Whether you’re new to content and web development or a long-time pro, diving into the analytics can be overwhelming and confusing. One of the metrics content creators should be keeping an eye on is Bounce Rate in Google Analytics. Let’s take a look at why this metric matters and some easy-to-implement tips and tricks that can help keep visitors on your website longer.
What is Bounce Rate and why does it matter?
First, let’s start with defining what bounce rate is. Google defines bounce rate as “the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page.” Basically, they viewed one page, didn’t click anything else, and then left.
It matters because it can be an early indicator of how well your content and website are resonating with your audience. Generally, readers who are interested and engaged in your content are going interact more, which means visiting more pages and a lower bounce rate. A high bounce rates can often be a warning that you aren’t giving viewers the information they want or your site isn’t performing properly.
It’s important to note that you should always look at metrics with a critical eye. Metrics are often more complex than they appear. A high bounce rate isn’t automatically bad thing. If users can find all the information they need on one page of your site, such as information about a special offer or promotion, or your address and hours of operation, then a high bounce rate should probably be anticipated. Bounce rate is also only one piece of an incredibly large puzzle when it comes to determining a content piece’s effectiveness and value. Other stats, like page views, average session duration, source/medium, returning visitors, and more play a role in helping you understand where your traffic is coming from and what content is sparking (and keeping) interest. Then of course, consider leads being generated from free trials, forms, social sharing, and other initiatives as a result of your efforts
If your metrics aren’t what you’d like them to be, here are a few easy tips to consider.
Tips & Tricks
1. Improve your website design and usability.
Bad web design can be a major reason people take one look at your site and head for the hills. Start by taking a look at your site from the user’s perspective. Oftentimes there’s something obviously wrong that you can’t tell just by analytics. Keep in mind that you should always check your site on both mobile and desktop to make sure that all users have a consistent, well-rounded experience. Some things to try include:
- Updating an out-of-date, old look that no longer fits with your brand.
- Improving and simplifying the navigation structure.
- Reducing clutter (like sidebars and ads) to help focus attention.
- Making important details, like contact information and location, more visible.
If your website could use some TLC or a redesign, it’s important to get your marketing team involved in web development in order to achieve the best results.
2. Improve page load speed.
It probably goes without saying, but people are impatient when they’re online. A slow website can have a huge impact on your site’s overall performance. In fact, research from Kissmetrics shows that:
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
- 40% abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
Yikes! If you want people to stay on your site, obviously it has to be responsive and fast. There are plenty of online tools available that can help you test your site speed, and you should do so often. If your site isn’t loading quickly, consider compressing files (videos and images), reducing the number of plugins on your site, and other best practices.
3. Examine the readability of your content.
Readability can be a huge factor when it comes to whether or not they browse around and engage. You may expect mobile users to have a higher bounce rate simply because they’re oftentimes on the go, and doing a lot of research on a mobile device can be tedious and difficult. However, even desktop users can be intimidated by long, novel-like web pages. You should make things as easy as possible for readers on every device. To improve readability, try:
- Increasing font size (but keep scrolling in mind).
- Utilizing bullets, numbers, and subheads to break up chunks of text.
- Making use of white space.
- Using engaging visuals, like images and videos to grab attention and emphasize text.
4. Add (or update) internal links and CTAs.
Whether they’re new customers or long-time followers, not many people have visited every page of your website. They don’t know everything your company and website have to offer. They may not make the effort to explore either unless prompted to do so. When developing your website and creating content, you always want to give them something to do next to keep them engaging and learning more about your brand. You can do that through relevant, easily accessible internal links and clear call-to-action buttons. These links and CTAs naturally pique curiosity and encourage exploration of your site.
If you have some pages with a good amount of page views but high bounce rate, first make sure the page is addressing what it should be. Are people getting what they expect from the page? Does your content answer the questions or cover the topic put forth by the title, etc. Next, consider adding some links to subtly guide people to related pages on your site or a CTA that encourages them to take the next step in the buyer’s journey and continue engaging with the brand, whether that’s reading another blog, browsing products, making a purchase, etc. As you develop more and more content, be sure you’re revisiting old pages on a regular basis and updating them with relevant internal links as well.
5. Show your credibility.
There’s a lot of content out there and a lot of bloggers and writers that you’re competing with. You may have a great blog post or download, but it means nothing if you can’t prove your credibility. Consumers want to learn from and engage with people they can trust. If they feel like they can’t trust what you have to say, they’re going to leave your site quickly and search somewhere else. And it’s not just the readers, either. Google also puts a strong emphasis on E-A-T signals (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) in their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. With that in mind, it’s important that you do your part to showcase your company’s authority and expertise if you want people to stick around. A few ways to do that include:
- Using real photos and headshots of authors.
- Using names and job titles where applicable.
- Developing an “About Us” page to showcase team members’ expertise and background.
- Adding a short bio to highlight author’s and/or editor’s credentials.
- Adding links to social profiles so readers can connect.
- Citing and linking to established industry experts and research.
- Making it easy for readers to contact you.
Hopefully these tips will help you better understand the importance of bounce rate and impact how people engage on your website. Remember, implementing best practices is an ongoing process and there are multiple indicators and things to consider when it comes to content effectiveness as a whole, not just bounce rate. Keep your specific goals in mind and test, test, and test again to see what results you get and what resonates with your audience. Good luck diving in!
If you need a little help or additional insights, we’d be happy to chat.