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Importance of Bounce Rate for SEO and Tips to Reduce it

Importance of Bounce Rate for SEO and Tips to Reduce it

- Chetan Rathod

A Bounce Rate is arguably one of the most prominent metrics in digital marketing. People who run websites want to learn whether their bounce rates are high or low. Managing to optimize or measure them is considered to be pretty useful for the long-term growth of a website. So what exactly is a bounce rate and how important is it?


What is a Bounce Rate?


Bounce Rate refers to the percentage of people who visited your website but left without performing any actions on it. These are people who for some reason or another decided not to click on anything or explore other pages of your site. They just landed on your site and decided that this wasn’t the place for them.

A single page’s bounce rate is calculated when the number of single-page sessions is divided by the total number of sessions on the site. There are many tools online that can be used to measure and monitor a site’s bounce rate, with the most prominent one being Google Analytics.


The Importance of Bounce Rates


Bounce Rates serve two major purposes:

1) Bounce Rates Show How Visitors Behave on Your Site
Bounce Rates could indicate many factors that explain why your website isn’t appealing to visitors. Maybe they dropped on your site by accident, maybe they immediately figured out that your site doesn’t contain what they are looking for. Most importantly, however, bounce rates might hint at your site being irrelevant or confusing to some visitors.

A high bounce rate, especially on your landing page, should be a subject of grave concern. This means your visitors aren’t responding to your site’s CTA or filling up any form. Higher bounce rates mean you are losing out on valuable conversions with each new visitor.

2) They Could Shed Light on Technical Issues with Your Site
A high Bounce Rate is often considered a symptom of a weak website. It could highlight certain technical issues with your site that are keeping visitors from further exploring it. For instance, high bounce rates could be a direct result of slow loading speed, poor webpage UI, inadequate mobile optimization, 404 errors, etc.

These issues, if not addressed immediately, could affect your site’s SEO rankings as well. As such, higher bounce rates should be treated as a sign that maybe your site needs a slight or major overhaul. 

Fortunately, all of the above-mentioned problems are easily treatable. Bounce rate lends you the opportunity to optimize your site’s performance in a bid to entice visitors into spending more time or interact with it.


Tips to Improve or Reduce your Bounce Rate


Like we mentioned before, a high bounce rate should be a cause for concern. However, one should also not treat it as some sort of a definite death sentence for your site. A major reason we measure bounce rate is to ferret out issues that are affecting your site’s user experience.

It is entirely possible to reduce your bounce rate and, in the process, considerably boost your site’s performance, SEO rankings, and visual appeal.

So without much further ado, let’s look at all the proven ways by which you can drastically reduce your site’s bounce rate.

1 – Improve Your Site’s Visual Design
At the risk of stating the obvious, a UI can either make or break your website. In fact, Google relies heavily on the UX offered by your website to determine its ranking. It is imperative for your site to look good, be easy to navigate and avoid bombarding users with unnecessary elements. A bad UX is a good way to turn your visitors off.

It is advisable to implement a minimalistic design for your UI. Your site should be visually stunning, but not at the cost of user-friendliness. Try to avoid overcrowding your landing page with too many ads, pop-ups, and CTA’s. A single clearly visible CTA should suffice. Relegate as many elements to the footer or sidebar as you can. Avoid overwhelming your users with too many visual cues.

Consult an expert UI designer to identify problem areas on your site so you can fix them immediately.

2 – Speed up Your Site
Internet users are impatient. So you do not want to waste their time with a page that takes an awfully long time to load. In fact, higher bounce rates are said to have a direct correlation with slow loading pages.

There are tools you can use to monitor the speed of all or some of your pages. Tools like Pingdom, Google PageSpeed Insights, and Google Search Console PageSpeed reports can be leveraged to not only review page speed but also get tailored recommendations to expedite your page’s loading time.

To accelerate your site’s speed, you can also try compressing images present on the site, remove load-heavy scripts, plugins and stylesheets, utilize a CDN, use a caching browser or reduce CNN and JavaScript.

3 – Make Your Site’s Content More Readable
If your content is incomprehensive, you can expect your bounce rate to blow through the roof. Instead, treat your visitors with content that is legible. You can do the following to make it more engaging:
·        Break huge paragraphs into 2-3 short sentences
·        Maintain enough white space in and around your posted copy.
·        An ideal 15-17px font should make your content easy to read and not strain your visitors’ eyes.
·         Use as many subheadings as you can to divide your content into sections. This makes it convenient for users to skim through the content.
·        Add images that support your content
·        Avoid grammatical and spelling errors.

