Learn How to Reduce Bounce Rate with Google Analytics and Better UX Design
If you’ve ever dug into your website’s traffic on Google Analytics, you will have come across the term bounce rate. This is an important behaviour metric to help you understand your site’s relevance and how well it engages people who end up on your landing pages.
The bottom line is that you want your average bounce rate to be as low as possible. Successful websites have a low bounce rate, which indicates engaging content and a great user experience supported by site speed, professional UI design for desktop and mobile devices, a well-executed call to action and strong internal links.
So, what affects your average bounce rate, and how do you improve it?
Follow this comprehensive guide to learn everything you need to understand about website design and performance analytics and how they work together to reduce bounce rate.
What Is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate refers to the percentage of website visitors that land on a web page and then quickly leave without navigating to other parts of the site. In other words, they “bounce” out of your website and back to the search results pages or the website that linked to your site.
Bounce rate is an important metric for web traffic analysis as it can provide insights into which pages you need to improve.
Visitors might bounce off the page without exploring your website deeper for many different reasons. The most common reasons are poor user experience and slow site speed.
Users could also navigate away from pages if the page doesn’t match their user intent or offer enough relevant information based on their search query. This would be caused by ineffective SEO tactics, poor content marketing, badly placed blog posts, or shady digital marketing strategies that erode the user’s trust in your website or brand.
Basically, whenever a user enters a website, and it doesn’t offer the information they need clearly and effectively, they’re highly likely to bounce. The site could also make the user uncomfortable by immediately requesting contact details or other personal information, having too many pop-ups, offering a painfully slow page load time, or relying on disjointed or confusing navigation.
Whatever the case, a high bounce rate is never a good thing. If you want to increase your sustained traffic, then you’ll want to achieve a good, low bounce rate.
It’s also important to note that bounce rate and conversion rate optimization are closely linked. When you employ the following best practices to reduce bounce rate, you inherently improve CRO and your ability to convert visitors into paying customers.
Bounce Rate vs Exit Rate
When monitoring your site’s traffic in Google Analytics, you will see bounce rate and exit rate metrics in your performance dashboard. These are two different metrics that shouldn’t be confused with each other. Despite sounding the same, these two behaviour metrics are quite different.
Exit rate is the percentage of all page views on a page that was the last page of that user’s browser session. So, each time a user leaves the website from a specific page, this is added to the exit rate of that specific page. This user could have visited multiple pages on the website before exiting.
Bounce rate is logged in your analytics when the user only visits one page and then promptly leaves the website. With bounce rates, sessions start and end on the same page.
The bounce rate shows that the user isn’t interested in navigating to the rest of the website as they were probably unsatisfied with the page they landed on.
Site visitors bounce because they want to find a better result on a different site.
However, even if a visitor loves the website, they will still have to exit the website at some point. Exit rate provides a clearer picture of which pages users choose as the last stage in their journey.
Ideally, pages with high exit rates should be pages that users visit after they complete an action — like making a purchase or signing up for a demo. Your conversion pages should have the highest exit rate, meaning you’ve converted the casual browser into a quality lead.
If a landing page has a high exit rate but low conversions, then it tells you that you need to optimize the landing pageand its call-to-action to reduce bounce rate and increase the conversion rate to build more revenue.
So having a high exit rate is not necessarily a bad thing; it’s just important to understand which pages have the most exits. On the other hand, having a high bounce rate is not good for your website, and lowering it should be a top priority!
Why It’s Important To Reduce Bounce Rate
Whenever Google and other search engines crawl your website, they look at hundreds of different factors to decide how to rank your content. One of the most important metrics it considers is bounce rate.
If a website has a higher bounce rate than other sites it’s competing against it shows Google that users would rather spend more time on the other sites.
Pages with a high bounce rate suggest that the content is not engaging enough, outdated, irrelevant, or that it has more serious problems that result in a poor user experience. Whatever the case, this puts the website at a disadvantage as Google will then lower its ranking on its search results pages. Ultimately, the site will receive less organic traffic, and its ability to generate more leads or revenue will be limited.
Imagine you run a Google search, and the first page you click offers information that is five years old and irrelevant to your current search query. If this is the case, you are quite likely to navigate away from the page and choose something else in hopes of finding useful articles that include the more up-to-date information you need.
