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What is Bounce Rate and How Can I Reduce It?

Website Budget

July 15 2016

What is a bounce rate and how does it affect your SEO efforts? A website’s bounce rate involves how long a visitor spends on a site.

Bounce Rates are those distressing internet statistics which measure how long a visitor looks at a single page on your website and leaves immediately, bouncing away without visiting any other page. This statistic or occurrence is one of those that people talk about most often when it comes to SEO and whether the site is showing up for the right audience, but is perhaps the least understood and most often misinterpreted statistics.

HOW TO ASSESS WHAT’S BEHIND A SITE’S HIGH BOUNCE RATE

Everyone wants to decrease their bounce rate. We want to get the visitor to at least look at another page of our content. However, an elevated bounce rate, generally points to a problem, something that is askew. Some of the variables can be:

  • Uninteresting content
  • An unsatisfactory User Experience (UX)
  • Confusing or faulty navigation
  • Weak Calls to Action (CTA)
  • Slow loading times

Basically, there is a disconnect between what the visitor is looking for and the content on the site that does not engage your visitor enough to look further or dig deeper. An elevated bounce rate could signal technical or design problems, which once fixed, could significantly improve your bounce rates.

However, it has been my experience that small business owners continue to have persistent elevated bounce rates until they come into our program.

While looking for causes, a developer or content writer should bear in mind not every elevated bounce rate has a cause, nor is its fix equally important. One must look at every possible problem based on the status or characteristics of the problem, and then address each on a priority basis.

1. Evaluate Each Page for Possible Bounce Rate Problems

Since the website’s Home page is where most people start on any website, that is a good place to start your evaluation. Additionally, since this is the most frequently visited page, this should have the lowest bounce rate for your site. The content on this page should encourage the visitor to explore more.

In comparison, your SEO efforts oftentimes produce a result, which sends large numbers of visitors to what Jakob Nielsen refers to as “deep dips” – the arrival of visitors to an internal page that is greatly relevant to the initial search of that visitor. Undoubtedly, this page has to be of optimal interest to the visitor, as that page is precisely what the visitor asked for in their search.

Inversely, you might also find some of your pages rank high for search words or phrases that have nothing to do with your products and services. Therefore, you should not concern yourself with those visitors because they were not potential customers anyway. The only thing you can do is try to change the content so that it points more toward your keywords and phrases.

You certainly would not wish to redesign your web pages dependent on the activities of spurious visitors. You must develop a strategy that focuses on real potential clients, not those who landed on your page mistakenly.

2. Specific Keyword Phrases that Effect Bounce Rate

Your chosen keyword phrases should attract prospective clients who have the intent to buy. Carefully and consistently monitoring these phrases, coupled with a proven strategy will drive your bounce rate lower over time.

A/B testing and Google Analytics will slice out which phrases are important using generated reports to assist you to watch those phrases. Do not dismiss this bounce rate, as it is the essence of your SEO and your strategy to convert visitors to clients.

3. Consider Carefully the Entry Source of Contributors to Your High Bounce Rate

The efforts you extend to SEO will lead to visitors arriving at your site from various social media platforms who are just browsers, much like a window shopper at the mall, most will never buy or even register. The bounce rate for these browsers should be sliced out, when possible, and not fretted over too much. Once you are aware of which keywords produce “window shoppers”, but not your ideal customers, you will have a more realistic bounce rate.

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