As an Internet marketer, you probably already know the importance of keeping your site’s bounce rate low. You also know the impact bounce rates have on web traffic analytics results. It’s popular knowledge nowadays that the bounce rate of a website influences its search engine ranking. A higher bounce rate drags you lower in the rank, whereas lower bounce rates are ideal for better ranking. In this article, I’ll bring you 23 actionable ideas that really work to reduce bounce rates and improve search engine rankings.
What is Bounce Rate and How’s it Different from Actual Bounce Rate?
Bounce rates refer to the number of visits to a website in which the user leaves without checking out any other page. Broadly defined, it’s the percentage of single page visits. Google Analytics keeps a close track on the bounce rates for websites and individual web pages. What many people don’t know is that bounce rates and actual bounce rates aren’t similar. In many cases, websites with a high bounce rate may also be among the top-ranking sites on popular search engines. This is because of the differences between the two numbers.
Confused? Let me elaborate these differences using some hypothetical situations. First, imagine users get to a web page through organic search results. They take a quick glance at the ad-filled page with low-quality content, so they return to the search results. These users probably spend only a few seconds before returning to the original search results. This counts as an “actual bounce”. It will show up in Google Analytics as a bounce and count with search engines.
Now, imagine a user ends up on a web page with a well-written blog post about a topic of their interest. The post provides useful definitions and addresses major concerns that are supported by great visuals. This user ends up spending almost 30 minutes on the page and reading the content before going back to the search results for a different search. Although Google Analytics would count this as a bounce, search engines know that the user spent almost 30 minutes on the page. This doesn’t count as an “actual bounce”, but consider it as dwell time to analyze site user behavior.
So, you can see how search engines calculate bounce rates and actual bounce rates. This is the exact reason why there are many websites that rank well with search engines despite having high bounce rates on Google Analytics. It’s because they maintain a good user engagement and don’t have high actual bounce rates.
What Defines a Bounce in Google Analytics?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, ‘time spent on a page’ doesn’t get taken into consideration when Google Analytics calculates bounce rates for web pages. The equation it uses is:
Bounce Rate = (total number of bounces) / (total number of entrances) x 100
Bounces are all the single page visits for a page. Entrances are the number of visits you get for a page. For example, if you get 171 bounces for 416 entrances, your page bounce rate would be 41.11 percent. You can view the bounce rates of individual pages in Google Analytics by navigating to the “Behavior” section, clicking on “Site Content,” and then choosing “Landing Pages.”
What is an Ideal Bounce Rate?
What are good bounce rates that website should hope to maintain? I know that this question is probably bogging your mind. For most sites, it’s common to see average bounce rates between 26 percent and 70 percent. According to analytics guru Avinash Kaushik, it’s difficult to get the rate below 20 percent. If you do manage to achieve lower than this, there’s nothing like it. Bounce rates landing between 26 and 40 percent are excellent.
41 to 50 percent may be considered as the average for most websites. Bounce rates between 56 and 70 percent are quite bad, but may not be reason to panic depending on the website type. Anything higher than this is very bad. If that’s the case, it’s time you start taking measures to reduce your bounce rate.
How to Reduce Bounce Rate?
Here are a few easy tips you can use lower your website’s bounce rate for better ranking:
- Create a compelling landing page. If your landing page doesn’t have the information visitors are looking for, the number of bounces is bound to be high. Tackle this issue by creating a relevant landing page with high-quality content.
- Improve your page load time.