Bounce rate is a term widely used in the marketing world, but what does it really mean in terms of content marketing success? As a key indicator of the behavior of website visitors, bounce rate is still one of the most important metrics to monitor website performance.
But a “good” bounce rate varies depending on your goals and industry.
(This isn’t the type of “bad” bounce rate I’m referring to)
In this article, we’ll look at what bounce rate means, explore what a “good” bounce rate is, and cover various ways to lower your blog’s bounce rate. But let’s get the specifics out of the way first…
What is a Bounce Rate?
A bounce rate, expressed as a percentage, represents the proportion of visitors who enter a website and then leave (“bounce”) without viewing any other pages of the site. A bounce occurs if a user clicks the back button, visits a new URL, closes the browser, or if a page is left open for too long without the user taking any action.
Bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of visitors who “bounce” by the total number of visitors to that page. For example, if 100 visitors land on one of your pages and 70 of them leave without visiting another page on your site, the bounce rate would be 70 percent. In general, this means that the lower the bounce rate, the better.
However, it’s not quite as straightforward as this, as we’ll explain later on.
Why Bounce Rate Matters
According to a SEMRush study, bounce rate is the fourth most important ranking factor on search engine results pages.
Any bounce is a signal to search engine algorithms that a web page may not be what searchers are looking for, which will lower the ranking score of that page. By knowing your bounce rates, you’ll know if your content is effective and engaging.
What is a “Good” or “Average” Bounce Rate?
It’s difficult to define an average bounce rate because a high bounce rate for one business might be considered low for another. Generally, anything over 50 percent is considered high and anything between 20 and 50 percent is considered low. However, a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It depends on your website type, industry, channel, and what device people are using.
The average blog page has a relatively high bounce rate. This is because a well-written post satisfies the user with its content. Even if you have strong internal links and calls-to-action, many users will find the answers they’re looking for and return to the search engine or social media page.
For a blog, anything from 60 – 90 percent is considered a benchmark average.
Other pages that typically have high bounce rates include:
- Contact pages.
- FAQ and customer support pages.
- Form submission pages.
- Purchase confirmation and checkout pages.
- News stories.
To view the bounce rate on specific pages in Google Analytics, go to the Behavior tab > Site Content > All Pages. From there you can sort pages by which have the highest bounce rate, and filter out any pages with an insignificant amount of traffic.
If you’re trying to generate leads and convert visitors into customers, a high bounce rate isn’t a good sign. But it’s also important to take into account other metrics concerned with user behavior. Metrics such as time spent on a page can also be used to measure how your content is performing.
Rather than trying to hit a certain magic number, take the long-term approach and focus on improving your weakest pages that have the highest bounce rates. Following are 13 ways to help improve your metrics and visitor engagement:
Strategies for Reducing Your Blog’s Bounce Rate
1. Make a Good First Impression
Many visitors will leave your blog after a few seconds, simply because of the overall design. To make your blog more visually appealing, try some of the following techniques:
- Use clear, simple navigation menus
- Write headlines that highlight the benefits of reading further
- Use a high color contrast between the font and background
- Break up text with subheadings, bullets, shorter paragraphs, and white space
- Avoid pop-ups, auto-play videos, and too many ads
2. Improve Content Quality
The key principle of ensuring higher content engagement is increasing content quality. Without good content, no visitor is going to want to stick around and explore other pages on your site. Aim to create outstanding content at every opportunity.
3. Improve Content Relevance
Content relevancy is also crucial.
If a link to your content says one thing and a visitor is then unsatisfied with your content, they’re likely to bounce.
(What happens to reader interest when your content doesn’t deliver on what it promises)
Good content requires some planning and thought to ensure it strikes home with your audience. For inspiration, here’s a helpful guide for generating content ideas.
4. Optimize Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions appear below the website URL in search results, so the words you use need to accurately represent the page users will visit. If your content doesn’t live up to the meta description, you’re likely to see higher bounce rates.
Use natural, compelling language, and include target keywords.
5. Use Targeted Keywords
Keyword relevancy is also important. You can’t just stuff content with keywords if the keywords you use attract the wrong types of visitors. This will only increase your bounce rates for individual pages.
Start with the Google Keyword Planner tool to find high-value traffic keywords. It’s free to use and can help you zone in on keywords and phrases that are relevant and already attracting attention.
6. Improve Readability
Avoid large chunks of text; they’re just intimidating. Instead, use bold headlines, subheadings, and bullet points. Break up text with white space, relevant links, and images. And avoid jargon, complicated sentences, and long paragraphs. It all helps to make a post easier to read.
[irp posts=”43587″ name=”13 Top Traits of Quality Writing”]
7. Include Clear Calls-to-Action
A well-placed call-to-action will encourage more user engagement and hopefully entice visitors to sign up to your newsletter, or visit another valuable page on your site. Consider the CTA copy, button color, and placement on the page.
Your site’s navigation is also key to engaging site visitors. Ensure links are clearly marked and easy to understand. How can you improve navigation to help users find what they want?
To increase time spent on your site, find related content to link to so that visitors have easier access to all of your blog content. In the same way that Amazon links to related products, link to other popular posts to build site engagement. Try including a sidebar featuring related content; it’s visually engaging and increases page views.
10. Use Images, Graphics, and Videos
Visual content connects more emotionally with users and also aids understanding. In a recent survey of online marketers, 40 percent – the majority – said that out of all visual formats, original graphics drove the most engagement.
In a 2018 HubSpot survey, 54 percent of consumers wanted to see more video content from a business they support. Are you presenting content in the right format to lower bounce rates?
11. Be Careful Using Pop-Ups
Pop-ups can be useful, for example when you want to encourage people to sign up to your newsletter. You may decide it’s worth having a higher bounce rate if it increases subscriptions in the long run.
However, they can be distracting and annoying, so use them sparingly.
There may be less intrusive measures, such as less pushy banners or call-to-action buttons.
When external links open in the same browser tab, users have to click the back button if they want to return to your site. But they may get distracted, causing a session time out, which results in a bounce.
If you use WordPress, the WP external links plugin will automatically set all of your external links to open in a new window.
13. Check Your Page Speed
A high bounce rate is often caused by slow page load times. You can analyze and optimize your blog or website with Google’s PageSpeed tools. You’ll also get advice on how to resolve any issues and increase page speed.
14. Make Your Site More Mobile-Friendly
Mobile friendliness affects not only search engine rankings, but also bounce rates. Does your site display correctly on smartphones and tablets? Not many mobile users will stay on a page that isn’t optimized for their device.
According to Google research, as page load time goes from one second to six seconds, the probably of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 106 percent. Ideally, you should be aiming for load times close to one second. You can test your site speed with Google’s mobile-friendly test tool.
With so many people browsing search engines, finding a way to attract visitors and also keep them on your site is a delicate balance. The trick is to keep providing your audience with valuable content and a more engaging experience on your site. If you don’t do this, there’s a risk of your bounce rates increasing again.
Don’t aim for unrealistic bounce rate percentages. Instead, use this guide to make your content more engaging, use an editorial calendar to map out your content topics and marketing goals, and use analytics tools to track your progress. In time, visitors will spend more time on your site and you’ll see higher conversions.