Bounce rate? What is that? Sounds like an unimportant term, right? Believe it or not, most small business owners running online businesses are completely unaware of what this term means. On the other hand, most webmasters are probably aware of the meaning but they hardly care about it, until they start with paid search engine marketing, where bounce rate becomes crucial. Why the ignorance? Is it really worth it to spend time on understand what bounce rate is and minimizing it? Well, once you are through this article, the first thing you would want to do is work on reducing your bounce rate!
What is Bounce Rate?
In simple words, bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your web page and leave without taking any further action. These actions could include registering for your services, signing up for newsletters, or just move to another page within your website.
However, while this definition may sound simple, it gets a bit complicated when you are faced with other similar terms such as ‘exit rate’. Many webmasters and marketers confuse between ‘exit rate’ and ‘bounce rate’. It should be noted here that both the terms are relatively close, but not similar in nature.
Exit rate is the percentage of users who visit your website and quite. Now, exit rate, does not take into consideration whether the user made any further interaction with your website. The exit rate will not tell you if your users had made any other actions while on your web page. It will only give you an overall statistic of how long the user was on your web page.
A common argument is that eventually a user will leave your web page and it will be counted towards your exit rate. Yes, that’s true but it should be noted here that the exit rate helps you identify the amount of time a user is spending on your website, while bounce rate identifies the activities users have performed on your landing page. With bounce rates, you can measure a certain landing page’s effectiveness and areas that need improvement.
Why Bounce Rate is so Important?
Understanding how to analyze bounce rates and how to use them to make your web pages better is an art in its own. While the definition of bounce rates is simple enough, the application is tricky. Probably this is the reason why most webmasters either pay no heed to bounce rates or simply are unable to understand the metrics.
The rule of thumb is that a higher bounce rate is a negative indication. It tells you that your landing page is not effective and a lot of people that are coming to the web page and quitting without taking any action. On the other hand, a reduced bounce rate means that most of the users are taking some sort of action on your landing page. This action could be moving to another page, registering on your website and so on.
My Bounce Rate is too high. Should I be Worried?
Generally, yes. A higher bounce rate means your landing page strategy is ineffective. However, it should be noted here that a higher bounce rate is not always negative. Obviously, it’s never positive either! But, it all depends on the type of services you are offering or the main reason behind your landing page.
For instance, if you are selling products online and you have created a landing page so that your visitors can register for your products, buy the products or sign up for your newsletters, but a lot of them are quitting without taking these actions. In this scenario, yes a higher bounce rate is really something to be worried about because the entire purpose of your web page is not being fulfilled.
But, let’s assume you have a website where you are providing services such as consultancy and you want your visitors to call you or email you. You create a landing page for the sole purpose of bringing your potential customers to the page and educating them about your products or services. Once they are educated, you want them to simply call you up manually or connect with you in any other way. In other words, there is no action that you would want the user to take on the landing page. In this scenario, a higher bounce rate does not really affect your business. Let’s say, in this scenario the bounce rate really does not matter.
Expert Advice: It needs to be noted here that it is always recommended to create landing pages or web pages that you are advertising with clear CTAs (Call to Action buttons). Why? Simple because your web page’s analytics matter. If you create a campaign where you don’t want the visitor to perform an action then you won’t be able to know if the visitors to your page were interested in your services or not. The best way to go about this is ask your visitors to sign up to get a call back or register in order to receive more details. For business that are not selling products online but want customers to connect with them via other means, this is the best approach. At least you won’t be losing any leads!
What Bounce Rate You Should Be Maintaining?
Unfortunately, bounce rate cannot be avoided. No optimizer or webmaster has been able to bring down the bounce rate to zero. Therefore, there is a term ‘good bounce rate’ or ‘healthy bounce rate’ signifying a range of bounce rate that is acceptable within your niche. However, this absolutely does not mean that you should not be working on reducing your bounce rate to its minimum. It all depends on the industry you are in. For instance, in some niches, a 40% bounce rate is considered good while in some niches it is considered extremely bad. Also, your overall product strategy and marketing strategy should be aligned with your bounce rate expectations. If you have bounce rate as high as 80% but you are able to make a great deal of profit with the 20% visitors who are taking action, then what does it matter? Sure you should bring down the bounce rate as much possible to ensure you profit even more.
So, there is no simple answer as to what Bounce Rate is good enough to be maintained. However, it is generally said that a bounce rate between 20% and 40% is good.