4 – Ranked Keyword, Meta Description, and Meta-Title should be relevant to your Site
If you are running an eCommerce site that sells shoes, then you want to rank on Google for keywords that are relevant to footwear. So if your site is exclusively known for selling shoes, you do not want to be ranking for keywords pertaining to t-shirts. By ranking for a keyword or content that is ultimately irrelevant to the nature of your site, you are misleading visitors into landing on it.

So make sure you are only ranking for keywords or content that is relevant. You do not want people searching for cars only to land upon a site that sells children’s toys. This will obviously increase your bounce rate. Also, review the meta-description and title of your site and ensure it accurately summarizes the content.
Avoid Keyword click-baiting and you will see your bounce rate improve.

5 - Check for Blank and 404 Error Pages
If you find that your visitors are spending less than a few seconds on the landing page, then it may be because that particular page is blank, loading slowly, or returning a 404 error. Therefore, it is recommended that you review your page on all types of browsers that your audience may use to view a page.

Review your page on both mobile and desktop versions of popular browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, etc. to check whether your page is functioning properly or not. You can try using ‘Coverage’ under Google Search Console to detect such issues. Alternatively, we recommend seeking help from your developer or fixing the issue yourself if you can.

6 – Mobile Optimization
Mobile is said to be responsible for 54.8% of generated global website traffic. This number has remained consistent since 2017. Naturally, if you want to bring down your bounce rate, you must optimize your website for mobile. You can start by checking how your website looks on different mobile devices.

You can use tools like mobiReady or Screenfly to test your website for mobile. Both of these tools are absolutely free to use. You can also try using the Google Chrome browser to check how your site appears on mobile. Make sure your website not only looks good but performs well on mobile. Also, ensure no key details are being squeezed out on the mobile version of your webpage.

7 – Use Heatmaps
If you want to learn why people are turning back from your page, you might get your answers by using Heatmaps. Heatmaps provide you with information that clarifies how visitors are using and interacting with your website. Heatmaps entail adding a small piece of JavaScript to your website.

A Heatmaps tool will then start tracking visitor behavior on the site. You will learn what people are clicking or reading on the site. Based on this information, you can decide what element of the site experiences more engagement and what elements you should probably get rid of.

For instance, you can highlight a ‘link’ that receives more engagement and remove the ‘sidebar’ altogether if you find audiences are not interacting with it. This way you will eliminate unwanted distractions and focus on those elements that appeal to your visitors.

8 – Conduct A/B Testing
Performing A/B split tests will clear any confusion you might have about the reason for your site’s high bounce rate. To perform an A/B test, you will have to create two different versions of the same webpage. Both of these pages must attract and cater to different visitors.

After setting the pages, simply monitor which site is performing better with regards to retaining visitor interest. This is an easy way to find issues with your site and optimize it accordingly. Based on which site comes on top, you can create further tests with a set of new sites to keep no stone unturned and considerably improve your site’s bounce rate.

The Bottom Line

High-bounce rates can understandably cause panic. However, they shouldn’t be treated as a bad omen. Instead, they should be approached as an opportunity to improve your webpage’s performance. Most issues pertaining to higher bounce rates are easy to fix. All you have to do is keep an unwavering eye on the metric and leverage any of the above tips to retain your website’s traffic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is considered a Good Bounce Rate?
Most experts believe that an excellent bounce rate will fall in the range of 20% - 40%. A bounce rate between 40%-50% is considered average. One should keep an eye out for higher bounce rates that fall under the 50%-90% range.

Q2. What is the Difference between Exit Rate and Bounce Rate?
Exit Rate and Bounce Rate are similar concepts with one major difference. Bounce rate refers to the percentage of people that immediately leave a website upon arriving on it. 

Exit Rate refers to the percentage of people that leave a specific page even though they didn’t land on it. For example, if a person lands on Page 1, moves to Page 2, and then leaves it, then this increases Page 2’s exit rate in Google Analytics.

Q3. Does a Bounce Rate Affect SEO?
Digital experts have argued a lot over the impact of Bounce rate on SEO. It was mostly found that although bounce backs do not directly influence SEO, they can impact search engine ranking indirectly. Bounce rates can shed light on issues like page errors, slow loading speed, irrelevant content, and more that can affect a site’s SEO.

Q4. What is considered a Good Average Visit Duration?
Most digital marketers believe an average visit duration of 2-3 minutes is good enough for visitors to read and interact with the site. Sessions longer than this could indicate that your visitors find the webpage compelling.