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Easy Ways to Lower Your Blog Bounce Rate

Easy Ways to Lower Your Blog Bounce Rate

In this article, we will learn more about the bounce rate, one of the leading indicators on the web. What is the bounce rate? How to obtain and interpret this indicator that says a lot about the quality of your traffic and finally how to optimize it to get better performance for your site?

What is Bounce Rate?

According to Google itself, it is the percentage of sessions that visit only one page (from your blog, for example). In other words, a "bounce" would be a visit that reaches a page of your blog and leaves without having entered any other page of your blog.

The bounce rate is a performance indicator that measures the percentage of visitors who have visited only one page on your site. A bounce occurs when a visitor arrives on your website and leaves immediately without visiting an additional page.

A visitor is considered to be bouncing in the following cases:

  • The visitor has clicked on an external link.
  • Once on your page, he or she has closed the navigation tab.
  • The visitor has directly typed a new URL in the address bar.
  • Or click on the previous button.

This indicator allows you to judge the quality of your traffic. Are the visitors you send to your site interested in your products or your content? Very often, a high bounce rate reveals a weakness in your acquisition strategy or your user experience. In rare exceptions, a high bounce rate is not alarming, but in the vast majority of cases, a bounce rate higher than 50% is problematic.

Bounce Rate vs. Exit Rate

The definition of the bounce rate is comparatively short and easy to understand. Nevertheless, it is always confused with the exit rate. The two key figures are fundamentally very different from one another.

Reminder: The exit rate indicates which pageview was the last in a session – only the end page counts, not how many other pages were before. The most significant difference between the two rates is also the decisive one.

When it comes to the bounce rate, there is almost no interaction with the entry page - no subpage is opened, no download is made on the target page, and no minimum dwell time is exceeded – the only decisive thing is the call and the subsequent closing of the page.

If there is an interaction with the start page, the different analysis tools recognize this. The result is that this type of access is not included in the bounce rate because it is not classified as a "bounce".

It can be said that a bounce is always considered an exit, while an exit does not automatically count as a bounce.

This is how the bounce rate calculation works

The actual calculation of the bounce rate is as simple as the definition – and the same applies to the exit rate.

Bounce rate = (total number of one page visit / total number of landing page views)

Exit rate = (total number of end page exits) / (total number of page visits)

The results are given as percentages. When evaluating the data, they must be compared to other web analysis results. The bounce rate alone may seem like a good indicator of the quality of a landing page, but the truth is a little more complicated.

Easy Ways to Lower Your Blog Bounce Rate

The Implications of a High Bounce Rate

As mentioned earlier, a high bounce rate is often a bad sign; we will now look at the implications for a website's SEO and SEA strategies.

The case of SEA campaigns

When setting up Adwords campaigns, it is essential to monitor the quality of the traffic you send to the pages. Especially since you pay for each click, unless your website contains only one page, the bounce rate of your campaigns should never exceed 50%.

If it is higher, there is a good chance that the keywords you use in your campaign are not relevant. I then advise you to review your targeting. I often observe this behavior for Adwords accounts using main keywords in broad queries, without keyword exclusions and redirecting to pages not relevant to the user's search. This low performance is often correlated with a low-quality score, which leads to an increase in your bids.

If you are in this case, here are my pieces of advice:

  • In your Adwords account, go to the "Search Terms" report and check that the user's searches are relevant to the products you offer on your site.
  • Add keywords to be excluded in your campaigns to avoid ads on keywords that are not relevant.
  • Check that your landing pages are consistent with the user's search, for example, if the user is looking for an acoustic guitar, do not send him/her to a page offering a whole range of guitars (electric, acoustic, folks) but to a page presenting only the products that are likely to interest him/her.

The case of SEO campaigns

In the case of SEO campaigns, a bounce rate indicates that you are not responding to the user's request. This is, moreover, an awful sign for Google's algorithm. If your site generates clicks, but your visitors press the back button, it tells Google that your page is not relevant to the search, and you risk losing positions in the result page. The bounce rate should, therefore, be given your full attention so that you can gain valuable positions and hope to be ranked on the first page.

First, you should check the relevance of the page to the query and then optimize your user experience. We will come back to this second point in the rest of the article.

What Are the Causes of a High Bounce Rate?

Physiological causes of a high bounce rate:

  • The user immediately found the information he needed: this case, for example, is prevalent in local activity sites such as bars or restaurants where the user often accesses the website only to find the address or phone number. In these cases, therefore, the user immediately finds what they are looking for and has no need to prolong their visit to the site.
  • The technology with which the website is developed makes extensive use of Ajax, so the user can access various information on the site without (apparently) moving from the landing page.
  • The site is a single web page: in this case, the bounce rate cannot be considered an index of the quality of the website as it's impossible to go beyond the first and the only page. This case is persistent for landing pages.

