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.”

Check bounce rate in google analytics

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.

ideal bounce rateSource: gorocketfuel

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Improve your page load time. [easy-tweet tweet=”A one-second delay in your page load time can reduce your conversions by 7%” user=”shane_barker” hashtags=”conversion”]Try avoiding flashy banners and other additions that can cause lagging web pages. Check Google recommendations on page speed insights to increase website page speed.
  3. Include relevant keywords. If your website gets listed for keywords that aren’t relevant to your topic, you’ll end up with visitors who aren’t interested in your content. Find out the keywords that return poor visits and replace them with ones that are more relevant.
  4. Use the right sales message. You’ll get a higher bounce rate if you use a sales message that doesn’t comply with the services offered by you. Your persuasive ad copy should match the information and services you provide.clear sales message
  5. Avoid pop-ups. For most people, pop-ups are annoying. Avoiding them can improve your user experience and reduce your bounce rates.
  6. Make your site mobile-friendly.[easy-tweet tweet=”Design your web pages in such a way that mobile users can access effortlessly” user=”shane_barker” hashtags=”responsivedesign”]Online visitors today want useful, relevant content easy to read on-the-go.
  7. Group content into segments. This can help make your content more readable and simpler to consume. Don’t use jumbled walls of text.
  8. Place ads strategically. Avoid intrusive ads that block the website’s content. Use better ad placement to create good user experience for a higher-ranking website.
  9. Pick contrasting colors. Colors can make your content more exciting and improve user interaction.
    Color psychology
  10. Open external links in new tabs. Instead of redirecting users off your site, allow external resources to open in a new tab or window.
  11. Prominently display search boxes. If users have to find information on your site, they shouldn’t have to search for the search box. Make it clearly visible.
  12. Break up content. Since most people have a short attention span, try splitting up long posts into different parts. Forbes uses this method and it reduces their bounce rates. It will also increase the page views, which improves the Alexa Rank.
  13. Use intuitive navigation. Enable users to find important content more effortlessly by improving your site’s navigation tabs.
  14. Try lazy loading.[easy-tweet tweet=”Lazy loading allows content to load quickly and new content to be loaded as needed” user=”shane_barker” hashtags=”pagespeed”]
  15. Create a compelling call-to-action. Visitors should know the exact purpose of your site instead of having to guess.
  16. Improve your 404 page. Try adding a link to your homepage and a search box in your 404 error page for a better user experience.
    custom 404 page
  17. Tell your story. Attract and engage users with a good story about your brand or how your products originated.
  18. Encourage users to explore more. Give them a purpose to check out other parts of your website by giving them content or product suggestions.
  19. Minimize distractions. Autoplay videos and audios can be distracting for viewers, so make sure you cut these off.
  20. Offer help through live chat. This is a great way to help visitors find what they’re looking for. This prevents people from simply leaving the page if they get stuck.
  21. Enhance your page design. A well-designed page improves your chances of being taken seriously by visitors. Opt for an uncluttered, clean design with consistent layouts, colors, and fonts.
  22. Avoid using flash. Flash-based websites take much more time to load. Using flash may also create bad user experience if the visitor’s device doesn’t have it installed.d
  23. Use internal linking. Internal links are another great way to ensure that visitors explore more parts of your website and reduce your bounce rates.

Got More Ideas?

By adopting the measures given above, you should be able to attract the right users and improve user engagement. This will help you decrease your average bounce rate and boost your page ranking. I’d love to hear from you if you have some other great ideas of your own. Use the comment box below to share!

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.