What is a bounce rate and how to reduce it

What is bounce rate?

This is a common question I receive after clients review their Google Analytics report.

The way digital marketing works is pretty simple. A visitor comes to your website from any of the traffic channels including search engines, social media, blogs and so forth. The visitor then learns about your products by reading through some of your content. If they are impressed by an offer, they can choose to take action in the form of making a purchase, downloading an e-book, signing up for your email newsletter, etc.

However, things don’t always follow that path. Sometimes, a visitor might come to your website, look around, and leave without taking a desired action. In fact, they could even leave without clicking on the menu or any of the links on your page, right?

When that happens; when a visitor simply comes to your site and leaves without engaging with the page at all, we say that the visitor has bounced.

What is Bounce Rate and Why is it Important in Marketing?

Bounce rate, therefore, is the frequency at which visitors come to your site and leave without engaging with the page at all. It is expressed as a percentage and calculated as follows;

The Bounce Rate of a Web Page = Total Number of Bounces on a Page in a Given Period ÷ Total Number of Page Entrances over the Same Period.

A high bounce rate typically means that either;

  1.  The quality of your pages is low such that there is nothing to engage with. Or,
  2. The page doesn’t provide the answers visitors are looking for.


How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate

Although Google doesn’t use bounce rates to determine a site’s rank in search engine results, even terming bounce rate metrics as “spammable and noisy,” that doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye to high bounce rates.

For one, when visitors come to your site and leave without engaging with the page, it becomes difficult to convert those visitors. Additionally, in AdWords, a high bounce can negatively affect your Quality Score, leading to a higher Cost Per Click (CPC).

The good news is that there are a couple of things you can do to bring your bounce rate down to a more reasonable level. The following are a few ideas to consider;

    • Adjust how Google Analytics calculates your bounce rate

In Google Analytics, any single-page visit is counted as a bounce no matter the amount of time a visitor spends on that page. The first step is to change this so that Analytics takes into account time spent on the site when calculating your bounce rate.

    • Focus on fixing Profit Pages of your site

The Analytics dashboard has something known as profit index which is a database of web pages most frequently viewed prior to conversions or transactions. Rather than attempting to fix the bounce rates of all pages on your site, focus on fixing these profit pages.

    • Take out low-value traffic channels

If certain traffic channels are bringing in visitors who are not interested in your products/services, then you’re going to see high bounce rates. Taking out these low-value traffic channels can significantly boost your bounce rate.

    • Fix your CTAs and Landing Pages

Finally, visitors could be leaving without taking any action because your Calls To Action (CTAs) and Landing Pages are poor. Perhaps your CTAs are not compelling enough, or your landing pages don’t satisfy visitor queries. Fixing these issues can lower your bounce rate.

Now, Get Started Fixing Your Bounce Rate

Of course, you can’t have a 0.00% bounce rate. But, if you can implement the four strategies discussed above, rest assured of a meaningful improvement in your bounce numbers.

Get more details in our Guide to Reducing Your Website’s Bounce Rate.

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