If you use Google Analytics to get an overview of traffic, conversions and other activities on your website or webshop, you may have come across the "bounce rate " tab.
Bounce rate is a measure of how many visitors visit only one subpage of your website and otherwise take no action such as filling in a contact form, clicking on a link, signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase.
For example, if you have a bounce rate of 52.68%, this means that 52.68% of your visitors leave your website without visiting any sub-pages other than the one they clicked on in the search result.
Bounce rate is a measure of how effective and user-friendly your website is.
A low bounce rate indicates that your users find it easy to navigate around your website. Conversely, a high bounce rate may indicate that your sub-pages are not good enough to capture people's interest - and this can be a critical signal that your website:
Let's compare a website with a physical shop. The shop has several departments - a bit like your website has several subpages. Unfortunately, 85% of users visit only one department - without even glancing at the others and without buying anything in the department they actually visit.
Even the most inexperienced merchant will recognize that this store has a serious problem.
Similarly, a high bounce rate should set alarm bells ringing for any website owner. Your website shouldn't be a digital revolving door, where customers pop in quickly and then disappear again.
Finally, your bounce rate can have an indirect impact on your website's rankings in Google search results. A low bounce rate tells Google that your visitors are finding what they are looking for.
A high bounce rate tells Google the opposite - and that can ultimately affect your chances of being found in search results.
It would be utopian to think that you can get all your visitors to convert - there will always be a certain percentage who "bounce". Nor can a shopkeeper expect all his visitors to take an action in the shop - there will always be some who "just look".
You should therefore aim for a bounce rate of between 26 and 40%.
Now you know what bounce rate and what a good bounce rate is. So now comes perhaps the most important question: How do you lower your bounce rate?
First and foremost, it's important that your website lives up to what users expect when they click through to it in search results.
For the sake of example, let's start with a collection page of yellow raincoats on the fictitious webshop regnfrakkeshoppen.dk. Clever as she is, the webshop owner has written catchy and eye-catching meta-titles and meta-descriptions to increase the click-through rate and lure customers to the site.
Therefore, the link to the page in Google search results looks like this: ↓
Users who click on the link will expect to find a large selection of yellow raincoats on the site.
Of course, the site must live up to these expectations. If users land on the site and only find 4 models, or only find black raincoats, they will most likely click away again - simply because they don't find what they were promised.
So to make a long story short: keep your promises.
Call to actions are elements on your website that clearly and directly tell your visitors what to do. Typical examples might be:
In other words, a call to action is a concrete guide that makes it easy for your visitors to decode what you want them to do. So make sure you highlight the most important call to actions on your site - and preferably above the fold.
Above the fold is an expression from good old-fashioned analogue journalism - the kind that makes your fingers tingle. In the past, newspapers were often folded together on a stand, and to attract the attention of passers-by, the front page headline was placed "above the fold".
The principle is exactly the same with a website or a webshop. Here you should also place the most important content and your call to actions "above the fold". Or to put it another way: your users should be presented with concrete options for action without having to scroll down the page.
Internal link building is the work of creating links to other relevant subpages on your website. For example, for the webshop owner selling raincoats, it might make sense to link to an internal blog post about maintaining waterproof materials or to a collection page with products for washing and caring for rainwear.
Whatever your industry, there's good reason to look at your internal link structure if you want to reduce your bounce rate. Because with relevant internal links, you're sending your visitors to new pages that will keep their interest.
A good internal link structure also helps to improve your SEO - and therefore your website's ranking on Google. So you can kill two birds with one stone by strengthening your internal link profile.
So never underestimate the importance of compelling, relevant and valuable content for your website users. If you sell raincoats, for example, you can give your customers advice on choosing a raincoat. This is the discipline of content marketing: marketing with value for the recipient. You can read more about this in my post "Why your business should write blog posts".
However, your content should not only be relevant, compelling and valuable - it should also be easy to decode visually. That's why it's important that your visitors don't encounter a cluttered wall of densely written text when they visit your landing pages. That will make most people other than hardcore academics lose interest in a flash.
If you want concrete tips for writing good landing page copy that retains and captivates your readers, I highly recommend reading my colleague Mie's SEO checklist.
You've probably tried clicking on a search result and landing on a so-called 404 page - a page that no longer exists. And you've probably been so annoyed that you immediately clicked away from the page again.
That's why you need to avoid the dreaded and despised 404 errors if you want to reduce your bounce rate.
For the sake of example, let's return once again to the webshop selling raincoats. The owner wants to gather all her raincoats on one collection page, where she previously categorised them by brand, colour, etc.
Therefore, she creates one collection page with all raincoats and deletes the pages with the former subcategories - among them the aforementioned collection of yellow raincoats. Unfortunately, this also means that users end up on a 404 page if they click on the search result with yellow raincoats.
You do this by making 301 redirects. A 301 redirect is a redirect from a dead page to an existing one. A bit like if you move and report the move to the registry office. When you make redirects, you immediately tell your web server and not least Google that your content has moved to another page.
If you have a WordPress website and have Yoast SEO installed, you can easily and quickly monitor 404 errors and make 301 redirects in the Redirect manager. Click on the "redirects" tab, enter or copy the URL of the dead page in the "Source URL" field and paste the URL of the page to be redirected to in the "Target URL" field.
Then click "Add redirect" - and presto: your web server now knows that part of your website has been moved to another address. That way, you prevent your users from landing on a 404 page. And as an added bonus, you strengthen your SEO, because you don't lose the value of the "link juice" that the URL has generated.
No, a high bounce rate is not always a bad thing. It can also be a sign that your visitors are finding what they're looking for on the first try. If your visitors search specifically for yellow raincoats and land on the yellow raincoat collection page without clicking through to another page, it could also mean that they found what they were looking for straight away.
Conversely, a high bounce rate is not a success criterion if your entry page or certain landing pages act as a gateway to the rest of your website. Here, your online success depends on your users visiting more than one page.
For example, if you capture users early in the customer journey, it is essential that your users visit multiple sub-pages on your website, otherwise you can be sure that it will not be your website that helps them further in the journey. Or to put it another way: They won't shop with you.
I hope this post has given you a basic understanding of bounce rate. However, we've only just scratched the surface - the toolkit contains many more tools.
Want specialised help to put them into practice? Or are you just too busy to fiddle with SEO technical challenges? Then contact Webamp on 70 60 50 28 or firstname.lastname@example.org and let's have a chat about how our SEO specialists can lower your bounce rate.
Whether you're a generalist or a marketing specialist, our SEO specialists have put together some great advice for you on our blog.
Learn more about SEO in Webamp Academy.