If you’re a business owner with a website, chances are there are two little words that make you want to bury your head in the sand:

Bounce Rate.

It’s often daunting and confusing, like a lot of website statistics are.

So what is a bounce rate? Should you be concerned about it? Should you even be bothered trying to do anything to lower yours? Let’s take a closer look.

What is bounce rate?

According to Google:

“Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”

So basically this means is that when someone clicks to your website, they read or scan the content on that page, but leave your site with no further interaction. Bounce rate calculates only single page views on your site and not the rate that your viewers bounce from one page to another on your site.

What Google constitutes as a bounce

While a ‘bounce” is technically just a single page view on your site, there are a few other things that Google also defines as a “bounce”:

  • When your viewer closes the tab your site is on or they close the browser completely
  • When the viewer clicks the back button in the browser
  • When the viewer clicks an external link from your site
  • When your viewer takes a long time to do anything on the page they’re on and their session essential times-out

Is bounce rate all that important?

Now you know what a bounce rate is, does it really matter? Is a high bounce rate always bad? What defines a high or low rate? Is it worth trying to understand it all?

Yes it is!

Your bounce rate can give you insights into weaknesses on your site in everything from content to site design and layout. In general, a high bounce rate often reflects a low conversion rate, which is exactly what you don’t want on your website!

Most people use their website to make money in one way or another, usually by advertising a product or service. You want people to stick around, read your blog, browse through whatever you’re offering, get in touch with you or buy something!

Understanding your site’s bounce rate can help you understand your visitors and where they’re exiting. Does your home page have a very high bounce rate? Perhaps adding a call to action or directing your readers to somewhere in particular would help. You need to learn where you can make changes to boost conversion, therefore putting more money in your pocket in the long run.

Where to start with your bounce rate

First things first, you need to know what your bounce rate is, and to do that you’ll need to set up Google Analytics on your site. You’ll need at least a weeks worth of traffic to start getting your bounce rate.

Is my bounce rate good or bad?

Let’s say your overall average bounce rate is 68%. What does that mean? Is it good, bad, or just ok? Well let’s compare it to some benchmark averages for bounce rates:

  • Content Websites: 40-60%
  • Lead Generation: 30-50%
  • Blogs: 70-98% (what the?!)
  • Retail Sites: 20-40%
  • Service Sites: 10-30%
  • Landing Pages: 70-90%

Your bounce rate of 68% is high (bad) if your site is a service site, but is low (good) if yours is a blog.

Whatever your site’s bounce rate, your rate can usually be improved. Many experts believe that a high bounce rate can negatively impact your page rank and SEO efforts, even though Google has not confirmed this.

Some (copywriting) ways you can lower your bounce rate

1) Check your blog post formatting

Often your blog post formatting can be a contributor to high bounce rate. Almost everyone uses a mobile device, so you must have a website that is responsive and will properly adjust to various screen sizes.

When it comes to your blog post formatting, always focus on easy readability. Having extra long paragraphs is going to make it hard for viewers to read your posts on a small screen. Shorter paragraphs, engaging pictures, bullet points, headings and in-text linking to other pages on your site will help keep a reader’s attention and help with bounce rate no matter what screen they’re viewing your site on.

2) Check your title, tags, keywords, and meta-descriptions

If you’re seeing a high bounce rate, it could be that you’re attracting the wrong crowd. Your tags, keywords, and meta-description need to be relevant to your page or post, and relate directly to that page. It’s tempting to use a catchy title to increase the click-through-rate to your site, but this should always be done with the intent of providing information that follows through on the title. If not, you’re going to attract a lot of the wrong people who will just click out of your site after they realise they’ve been duped.

Your meta-descriptions can still be catchy and lure in readers, but you need to know your audience and deliver to them. It will pay off in the long run.

3) Create better content

This is fairly obvious, but if your content is drab and boring then people aren’t going to be sticking around for very long. If you think that your content is lacking, then take the time to create better and more informative content, or hire a copywriter to sprinkle some life into your website pages.

If your blog posts are rushed and unstructured, it will come off in your writing so don’t do it. Take your time and start writing well thought out, informative and even witty posts that people will like and relate to. Remember, it’s people that you’re writing for, not just Google!

4) Tell your readers what to do next

To lower your bounce rate, you need to engage your readers. If your content is engaging enough for someone to get all the way to the bottom of your webpage, what happens when they get there? If they’re left hanging with no direction as to what to do next, you need to tell them what to do with a call to action (CTA).

CTAs are an important part of conversion, so if you’re not using them in your posts and pages, then now is the time to start. Giving your reader clear direction will help them follow through on viewing other pages on your site. But don’t overdo it with CTAs and pop-ups on your site – that can annoy people and they’ll click away – increasing your bounce rate!

Bounce rate is an important statistic to understand and keep in check. Taking the time to study and lower it is just one of many tasks that website owners have to juggle, but it’s one worth getting your head around.

How do you guys view bounce rate? What have you done to engage your viewers, lower your bounce rate and increase conversions?