This is an example of bounce rate in action and why using bounce rate as a ranking factor is so important for the user.
Google’s algorithm has become increasingly advanced. It’s always getting better at understanding what content users want to see and what is most relevant to their query. This means you can’t just stuff the right keywords into a blog post to expect it to rank well in search. Instead, your blog post will only perform well if Google can see that it’s genuinely helpful to the user and how goes Google figures out how valuable your content is to users? By measuring key behaviour metrics like time on site, click-through rate (CTR) and bounce rate.
Improving your bounce rate will mean better search engine rankings and more organic traffic.
What Factors Affect Bounce Rate?
When a user ends up on a landing page, their behaviour can include many different actions.
Here are a few common examples of user behaviour that indicate a bad bounce rate to Google:
- Clicking the “back” button in their web browser after landing on a web page
- Closing the browser or tab to close the website they’re on
- Entering a new URL into the browser’s address bar
- Not taking any action for 30 minutes after being on the page, results in the session timing out
In each of these examples, the user shows little or no interest in the web content, causing them to navigate away from it.
Each time one of these actions takes place, it affects the bounce rate of that page.
What’s a Good Bounce Rate?
When you review your Google Analytics and investigate your bounce rates, in order to identify opportunities for improvement, you need to know what a good bounce rate is for various types of pages.
Different website pages are designed for different purposes. Thus, they have their own unique patterns of user behaviour. This means a good bounce rate can differ a lot depending on the type of content in question.
While the average bounce rate is often considered somewhere around 50–60%, this benchmark is pretty meaningless, as different types of web content have such different user behaviours.
Average Bounce Rates For Different Types Of Websites
Landing Page Bounce Rate: 70–90%
Landing pages and websites with only a single page don’t have other navigation options, giving users very little else to do other than bounce.
While the bounce rate on a single-page website will be high, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The user might have done everything they wanted to do and didn’t have anywhere else on the site they needed to navigate to.
Often, landing pages are not designed to rank in Google’s index as they are designed to achieve a single goal and nothing else. In many cases, these pages will be noindexed to begin with.
So, when looking at your overall bounce rate, a high figure for landing pages and single-page websites doesn’t necessarily mean bad news. This is a scenario where understanding the context and marketing strategy of the landing page is important.
Blog Post Bounce Rate: 70–98%
When a user clicks on a blog post, they will generally just skim the article for the information they need and then leave the page.
As a result, bounce rates on blog posts are generally high as Blog visitors don’t often have any intention to explore the website more deeply.
Even if your blog is full of high-quality content, a user will likely find everything they need from their first click after search results.
Very few users finish reading a blog post, then continue to scan the blog for other content, but using internal links to other pages effectively or employing suggestive site search are effective ways to increase the user engagement and their time on site.
You may also consider adding more interactive content and a newsletter subscription form to capture interested visitors to marketing future content to them. There are many free WordPress plugins that make this process quick and easy.
Ultimately, this natural behaviour leaves blog posts with high bounce rates, but it doesn’t mean the user was unhappy about the content.
Professional Website Bounce Rate: 50–65%
When a user lands on a B2B or professional business site, the business probably wants them to complete some sort of action to become a qualified lead. This could be through a simple call-to-action on the homepage or getting the user to navigate deeper into the site to find out more about the business and its products or services.
Visitors to professional websites should show a lower bounce rate as there is often a little more discovery involved within the user journey before the viewer takes action.
Retail Website Bounce Rate: 20–40%
When a user enters an online store, they usually have a higher purchasing intent than most other types of web visitors. This means the conversion rates on retail websites are generally much higher as well.
When a user lands on a retail website, they typically spend more time looking through different products, reading reviews, and exploring the business before making the decision to purchase.
A good bounce rate for retail websites is below 50%, indicating a higher click-through rate as users naturally spend more time exploring the site.
Service Website Bounce Rate: 10–30%
Service websites usually reflect the lowest bounce rate in Google Analytics. This is because visitors are directed to these websites to inquire about a service they need, and they are willing to do the research to understand the service offering and gauge its fit for their needs before converting.
