When it comes to running an online business of any kind, one of the most important metrics you’ll want to stay on top of is your bounce rate. A bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit one page on your site but don’t explore any further. Essentially they bounce away to another website after seeing just one page of your site.
You can find your bounce rate in Google Analytics on the Overview page (along with other information like number of unique visitors and average visit duration):
The number found in the Overview section will be your site’s overall bounce rate. You can find the bounce rate for each specific traffic source under All Traffic:
Why is Bounce Rate Important?
Bounce rate is an important online metric because a high bounce rate indicates that the quality of your web traffic is poor. If you are running online ads and the traffic they are sending to your landing page has a high bounce rate it means you are wasting money because the majority of visitors are sticking around and learning more about you – and more importantly they aren’t sticking around and converting into a lead or sale.
If your organic traffic has a high bounce rate it means that you are likely not ranking for the appropriate keywords. If you know your site is optimized for the right keywords, then it is likely that your site is not presenting information in a way that visitors find appealing. If that is the case you will want to consider testing a re-design of your website to reduce your bounce rate and increase your number of leads or sales. If you’re not sure how to analyze your data and determine if you need a site redesign, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
Bounce Rate Benchmarks
If you want to start with a benchmark, on average the bounce rate across all industries for a website is 40.5%. That means if your bounce rate is under 40% you’re doing better than many other businesses. However, if it is over 40% you’re doing worse than many other businesses. This is similar to benchmarking a business.
Depending on which industry your website is in will determine a more specific benchmark:
The remainder of this post is going to focus on retail/ecommerce websites where the average bounce rate is between 20-40%.
In general you can follow this guide as an indicator of how good or bad your bounce rate is:
Less than 15% = Great!
Less than 25% = Good!
25 – 50% = Average
Above 50% = Not Good
While every website will receive some amount of low quality traffic through no fault of its own, you want to do your best to drive high quality traffic to your site because that will translate into more sales.
If your bounce rate is currently very high (over 50%) you should aim to bring it down to the industry average of 20-40%. If your bounce rate is already within industry average – good job – the following tips will help you get to the next level!
8 Tips for Improving Bounce Rates
No matter which group you are in, you can likely benefit from the following tips to improve your bounce rate:
- Maintain top rankings for branded terms. This means you should be sure to rank in the top spots for your brand name. One quick way to make sure you get the top rankings for your branded terms is to set up your social media profiles with the username as your company name.
- Provide Relevant Content. Obviously the content on your website is going to be largely focused on the products or services that you sell. However, when it comes to providing really relevant content you want to make sure that ad traffic gets dropped onto a specific page within your site that speaks to the offer or product mentioned in the ad – not the homepage or some other page. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that pages on your site rank for keywords that are really relevant to what the searcher might be looking for. Not every page on your site should rank for the same set of key terms.
- Build a clear navigation path/menu. This one is simple. Be sure that you your main navigation menu is prominently displayed and helps users get to the most popular sections of your site. Most people look for navigational menus at the top of a website, in the footer and in the sidebars. Placing your navigation anywhere else may increase your bounce rate.
- Link to a glossary page that defines industry terms. This tip is only really important if you are running a very niche site in which the majority of visitors might not easily understand certain industry terms.
- Place search function prominently. Sometimes people will land on your site and even if your content is relevant to their search or the ad they clicked on, they won’t find the exact information they are looking for. By placing a search bar on your website you’ll decrease your bounce rate because those visitors will be able to search for more specific information that they might not see on the first page they landed on.
- Speed up page load using Google Page Speed plugin. Slowly loading pages lead to high bounce rates. Visitors are impatient and won’t stick around for a complex site to load. Speed up your site using the free Google Page Speed plugin.
- Get rid of pop-up ads. Pop-up ads are pretty great at converting visitors into newsletter subscribers or the like when done right, just like with email marketing. That means not popping up immediately upon the first visit. Rather it’s better to show them after a visitor has been looking around your site for a while (judged either by time on site or number of pages per visit); this indicates that they are finding value in your site and are likely to want to subscribe for more information. However, showing popups immediately upon arrival will make most people bounce because it comes across as very spammy. You’re asking for personal contact information before showing how valuable your product is –that’s just not good website etiquette!
- Reduce external links (or have them open in a new window). It’s nice to link out to other websites that provide more information for your visiors; however, if they click that link and it doesn’t open in a new window you lose the visitor, possibly forever. Be sure to set links to open in a new window. You can do so by using the “target=_blank” command in your links.For example would set a new link to Google to open in a new window:<a href=” www.google.com “ target=”_blank”> Google </a>
Time to Get to Work!
So, armed with all of this new information, what should you do first? I would recommend logging into Google Analytics and reviewing your overall bounce rate for the last month, last quarter and last year. Then I would look at the bounce rates for any paid ad campaigns and finally the bounce rates for each of your top 10 referring sites.
Your overall bounce rate will help you take the temperature of how your site is currently doing and how much improvement you may be able to expect from making the high level changes suggested in the tips section of this post.
Reviewing paid ad traffic will help you determine how qualified the traffic from those campaigns was. If the bounce rate is high (and the conversion rate is also low) you should make changes to your ad campaigns immediately – or stop them altogether because you are wasting money on unqualified traffic.
Finally, the bounce rates of your top referring sites will help you know if the organic links you’ve gained are sending you qualified traffic. If you find that certain sites are sending you really qualified traffic (low bounce rates, high conversion rates) you should establish a relationship with that site and try to gain more links from them via guest blogging and similar tactics.
If you would like a free consultation on how to improve your bounce rate with great website design please fill out the contact form and we will be in touch.
Informational graphics in this post on bounce rates were taken from a brilliant inforgraphic on bounce rates from Kissmetrics.