The sites affected by a high bounce rate due to one or more of these causes, can not and should not be considered low quality, as the bounce is due to factors that are difficult to eliminate and not necessarily negative (the user who immediately finds what he is looking for is assumed to be satisfied with the site).

The creation of a fictitious system to extend the path towards user satisfaction, moreover, would certainly not be intended as an improvement of the site and its usability.

Any form of improvement would be a severe deterioration to its efficiency and its ability to respond concretely to the needs of users.

Easy Ways to Lower Your Blog Bounce Rate

Technical causes of a high bounce rate

Unlike physiological causes, the technical reasons for a high bounce rate can and should be removed. Let's look at the most common ones below:

  • The website has code level errors that compromise its usability, pushing users to leave (for example, broken links, broken menus, blocking scripts, etc.).
  • The website, while not presenting severe programming errors, is structured in a way that is not usable, illogical, or unclear, so users are not encouraged to continue to know its web pages that are difficult to read, reach, and poorly organized.
  • The site belongs to the category of "made for ads," i.e., sites composed almost exclusively of advertisements and whose sole purpose is to generate clicks for sponsors: in these cases, the user arrives, leaves, and (very often) does not return.
  • The site has content but is too full of advertising and uses formats that are too invasive or annoying that compromise the usability of the website itself (such as pop-ups, overlay formats, transition pages, multimedia banners with live audio, etc.).
  • The contents of the site are little or not at all related to the search results on which they appear: in this case, the reader immediately leaves the site going to look elsewhere for what interests him.
  • The contents of the site are of low quality and do not provide any real value to the reader.
  • The page loading time is too long: Google has repeatedly indicated the speed of loading pages as a ranking factor. This is because the search engine wants to offer its users the best possible experience. If the page loads too slowly, this could lead the user to abandon it and search for information elsewhere. The factors that can lengthen the loading time are many, and you can test your pages using this simple free tool: Google PageSpeed Insights.
  • Pages not optimized for mobile devices: In 2020, it shouldn't need to be said. By now, most traffic coming to your site are from mobile. So having a non-mobile friendly website is a bit like riding a bike on the highway.
  • The page returns an error: It may seem trivial, but a page that returns a 404, if it receives a lot of traffic, can cause serious problems.
  • Also, in this case, Google comes to our aid with Search Console, in which you will find a special section that will indicate all the 404 pages on your site. The advice is to create a redirect or to fix the error.

In all these cases, to summarize, the high percentage of bounce rate is nothing but the natural consequence of the low quality of the site.

It would be best if you quickly acted on the bounce rate by improving the quality of your site and content by activating a virtuous circle that would lead not only to a more excellent permanence of users but also and, above all, to their greater satisfaction.

What is a Good Bounce Rate?

To allow you to judge the performance of your site, let's first look at what a good bounce rate is.

  • 0%: Reaching a bounce rate of 0% is impossible if your Google Analytics reports indicate such a bounce rate, it means that there is a problem with your integration. In this case, download the Google Tag Assistant immediately and fix the problem.
  • Less than 25%: Unless your traffic is meager, there is a good chance that there is a problem with your Google Analytics integration here as well.
  • Between 26% and 40%: Your site is performing very well, try to maintain this rate.
  • Between 41% and 55%: Your site is in the average, nothing is alarming. However, you can try to integrate the suggestions below to improve your bounce rate further.
  • Above 55%: Your site needs to be optimized.

Easy Ways to Lower Your Blog Bounce Rate

Analyzing the Bounce Rate of a Site.

We will now see how to analyze the bounce rate. First, go to Google Analytics, in the "Audience" section, and then to the "Overview" report.


Easy Ways to Lower Your Blog Bounce Rate

You can then observe the general bounce rate of the site. This gives us a general idea, but if we want better performance, we need to take the analysis further.

To check performance by device, we will now go to the "Audience," "Mobile," "Overview" report. This will allow us to know the performance according to the type of device the user uses to access the site.

In the report above, we see a vast difference between desktop and mobile. The performance on the mobile is excellent, whereas it could be improved on the desktop. We now have more information on the actions to be implemented to optimize the overall bounce rate of the site.


Easy Ways to Lower Your Blog Bounce Rate

This type of analysis can (and should) be performed on the different reports available in Google Analytics. Here is a list of the reports I use most often, this list is of course not exhaustive and must be adapted according to the characteristics of the site to analyze:

Audience / Technology / Browser and OS: A significant difference in these reports may indicate an accounting problem with some browsers and allow you to identify which browsers need to be reviewed clearly. It is also possible to use the "Screen Resolution" tab to check if your site has any issues with the responsive version.