Because of their intent, visitors to service websites spend more time digging deeper into the website and exploring more of what the service offers. This results in a much lower bounce rate than other industries or types of websites.
How To Reduce Bounce Rate: 9 Effective Tips to Engage Website Visitors
Trying to reduce bounce rate should be a key part of any web design or content strategy. Even though certain types of websites have high bounce rates as their benchmark, reducing the bounce rate as much as possible ensures that you offer visitors the best possible experience and increase your chances of converting them into paying customers.
There is no free tool to optimize your website, but using common sense and best practices will ensure that you build a successful site. Below are some of the most effective strategies to reduce the bounce rate of your website and landing pages.
1. Meet Expectations And Optimize For Intent
Search intent refers to what the user wants to find when they type a query into a search engine.
Let’s say you Google “how to design a website”. It’s pretty clear what the search intent is — you want to find a step-by-step guide and instructions that teach you to design a website.
If you click on a web page only to see that it offers the “best web designers”, it doesn’t match your search intent. You would quickly bounce from that page and click on another search result until you find a site that explains how to design a website.
So to reduce bounce rate, websites need to offer content that is relevant to what the user is searching for and includes helpful links.
If a user lands on a web page and has all of the exact information they were looking for, they won’t need to go anywhere else. Thus, the page will have a low bounce rate.
To achieve this, you will need to understand exactly what the user wants to find in the search results of their query and optimize your content for this. This will require the use of relevant keywords.
Of course, make sure that the targeted message in the title and description of your content matches what the content is actually about. If your blog post offers exactly what the title suggests, people who click on it will continue to read it.
Always deliver on the user’s expectations when they click through to a page on your website. Offer a clue as to what kind of content they can expect on the page and make sure that the information on the page aligns with their search query.
2. Update Your Website Design
It’s vital that you offer a great website design to keep your site visitors engaged.
Always invest in good web design services to make sure your site is attractive, engaging, and easy to navigate. Even subtle things like making effective use of white space can transform a poor website design into something much more reasonable.
If your site is confusing or looks outdated, it should be no surprise that visitors will bounce.
The design of a website makes an enormous difference to what visitors think and what kind of action they will take. The user interface design should be updated consistently to stay current with user expectations and modern design best practices.
On average, websites tend to have a lifespan of about 3 to 4 years until they require a significant redesign. However, a skilled web designer can increase the longevity of your website with a future-forward approach to make the most of your investment.
Website Design Tips To Reduce Bounce Rate
Make your website fully responsive
Responsive web design is a big ranking factor for Google. Whenever you load a page, it should automatically adjust to the device you’re using. This provides the best possible user experience for people accessing your website on any type of modern device.
It is crucial to make your site mobile-friendly. Most of the world’s web traffic comes from mobile devices today, so your site has to offer great mobile responsiveness if it’s going to keep visitors on your pages for longer.
Website visitors should never get confused. Navigation should be intuitive and clear.
It could require a lot of time, effort, and money to attract visitors and get them to land on your website. The last thing you want is for them to navigate away because they couldn’t figure out how to navigate your site.
The attention span of your visitors is only a few seconds. So, you have to grab their attention with clear and concise messaging quickly. This is especially important for landing pages or home pages, as users need to instantly understand what the site is about and what action to take. If this is unclear, they will bounce from the site.
Web content should be easy to read, no matter what device the user is on.
Never have too much page content or long, confusing paragraphs. Keep it short and keep it simple. This will engage users and help them easily digest your website.
Page load speed
The longer your website takes to load, the more visitors you will lose. Page load speed is one of the most important factors that affect the user experience. Websites need to be fast and responsive to reduce bounce rates.
3. Improve Your Content
Great content is necessary if you want to keep the attention of your site visitors. If you aren’t offering helpful content, site visitors will quickly jump to other pages on the search results. It’s that simple.
Having great content will help you achieve better search rankings and it will reduce your bounce rate.
So, what is great content?
Good content offers the user exactly what they want without any fluff or frills. It answers the user’s question and provides enough information to satisfy their query.
If a user has to navigate to another website to answer their question, then your content isn’t up to standard.
Also, make sure your content is easy to read and easy to digest. Keep it simple, keep it to the point, and make sure it’s useful. You should always focus on offering actionable advice and insights.