Advantages of a Low Bounce Rate:
So, while there are a lot of counter arguments, let’s establish the fact that a low bounce rate is always good. A higher bounce rate might not be bad but it’s definitely not favorable.
Now, the question arises, how important it is to maintain a lower bounce rate and should you really be spending your time and money on it?
The answer is it matters a lot and yes you should be focusing on reducing it. Here’s why:
Higher Conversions & Engagement:
Here is a simple equation that you need to keep in mind:
Low Bounce Rate = Higher Conversions or Engagement
What this means is that if you have lower bounce rate, most of your visitors are either converting to customers by signing up or buying products or they are moving onto the other pages of your website. In either case, it is a good sign. It means that you are able to grab the attention of your potential customer.
The more engagement or conversions you have, the more profit you will churn. That is the sole purpose of your landing page isn’t it? Again, make sure you are targeting your landing page towards taking action. It is the best strategy of converting through landing pages.
It Helps with SEO:
This is probably something most webmasters don’t want you to know. Gone are the days when Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) was only limited to backlinks and keyword stuffing. Today, all search engines, especially Google, takes into consideration the engagement level of your web pages. User experience and engagement is a major factor today for Google to rank your websites. In other words, if your website is unable to engage and keep visitors longer on the web page, it is probably not going to rank well on search engine results.
When we talk about engagement, we are referring to everything, including but not limited to your on-page content, multimedia, banners, headlines to your incoming links and social media links. This is why it is important, and even Google encourages you, to have natural incoming links. When interested people are coming to your website, they will definitely stay for longer compared to those uninterested visitors who are being lured through directories and content farms.
Google takes your bounce rate a measurement of your website’s overall delivery to visitors. A higher bounce rate will indicate Google that your visitors are not finding your website engaging to take any action. Why would Google rank such a website on top? It would rather rank a website that has a higher engagement rate. So, no longer is keyword stuffing your way to get higher rankings but user experience is!
Analyze Bounce Rate to Perform Better:
Remember, today search engine optimization is more about fulfilling your visitors’ needs. This means that the bounce rate is actually an indication of well you are doing within your target market. Anyone can pay Google for search engine marketing and get a few clicks, but the trick is to convert those clicks into customers. If you are unable to convert these visitors into customers or leads, it means that either your web branding strategy or your product in general is not appealing to your target market.
Think of potential customers walking into your shop and leaving without making any purchases. Wouldn’t that be a signal that you need improvements to make sure the ones walking in your store actually buy your products? In addition, you can also track areas of your landing page that are doing better than others. Google tells you exactly where your customers are spending most of their time on your landing page. You can tweak your landing page accordingly.
How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate?
Now that you have a clear idea of what Bounce Rate is, let’s go through some strategies that you can utilize in order to reduce the bounce rate on your landing page.
Improve Website’s Performance:
According to Google, your web page’s performance is the one of the most crucial elements that determines your bounce rate. In simple words, a slow loading website may contribute towards a higher bounce rate. Why so? According to Google, the average attention span of a visitor is 2 seconds. This means that when a visitor clicks on a website, he or she will stay for an average of 2 seconds on the website before leaving it. So, you just have 2 seconds to make sure you appeal to your audience. Obviously, not every user will stay for 2 seconds; some may even stay longer. The crux is that you need to ensure that these 2 seconds are not being consumed by your website’s loading speed or sloppy performance. A good loading speed is anywhere between 1 and 2 seconds.
Also, make sure all your links, forms and other clickable areas on the landing page are working well. If they don’t, your visitors might leave the web page out of frustration.
Create Engaging Headlines and Banners:
When it comes to your landing page, your headline and banners play a crucial role in determining whether your visitor will stay or leave. Why so? Here’s the logic:
- Firstly, as soon as your website loads and your visitor gets the first look, he or she should be convinced or attracted with the overall visual appeal of the page. In the very first glance, the visitor will decide whether your website is worth spending time on.
Headlines: Once your visitor is visually impressed in the initial few milliseconds, next comes the content. Your headlines should be bold and clear, and should provide crucial information about the web page. Just a few words of your headlines will make all the difference in the world to your visitor. Don’t go for fatty words or metaphorical phrases, try to be direct, simple and convincing. Tell your customers directly what you are offering them.
