There’s not many things more frustrating than a high bounce rate on a website or Web page. Digging through metrics will only show numerical patterns, and you’re still left scratching your head as to what it is you can improve to create that stickiness effect.
Let’s start with what bounce rate actually means. According to Google Analytics, it is the percentage of visitors that visit only one page before exiting a site.
This can occur for a number of reasons. Visitors might leave your site from the original page of entrance if there are site design or usability issues. On the other hand, they may also leave the site after viewing a single page if they’ve found the information they need on that one page. While one scenario is negative and the other clearly helped the visitor, it’s every website’s goal to bring the user deeper into the experience and explore other content.
Here are five ways to reduce your bounce rate and encourage longer visits (stickiness) with the bonus of more interaction on your site:
1. The Freshness Factor
Do a search for your brand or site. If old posts from the early 2000s are still popping up in search engine results, you can bet that visitors may click, take one look at the date, and then bolt.
With everyone in a hurry these days, visitors may not even bother checking the newer content you’ve created. If your older posts are still getting hits and generating some traffic, go ahead and freshen them up to make them more current.
Evaluate how “refreshable” your older content is. You can modernize posts new trends or thoughts that have shifted in recent years. Some easy fixes include updating statistics, linking to new examples, throwing in a new case study, or simply incorporating timely insights.
2. Walls of Texts Should Be Avoided
It doesn’t matter your topic, brand, or “logical reasoning,”—seeing a huge, scrolling wall of text will scare any visitor off. Think how you would react; your visitors are no different. Their brains immediately jump to the conclusion that your site is not worth the trouble to read at all and move on to something that looks easier on the eyes.
An easy solution to this is creating chunks of text instead. These bite-sized text doses are mentally digestible and more meaningful to the brain. Stick to one idea per paragraph and create a new chunk.
You could take it a step further and consider adding graphics such as charts, relatable images or even an embedded video. These visuals will more your text easier to understand and do the work of words you can strip out.
3. Figure Out Your Numbers
Find out the average bounce rate for your industry and try to reduce your own bounce rate based on that number. Setting a goal works wonders instead of shooting blindly at a target. You’ll get there a lot quicker by knowing what you’re aiming for.
Knowing the industry number will also help keep you sane because you won’t be aiming for something unrealistic. It will be impossible to lower a number that’s perfectly acceptable for your industry and stay put no matter how hard you try.
Also, knowing your industry’s average bounce rate can help keep you sane. That’s because you won’t be trying to lower a number that’s perfectly normal for your industry, a number that will stay there no matter what you try to do. As shocking as this may sound, sometimes a high bounce rate is a good thing. But you’ll only know this if you know your industry’s numbers.
If you’re already at your average bounce rate, focus on the conversions you’re getting from different channels. Either way, don’t look at bounce rate as an indicator of your success or failure.
4. Give your Pay-Per-Click Ads a Makeover
It goes without saying that if your ads aren’t relevant to your landing page, you may have a big bounce rate problem on your hands. If your ads have exact match targeting this is most certainly true. This is when the user searches for “widgets” and your PPC ad matches the term accordingly.
But never fear, there is a quick fix! On your landing page, make sure you acknowledge the search term the visitor used to find your site. If “widgets” was searched and the user clicked your PPC ad with “widgets” in the title, you might write something like:
“Welcome, Google User! We noticed you searched for ‘widgets’ – here’s what we have in stock:”
By doing this, you’ll have a better chance of presenting your site as relevant to their search.
5. Revamping Keywords
Times change, people change and inevitably keywords change. It’s good practice to do an audit on your site’s keywords every six months or so to determine which ones are losing popularity along with which keywords are currently leading people to your site.
It’s also a good idea to look into your analytics to see what people search, check your keywords in Google Trends, and measure changes over time. Keeping your keywords current will help keep your ads and landing pages relevant. As a result, your bounce rate is likely to decrease.
But, most importantly …
While the above 5 tips are key to getting your bounce rate back on track, possibly the most important thing you can do to lower bounce rates is focusing on consistently creating high quality and relevant content that appeals to your readers. Not sure what they want? Survey them from time to time by asking “What would you like to see more of?” and “What could you stand to see less of?” to determine which types of posts make the best impression.
Have you encountered a high bounce rate or brought yours down to below the industry average? Tell us about your success or tips in the comments.