By creating content that offers a personal and meaningful conversation based on the search query, you should be able to significantly reduce your bounce rate.
4. Minimize Or Eliminate Distractions
You want your website to stand out from the competition, but you also need to avoid over-designing it.
Websites that offer a clear and concise message and action path achieve far better results than overcomplicated websites.
Adding too many distractions, like pop-ups and auto-play videos might push visitors away or interrupt their natural discovery process.
When designing your website, make the most important areas of focus clear. The main calls to action should stand out from the rest of the site, and your most important messaging should be bold and easily visible.
If you offer a clear user journey with minimal distractions, you will be able to reduce your bounce rate.
5. Open Links In New Windows
Adding strategic external links to your web content is important for SEO. It also adds more value and credibility to the content. The only problem is that these links would result in users navigating away from your website.
Always make sure that external links open in new tabs so that your website stays open.
Having internal links open in a new tab is also a good practice, but it’s not essential. If a user is on your site and clicks an internal link that opens a new web page, they won’t have bounced from your site but simply navigated to a new page.
If an external link opens in the same tab, the user will accidentally navigate off your site. This is simple, but it can be a big cause of a high bounce rate.
6. Utilize Social Media
A strong social media presence can make a big difference to your bounce rate. This is because people look for brands on social media to find out what they offer and what they’re all about. If the brand appeals to the user, the person will navigate their website.
If this is the case, the user has already established trust in the brand and understands what they offer. As such, there’s a smaller chance of them bouncing from their site.
If you don’t have a strong social media presence, users will have to find out about your business on your website. And if your website isn’t optimized, it could lead to quick bounces.
So, be active on social media and offer a lot of relevant information across your social channels. With engaging content and well-written CTAs, you’ll be able to funnel a lot more of your interested social media audience to your website.
7. Optimize Your CTAs
A call-to-action (CTA) tells a user to take action. If you want visitors to navigate through different pages on your website, you’ll need to get them to click on your CTAs to do so.
A CTA needs to be simple but punchy. It needs to motivate the user to click on it and entice them with some kind of value. Your CTA should also clearly stand out with bold copy and bright colours.
And make sure that your CTAs are highly visible. They should be positioned on every page of your website, clearly marked out under the main body of text. If a user has to struggle to find a CTA, they will probably end up bouncing from that page.
Instead of using a bland call-to-action like “sign up”, rather say something like “start my free trial”. This explains much more clearly what is on offer, it offers value (a free trial) and it illustrates action.
Even the tiniest details in your CTA can make the biggest difference.
A good strategy is to A/B test your CTAs to see which ones have the best click-through rates. Once you find the most effective CTA, you can apply it across your website.
8. Target the Right Keywords
This goes back to search intent and making sure you offer relevant content.
A major part of SEO is optimizing your web pages for the right keywords. These keywords are the search phrases that users type into a search engine, and the most relevant results are the ones that will rank.
If you somehow manage to rank for an unrelated keyword, users will instantly navigate away from your site because it doesn’t answer their questions.
So, always research your keywords carefully. See what information is ranking at the top and make sure your content offers the right information.
Not only will optimizing your content for the right keywords help reduce your bounce rate, but it will also bring you more organic traffic.
9. Improve Page Speed
A good user experience is more important than ever before. To get this right, all the elements on your page need to load quickly.
We’re so used to lightning-fast internet speeds these days, if a site takes a long time to load, the frustration will result in us quickly choosing a different website.
Check your page speeds and make sure that all elements (images, videos, etc.) are loading quickly. If not, see if you can compress them or find the cause of the slow loading speed.
This is important for SEO in general, and it will bring down your bounce rate. As long as your user experience is good, you shouldn’t have a problem keeping visitors on your site.
Final Thoughts on Bounce Rate
A low bounce rate indicates your site is attracting the right visitors and that your site content is what they want to see.
So many businesses forget about their bounce rate, which can end up making a big impact on how a site ranks.
Make sure to prioritize this important metric and always reevaluate your site to prevent your bounce rate from getting out of control. With regular content updates, a great site design, and making sure your site makes sense, you can significantly improve your bounce rate.
Ultimately this means more traffic, a better conversion rate, more customers moving down your sales funnel, and more money for your business.