Don’t Overpopulate with Pop-Ups:
Pop-ups are good in some cases but make sure you don’t have a lot of them on your page. Only use pop-up messages or forms if you have something really attractive to sell. Most visitors are looking for solutions and they are well aware of the tactics websites utilize to lure them in for registration or purchasing products. Visitors are frustrated when they are bombarded with unnecessary pop-ups that won’t let them proceed with the website. In most cases, your visitors will quit the page instead of registering, thinking your website has nothing to offer and you are just trying to lure them into buying. The best way to go about pop-ups is to make them easy to read and easy to close. You need to give your visitor the choice instead of forcing them into taking the offer. Ideally, you shouldn’t be using pop-ups but if it is an absolute must then don’t let them frustrate your visitors.
Do Not Use Clickbaits:
Clickbaits are a thing of the past. Online users are now smarter than before and after being exposed to a decade of clickbaits, they probably know when to spot one. Clickbaits could be anything that are asking your users to performance a certain action before proceeding forward. In most cases, your visitors would rather quit the page instead of falling for the trap.
Don’t Oversell with Call to Action Buttons:
Sure CTAs are the most important part of a landing page. After all, CTAs are what you would want your user to click. But, don’t over optimize your page with CTAs. There are a couple of reasons why too many CTAs can increase your bounce rate. Here are a few:
- CTAs can have impact on the overall performance of your website. Try to keep them simple in functionality. Limit the numbers so they don’t effect the performance.
- If CTAs are not optimize for mobile and tablet performance, they will take a toll on your website’s ranking. By adding too many CTAs, it can be difficult to optimize them for mobile and tablet performance.
- Use contrasting colors and clear messages to make the CTAs effective. You don’t have to use too many CTAs to make sure your customers click on them. Instead, keep the CTAs effective and make them stand out.
Internal Linking is Important:
When it comes to search engine optimization, internal links are highly important. Similarly, with bounce rate, your internal links plays an important role in ensuring your customer gets to the important pages right away. In addition, with a good amount of internal links on a page, you can easily boost your SEO score. Here are a few techniques to use:
- The best technique is to make sure your users are getting all the important links of other pages on the landing page.
- Don’t just randomly scatter internal links. Try to place them smartly. For instance, if you are talking about your ‘Team’ in a certain paragraph, it is wise to place a link for your ‘My Team’ or ‘About Us’ page in that section. Chances are that anyone reading that particular area will be interested in knowing more about your team and will click to go the page.
- Don’t just add hyperlinks but make your internal links standout. Instead of just adding ‘learn more’ text, place a button saying ‘Learn About Our Team’. Effective links have more chances to be clicked.
- Keep at least 10 or more internal links on the page. This is considered a healthy internal linking profile by Google.
Limit External Links:
To add or not to add, that is the question! Many webmasters argue against the usage of external links, believing that it may lead visitors to other pages. This is true in most cases. After all, why would you want to place an external link on your web page and send your visitor to another website? Unfortunately, external links have a positive effect on your overall SEO score. If your web page is linking to credible resources within your niche, you have better chances of increasing your rankings. But, be careful while adding these links. The trick is to make sure the external links are not as prominent as your internal links and CTAs. You don’t want your user to go to another website. You are just adding external links to improve your SEO score and build relationships with other businesses or websites. Another good way to deal with external links is to direct them to your own online properties such as your blog or other websites that you own. At least you won’t be sending your visitor to your competitor’s website!
Moreover, make sure whenever you add an external link, you always make it open in another window. This way, the user won’t leave your web page even if he or she clicks on an external link. The same can be said for internal links as well.
Maintain Proper Formatting:
Lastly, the overall content formatting of your website plays an important role. It does not matter how appealing your content is, if it is not formatted well, chances are your visitors won’t bounce off. There are a few tricks to make sure your overall page is formatted well:
- Use sub-headings in your content so your users can easily understand what a certain area of your content is talking about.
- Use proper fonts and sizes. There is restriction here just make sure your content is readable.
- Use short and simple sentences
Play with Multimedia:
You must know that unlike before, Google now considers multimedia as a positive sign and scores your website better. Multimedia could include videos, presentations, images, etc. Not just Google, even your visitors will be mesmerized with a quality explainer video or an attractive infographic. Now that Google allows it why not make the most of this opportunity and engage better with your audience.
Bounce rate is an important aspect of your overall marketing strategy. If you ignore it, you are probably losing on a lot of important statistics that can literally guide you on improving user experience, engagement and conversions.
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