The bounce rate is a key performance indicator of the percentage of visitors that leave your website without interacting with additional pages on your website. A visitor lands on a page on your website, reads that page and then “bounces” off the page.
The bounce rate is one of the many factors Google takes into account when ranking your pages in search engine results. Some SEO professionals are obsessed with lowering this metric as they believe it will improve their search engine ranking, but it may not always be the case.
It’s also worth noting that a 100% bounce rate on a specific page, may not always be a negative. A website visitor could have simply found the answer they were looking for and decided to exit out of the page. It happens very frequently.
In this article we will take a look at 10 factors that can impact your websites bounce rate. We will also discuss some common misconceptions about the bounce rate and what it actually represents.
There are many website owners that look at the bounce rate of a website simply as a static figure. It’s much deeper than that. In order to get an accurate idea about whether or not your website's bounce rate is good, you have to know some of the industry averages and measure it against them.
Knowing industry average bounce rates can help give you more accurate insight into your websites bounce rate. In most cases the lower the bounce rate the better, but knowing industry averages can put you at ease and also set some benchmarks.
How your content is structured and layed out across your website can have a massive impact on the bounce rate of individual pages and your website as a whole. Once you publish a new piece of content it’s important to immediately put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Read through your content and see how visually engaging and entertaining it is.
Some important content structure questions to consider include:
These are some important questions to consider about your website's content structure in order to look for ways to improve your bounce rate.
If you notice that individual web pages on your website have bounce rates of 100%, there is most likely a reason that has nothing to do with the actual quality of your content. Instead it could have to do with how your content is laid out across blog or article pages.
Experimenting with different layouts or even website themes can help you improve your bounce rate and retain more traffic. Test out how different layouts impact your bounce rate and optimize until you are at least on target with your industry benchmarks.
This is a big one. If your website pages take over 3 seconds to load on average, your bounce rate will be significantly impacted. A study done by Google revealed that if the page load speed increases from 1 second to 3 seconds the probability of a bounce increases by over 32%.
As a result it’s extremely important to keep a close eye on your page load speed on both mobile and desktop.
A great resource to test the speed of your individual pages is GTMetrix. See our results below from testing the load speed of Amazon.
The performance grade is an assessment of the overall page performance. It shows how fast your page loaded for users and how well it’s built for performance.
In order to reduce your bounce rate you have to supply your visitors with other resources throughout the page that they can click and navigate to. Having links to other related articles or helpful resources will help reduce your bounce rate and also provide the visitor with a more memorable experience of your website.
You should look to add at least 2-3 helpful internal links for your readers that makes them feel induced to click on. It’s important to note that they should be related to the topic you are discussing and should be very visible to your users.
Having internal links through your website has a dramatic impact on your bounce rate and user experience.
This can be a tricky one for website owners to grasp, but the page intent carries weight on the bounce rate. Broken down into layman's terms, what is the intended function of the web page?
When you are building content you should build it with intent in mind. What are you trying to get your visitor to do and how can you structure your content in a way that makes them want to stay longer on your website and explore your other content.
Recommended Reading: Intent Driven Content: Marketing Strategy To Boost Your Brand and Sales
This should come as no surprise. Your website design should reflect the niche of your content. All elements on your website should be clearly visible, look irresistible and carry some level of mystery.
If you have a poor and cluttered website design, your website visitors will not want to stay and check out other content. Think of your website design as a hotel. Would you want to check out the rest of the hotel's amenities if it was poorly built?
Next to website load speed and content relevancy, website design carries the most impact on the bounce rate of your pages.
Content relevancy is perhaps the second most important metric that can influence your bounce rate. If most users who land on your website don’t find the content relevant to their search query, they will leave extremely quickly.
As a matter of fact, if a website user doesn’t find your content relevant within the first 10 seconds of reading it, the probability of them bouncing off your page increases by 35%.
Recommended Reading: 10 Reasons to Use Infographics In Your Marketing
They can be temporarily distracted if your website has a sleek design, but if their search intent isn’t satisfied quickly they will leave your website. In order to combat this, it’s your goal as a content creator to quickly summarize what your web page or blog post is about so your audience is engaged from the start and knows what to expect from the rest of your content piece.
Website owners and marketers all have a motivation to monetize their websites. One of the oldest and most popular ways to monetize websites is through display advertising. There is nothing wrong with monetizing your website, but it’s important to know the impact that ads and pop-ups can have not only on the user experience but also your websites ability to rank.
Having too many ads on your website and in locations that interfere with the user experience can have a significant impact on your bounce rate. Ads can slow down your website which can further impact your bounce rate.
Pro Tip: If you decide that you want to place ads on your website it’s important that you carefully place them around your website and in a limited capacity. At the same time you should monitor your website for changes in load speed and bounce rate.
Calls to action are often an overlooked component which carries weight on your website's bounce rate. If you have specific action that you would like a visitor to take, don’t be shy in making it visually known on your website.
Using the right call-to-action words will help bring down your bounce rate. Below are 10 powerful call to action words to consider using.
It’s also important you create visually identifiable call to action buttons on your website which help to navigate your audience to different pages. See example below.
Most website owners fail to properly break down the multiple factors and traffic sources that contribute to the overall bounce rate of their website. It’s important to know the impact of your bounce from each traffic source.
As a general rule of thumb and depending highly on the quality of your content organic traffic tends to carry lower bounce rates than other traffic sources. Below is a breakdown of bounce rate performance levels by traffic source, with 1 holding the lowest bounce rate. This is from our personal experience.
Organic traffic held the lowest bounce rate of all the traffic sources we analyzed and social traffic happened to be the highest. So, when measuring your bounce rate it’s important to take a look into the origination of traffic and weight it out.
One of the most common misconceptions about the bounce rate is that it simply means that your website and content suck. This isn’t always the case. If you are providing the exact content that someone is looking for and that’s all they needed and wanted to read, your website was useful to the reader. It can simply be a reflection of the type of content you have created and the type of queries your website ranks for.
Another common misconception about the bounce rate is that the lower your bounce rate the better. Generally speaking, this can be true but it depends on what your website and pages are trying to accomplish.
If someone is clicking through pages of your website to try and find helpful resources your bounce rate could be low, but they may only be spending 3-5 seconds on a page which doesn’t indicate they found anything on your website useful.
As you can see there is more to the bounce rate than simply a high or low percentage. It carries multiple levels of information and it takes some time and analysis to understand and improve. If you want to improve your website’s bounce rate it’s important you first take the time to understand what the underlying contributing factors are and how you can tweak them in order to see improvement.