If you’re looking for ways to improve your search engine optimisation (SEO) and increase where your web pages rank in Google, you might want to look at how you can lower your website’s overall bounce rate, as well as the bounce rates of individual pages.
Most SEO experts agree that a low bounce rate, especially when coupled with high dwell time (the average time someone spends on your website), is a positive signal to Google that you’re creating high-value content that your website visitors want to stick around and read.
A high bounce rate, on the other hand, can be a red flag that your content isn’t relevant to visitors who are finding your site as a result of specific search queries. In this case, Google may decide to downgrade your web pages by placing them lower in search results.
What is a website’s bounce rate?
When we talk about ‘bounce rate’, we mean the percentage of visits where the visitor leaves your website from the same page that they entered without browsing any other pages.
In Google Analytics, you can see your website’s overall bounce rate in the Audience>Overview screen. Alternatively, you can go to Behaviour>Site content>All pages to see the individual bounce rate for each page.
What makes a good or bad bounce rate?
There is no definitive magic number for a good or bad bounce rate. Broadly speaking, most people tend to agree with digital marketing expert Avinash Kaushik who said:
“As a benchmark from my own personal experience over the years, it is hard to get a bounce rate under 20%. Anything over 35% is a cause for concern and anything above 50% is worrying.”
This provides some sensible guidelines. If you have pages on your website with a bounce rate of 50% or higher, then the chances are that they need some immediate attention.
A high bounce rate isn’t always bad news
It is important to be aware that a high bounce rate doesn’t always reflect a problem with your website. If, for example, someone visits a landing page on your site that is solely there for a campaign to encourage sign-ups to your mailing list, and the visitor completes the action of giving you their name and email address before bouncing away, then the high bounce rate is irrelevant. The conversion rate, i.e. the percentage of sign ups, is what matters.
Equally, people may come to your website to read a specific blog article, spend five or more minutes reading it, and then leave your site. Although the analytics will show a high bounce rate, this doesn’t reflect the true story of how the visitor has interacted with your site.
If this is happening on your website, one of the first things you may need to do is adjust the bounce rate in Google Analytics by setting specific goals. This means that, if these goals are completed – i.e. a visitor signs up to your mailing list or spends more than five minutes on a single page – the visit won’t be measured as a bounce.
We found a helpful guide to adjusting your bounce rate in Google Analytics over on the Optimize Smart website.
Five steps you can take to reduce your website bounce rate
If you are concerned about the bounce rate of any of your web pages, or of your website overall, here are five key steps that you can take:
- Know your audience
Many websites fail to keep visitors engaged because the content is too broad or generic. When creating the design and content of your website, it’s important to understand who your target audience is. Your copy and images should appeal to that target group, speaking personally to them. If people land on a website that speaks directly to their pain points or aspirations, it will grab their attention and encourage them to read on and deeper into the site.
- Check what keywords people are using to find your website
If you go into Google Search Console and then click on Search traffic>Search Analytics, you will see a list of keywords and phrases that people have used to find your web pages in search results.
Are all of these keywords relevant to your business?
If a web page is consistently ranking for the wrong keywords, you might need to go into the page and change the content to reflect a more relevant and popular search term. Otherwise, the danger is that people will keep coming to a web page that isn’t relevant to them and bounce straight away, skyrocketing your bounce rates for that page and increasing your website’s bounce rate overall.
- Create pages that will satisfy different search queries
Your investigations into the keywords people are using to find you may reveal some words and phrases that you hadn’t considered when initially building your website. If so, you might want to consider creating one or more new pages for your site that are relevant to the keywords people are using to find your services.
- Make sure each page of your website has a single focus
Another helpful tactic is to review your website a page at a time. Ideally, each page should have a single focus/topic and be optimised accordingly. For example, on the Grafixbiz website, the page about our Search Engine Optimisation services features a main title about Search Engine Optimisation (with an H1 tag that tells Google this is the main heading), subtitles mentioning Search Engine Optimisation (each with H2 tags), meta data that focuses on SEO, and copy that is solely about Search Engine Optimisation and no other services.
Visitors and search engines should be able to see at a glance what the page they’re on is about. If they can’t tell within a couple of seconds, evidence shows that they will bounce away.
- Provide a clear call to action
When people finish reading a web page, they like to know what they should do next.
- Should they contact you? If so, how?
- Can they download more information? Again, if so, how and where?
- Should they share an article on social media? If so, how?
This direction is known as a ‘call to action’ and, for the best conversion rates, every page of your website should have one.
The call to action will, of course, depend on your goals for that web page. For example, if you have a dedicated landing page where people can download a free ebook in exchange for signing up to your mailing list, then the call to action will focus on completing the download.
If you want a website visitor to buy a product, the call to action will focus on adding the product to a shopping basket or clicking to ‘Buy now’.
It’s best to have a single call to action per page to make sure that it’s as clear and uncomplicated as possible. By giving your visitors a next step, you can significantly reduce a page’s bounce rate.
It’s all about purpose
Above all, remember that every person has a purpose for visiting your website, whether that’s to make a purchase, find information, sign up to receive news and updates, or something else altogether.
If you are able to show that you can solve the visitor’s purpose, the chances are that they will stay to complete a specific action or even delve deeper into your site. If they cannot see how you can solve their purpose, they will bounce away from your website to look for someone who can help them elsewhere.
The more you can get inside the minds of your customers by talking to them on social media, over the phone, via email or by sending out customer surveys, the easier it will become to create a website that helps visitors fulfil their purpose. Do that and your bounce rates will plummet.
If you need help with lowering your website’s bounce rate or any other aspect of SEO, give us a call at Grafixbiz on 01733 308198.
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