Easy Ways to Lower Your Blog Bounce Rate

Audience / Demographics: The analysis of the reports in this section allows you to identify the people most interested in your products and adapt the semantics of your site accordingly. We do not speak the same way to students, young working people, or retirees. The lexical field, as well as the way you address your visitors, can have a significant impact on your bounce rate.

Audience / Interests: These reports allow you to know more about what your visitors like, and therefore to adapt your pages. This is all the more important in the management of Adwords campaigns because an excellent performance on a segment allows you to obtain information to set up more precise targeting with the help of In-Market audiences.

Acquisition / All Traffic / Channels: This report allows you to identify the most efficient acquisition channels and thus optimize your campaigns.


Easy Ways to Lower Your Blog Bounce Rate

How Can You Improve Your Bounce Rate?

We will now look at the main elements that can cause a high bounce rate, and if so, how to remedy it.

Improve the loading time of your pages

Various studies have shown that if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, visitors have an unfortunate tendency to leave the site and go looking for the product or information elsewhere. You must, therefore, pay special attention to the loading speed of your website. This is especially true for visitors coming from mobile devices.

The content of your page is self-sufficient

Here, nothing to be alarmed about, if your visitor is looking for specific information and finds it on your page, he will not need to visit your site. In this case, you have no action to take. This is especially true for news or cooking sites.

Check the variance of bounce rates

The bounce rates of the different pages on your site vary, some pages with high traffic may have a high bounce rate, so you should focus your efforts on those particular pages.

Check that the title and description of the page match the content

I think this is one of the biggest mistakes you could make. Your title and description tags should describe the content of your page as accurately as possible. If your page title and content do not match, your visitors will quickly realize that you are not answering their questions and will leave your site.

This point is all the more critical because if this happens many times, Internet users will completely ignore your site during their searches, which will hurt your click-through rate and, therefore, your positioning in search results.

Improving readability

Long paragraphs tend to frighten visitors. To reduce your bounce rate, break your content into smaller sections, and use formatting that makes it easier to read quickly. You can add:

  • Titles and subtitles
  • Smart lists
  • Images
  • Graphs & etc.

Correct technical errors on your pages

We won't dwell on this point, but if errors are present on your page, it will significantly reduce your confidence index, and your visitors will leave your site. This is the case, for example, with PHP errors that creep into the site or pages unavailable due to 500 errors.

Make sure that your traffic is correctly targeted

This is not necessarily your responsibility. If your article or page has been cited, for example, in a blog, and the interests of these visitors do not match the content you offer, they will not deepen their visit and will leave your site.

In the case of a sponsored links campaign, you need to review your campaign. If it is a link generated naturally by another site or social network, focus on the quality of the page.

Make sure your content has added value

A high bounce rate can come from the fact that the page your visitor lands on has no added value and does not teach them anything. If you simply repeat what all the other sites in your sector say, your visitor will not find it worthwhile to continue visiting your website.

Optimize the user experience on your site

Optimizing bounce rate and user experience are two areas that complement each other. If your site is challenging to navigate and your visitor can't quickly find the links of interest to them, they will spend very little time on your website and will prefer to go to a site where navigation is more straightforward.

Check that Google Analytics is correctly configured

The last point is probably the easiest to correct, if you observe, for example, a bounce rate of 100% or 0%, there is a good chance that your tracking software is not configured correctly. You can use the Google Tag Assistant extension to make sure that your tracking code is implemented successfully throughout your site.

Place ads strategically

Intrusive advertising disturbs Internet users because it often prevents them from viewing the content. This does not mean that you should ban ads.

Instead, try to find a strategic place for them, a place where they will be visible without hindering reading. This can be on the side, for example, or as an insert between paragraphs of your text.

If you prefer a pop-up, make sure it doesn't take up the whole screen. A smooth appearance at the bottom edge of your page is more appreciated.

Set up suggestions for similar content

To improve your bounce rate, you can adjust the navigation on your site by suggesting that your visitors visit a page on your website that has a topic related to the page they are on. In the case of a blog, this will allow the visitor to continue reading, in the case of an e-commerce, it will give you another chance to meet your users' expectations if they did not find what they were looking for on the product page.

By adopting the above measures, you will improve your bounce rate and send a positive signal to Google, a boon to boost your SEO.

If you have any other ideas on how to reduce your bounce rate, please share them with us as a comment.

Conclusion

As we have seen, a high bounce rate is not necessarily an indication of poor website quality: some sites have a high bounce rate because the user immediately finds what they are looking for, and this is an extremely positive figure.

Conversely, the problem of a high bounce rate occurs and must be taken into serious consideration when the user leaves the site without finding answers to their queries.

In this case, the bounce rate becomes an enemy to fight as it can cause damage to the overall quality of the site.

The effects of improvement work will be felt not only on the bounce rate but also on the organic traffic and conversions of your users who, more efficiently, may decide to turn into customers.

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