Every month we send our customers a brief overview of their website analytics. This allows them and us to work together to improve their website. One of these analytics is the bounce rate of their website. So what is bounce rate?
Firstly, a bounce is a single-page session on your site. This means a user has gone onto your site, did not interact with anything, then left. This means search engines cannot see how useful your web page is. So your bounce rate is how many people went onto a single page and left compared to all users who used your site. (single page users/all users*100).
Why is understanding my bounce rate important?
It’s not just the bounce rate that is important. It gives you insight into realising how your users are interacting with your website. Whenever we release a blog, for example, our bounce rate increases. Why? Because they read our blog via a social media link and then left again. It’s common, it’s expected and that’s ok. Yes, we would prefer people to check out our services afterwards. But, blogs have an expected higher bounce rate than most of the other website. That’s because people are fact-checking or may find it an interesting read.
If your home page was getting a 100% bounce rate, then this would be different. You want people to check out your services or products, so should be leaving your home page to go somewhere else. If that’s not the case then you should improve your home page to encourage the user to click on call to actions.
Does each type of website have an expected bounce rate?
Not expected, but every part of your website should have a different bounce rate. There are realistic numbers that you should be happy with. You don’t need every page to be zero and this is not a realistic expectation of bounce rate.
- Home page – For any website, I would expect the home page to have around 60% bounce rate. Why? Because most customers go on your website to get a contact number or email. This is something every website should have on their home page. So, yes it does increase bounce rate. But, it’s an essential part of your business to be able to let customers easily contact you.
- Service pages – This can be variable. Technically, we want these to be “exit pages”. So, if someone finds my service page (e.g. our web design page) on Google then I would expect this to increase my bounce rate. This is due to finding the service they want straight away, finding my contact details on that page, then leaving. I would expect service page bounce rates to be like the home page. It may be even higher if the service pages are well SEO’d.
- E-commerce Sites – Most of the time people browse retail shops, thus, your bounce rate would be expected to be lower. As high as 40% would be deemed an expected rate. It does depend on how many products you have and how many are similar.
- Blogs – As before stated these are about providing information and not necessarily sales or lead generated material. I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of your blogs are close to 100%. I wouldn’t waste any effort on trying to reduce the bounce rate on blogs.
How do you decrease your bounce rate?
Reducing Bounce rate is about looking after your visitors
Firstly, ensure your home page’s layout is correct – Read our blog on The whole point of a home page and what you should have on it. This will mean your home page is set in a correct structure to optimize the call to actions and get people on to a service or product page.
Choose the right keywords to match your content – Don’t just use keywords to attract the most number of visitors. Your service and product pages should have the correct keywords for your target audience. It’s still a numbers game but make sure you are getting the right numbers.
Create different landing pages – Say, for example, you are an electrician. Some people will want domestic services and will type in “Electrician in Reading”. Yet, if you also provide commercial or contractual electrical work, these searchers might add specific terms. These may include words such as “NICEIC certified electrician” or “time served electrician”. So these unique keywords will bring in a more specific target audience.
Write useful meta descriptions for search engine users – For each page, you should:-
- use your most important keywords for that specific page. Search engines will highlight this keyword when it finds the searchers query in your snippet.
- Make sure the meta description is a structured sentence. Keyword stuffing your meta description is bad and it doesn’t help the searcher. Normal readability is key.
- The description MUST match the content on the page, but you should also make it as appealing as possible. Give a tease of what they could learn or find. Remember, this is the first thing people will see about your business, so make it count.
- Keep to the point. A meta description should be no longer than 135 – 160 characters long. Any longer and it will be chopped at the end.
- Ensure the meta descriptions are written differently for every page. You may be penalised if your meta descriptions are replicated. You should realise that each page shows a different part of your business. Make sure the meta-tag is unique and also reflects that page.
- Finally, consider using rich snippets – schema markup can add star ratings, customer ratings, product information, etc to your meta description.
Navigation – Direct from the words of Google, “Make sure each action can be completed in five steps or less.” So, a shop sites five steps might be:-
- Search a product
- Find your home page
- Search the product
- Click and customize the product
- Check out
It depends on what you want them to do on your site. But, make sure it’s easy to navigate and your key products and services are easy to find.
Speed Up Page Load Time
The first trick is to go to Google’s pagespeed insights. This will give you an accurate reading of your load speed on all devices.
Next is to ensure your images are at optimized sizes. That means if you only need an image to be 600x400px then make sure it is. Using full images scaled costs time in downloading the image. You can even use a plugin on WordPress such as smush to optimize your images.
Set external links to open in new browser windows/tabs – This means people can navigate to another website but don’t need to reload yours.
Provide quality and easily readable content
Your page content doesn’t need to be fancy. Just make sure the user receives a clear message from the start about the content of the pages. Use clear headers and subheads so that people know that they are on the correct page. Make the information tailored to your target audience. Use a font that is readable. Make sure the images are suitable to the page, product and your business. SPELLCHECK, SPELLCHECK, get someone else to read it and SPELLCHECK AGAIN. If you haven’t already, you should already have downloaded and started using Grammarly on your computer. The free spell check and grammar checker is far superior compared to Words included one and you can even add a Grammarly Chrome extension so it works on websites you are writing on such as your WordPress site.
And finally, set a path for your customers on each page. Include a clear call-to-action and obvious links to next steps.
For the keen-eyed reader, you should have noticed that your bounce rate is directly influenced by doing your on-page SEO work. Not only this but there is a direct link to bounce rate and user experience. Google did release a statement mid-2020 saying that user experience will be a key factor to your website ranking.
Is having a high bounce rate bad? Not necessarily. You need to explore your analytics a bit further. Check which pages are associated with the high bounce rates and whether that’s an acceptable range. You need to check your bounce rates with time spent on that page. This will give you a better idea if people are using your page rather than immediately leaving your page.
Do you have any further thoughts or questions? Leave us a comment below.