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5 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate... Hint Think Content
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
We've discussed bounce rate numerous times, yet we find that we continue to get asked questions about bounce rate and why it is a metric that should be a regular part of a client's dashboard when reporting on the success of online campaigns (organic or sponsored).

So before we dive deeper into how to reduce bounce rate, here again is our definition of bounce rate:

Bounce Rate: the percentage of web site visitors who arrive at an entry page on your web site, then leave without visiting any other pages or leave without going any deeper into the site. Bounce rate is typically measured as a percentage. The lower the bounce rate that you have the better as this is an indicator of how users are engaging with your website.

In order to understand bounce rate, you must identify it within your site analytics. Google Analytics makes this easy by placing bounce rate as default item on your main analytics dashboard. This says something in itself, if Google has included bounce rate as a metric on the dashboard, they must think that bounce rate is a fairly important metric right? Well in fact it is a key metric when measuring user engagement on your site. A high bounce rate is a good indication that users are not finding the information that they are looking for and as a result are not proceeding any further.




What is a Good Bounce Rate Anyways?

Great question. We're glad you asked. As with many items in the world of SEO and organic search, the answer is it depends. Obviously a lower bounce rate is better, but bounce rate averages can vary by industry or type of site. Sites that are information portals will most likely have lower bounce rates than sites that feature limited content. The fact is that bounce rate is affected by the user's intent. That is, based on the user's query did they find the information that they were looking for? For example let's say you were looking for information about the TV program Las Vegas and you typed in "Las Vegas" in a search engine. You would no doubt receive a lot of Las Vegas (the city) related sites and potentially you might even be returned with a result that talks about the TV show albeit briefly. You might click through to some of these sites but unless the information that you were looking for about the show is present you would most likely revisit the search results page and/or re-enter a more specific search query. The bounce rate of the sites that you did click through would be affected as you were unable to find the information that you were looking for.

So to answer the question, what is a good bounce rate, generally speaking if you have a bounce rate that is in the 40-50% range that is not bad. If you manage to have an overall bounce rate that is in the 30-40% that is fantastic. As Avinash Kaushik states "a 35% bounce rate is very good..." We'll add that anything less is pretty spectacular. For the record, we've worked with clients and have helped them lower their bounce rates to less than 20% and in some cases to 7 or 8% which is quite exceptional.

So the question becomes, how do we lower bounce rate?

Five Ways to Lower Bounce Rate
  1. Provide Relevant Content - seems simple enough doesn't it? Well then why are so many sites not doing it and why are people abandoning sites soon after arriving on them? If you are going to optimize a webpage, do it right. When writing copy, consider your audience. Use their language not yours, which leads us to point #2.

  2. Use the Language of your Target Audience - do you really think that using the fancy industry lingo is always the way to go? Well sometimes, but many times your target audience may be versed in an entirely different language... that is their own language. Corporate or industry speak may not always be the same language that your target audience uses or is looking for. Work to understand your target audience and the terminology that they are using. If your content can speak to your site visitors, your bounce rate will decline significantly.

  3. Have Clear Navigation - if you are lucky enough to have a user find your site through Organic Search, treat them well. Every site page that you makes up your site, should have clear and intuitive navigation to guide the user through their site experience. Capture their interest and guide them with a well interlinked site to assist them in finding all of the information they are looking for. If they expect to see pricing on the site, be sure to provide them with this information. Someone who performs a search for "CRM pricing comparisons" expects to find a page that features jus that, comparisons of CRM (software) pricing.

  4. Provide Ample Content - whether in the form of page copy, images, video etc. Be sure to provide sufficient content to your site visitors. If you have a page about green widgets, make sure that you have some information on green widgets. Here's a hint, product or vendor comparisons work well, as do consumer reviews, pricing and shipping information. Having a brief sentence or two just doesn't cut it. Try to have a minimum 300-400 words of content on your site pages.

  5. Update Your Content - if you have content that is dated, consider adding some new information. Check your analytics to see which pages have the highest bounce rate and revisit the page copy for these pages.
There are a number of ways to improve (lower) your bounce rate. As you can see many of the easiest ways to reduce your bounce rate is through your content. In the world of Search, content is king for a reason. Use relevant and informative content to reduce the bounce rates of your site pages because if you don't, your competition definitely will. The Searcher will eventually find what they are looking for. Why not keep them engaged on your website?

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, February 18, 2009  
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Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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