looking to buy dog collars, they are going to click out as soon as they realize that you sell dog collars. These are the sorts of issues you will need to pay attention to.
As you have read, there is much more to having a website then visual stimulation and good content. If you want to gain a competitive advantage in your industry, you will need to invest in expert assistance. Bounce rate and other metrics are complicated, and if you are not familiar with how to navigate these areas, you will do your business a huge disservice. Remember, the problems that seem insignificant are often the ones that require the most attention.