When you have a website, your ultimate aim is always to attract the perfect audience and retain their attention. But how would you know if your viewership is actually valuable to your business or not? One metric that is very useful in knowing if your audience is interested in your business or not, is “Bounce Rate”.
Both high and low bounce rates are not favorable for your business. There are many factors that are involved in keeping it stable. To maintain a good bounce rate, you should be able to use the right tools to monitor and, if need be, even reduce it.
In this article, you will learn everything about keeping a good bounce rate to grow and achieve your business goals.
Choosing a traffic analysis tool for your website
The first step after launching your website is to integrate a traffic analysis tool. Most CMS platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, ..etc offer dashboards for your website traffic, but those aren’t very useful after all.
You will have to integrate a powerful analytics tool that you can rely on, one that can help you analyze your website traffic. Our favorite analytics tool is Google Analytics, which offers a wide range of reports, is easy to integrate and displays a complete picture of your website traffic.
There are other analytics tools as well but for the sake of this article, I will stick with Google Analytics since it’s a top analytics tool and is used by millions of websites.
If you don’t have Google Analytics already installed on your website, I highly recommend you to follow our step by step guide.
Checking Bounce Rate in Google Analytics
Once you have analytics installed on your website, you can easily view the major metrics like Bounce Rate, Users, Sessions, Avg. session Duration..etc. The home page reports in Google Analytics displays very important metrics for your website.
On the very top of the page, you can see your bounce rate. The data that appears on the homepage is set to last 7 days by default. But you can change the date range by navigating to each particular report.
You can view the bounce rate in multiple reports. For example, you can see the bounce rate for each traffic channel or even traffic campaign separately. If you navigate to Acquisition >> All Traffic >> Channels, you can see the bounce rate for the traffic coming from each channel.
This will help you get a better view of what channel, the most relevant traffic is coming from. You can then align your marketing strategy for each traffic channel, accordingly.
You can even view bounce rates for each page on your website. To do this, navigate to Behavior >> Site Content >> All Pages.
Now you know how to view bounce rates in Google Analytics, it’s time to actually understand what bounce rate is.
What is Bounce Rate in Google Analytics?
When a user lands on your website and leaves without visiting any other pages, the user is considered to be a bounced user. The bounce rate, in turn, gives you the percentage of site visitors who exit from the landing page without checking out any other page of the website.
What does it mean to have a ‘high’ or a ‘low’ bounce rate?
When a website has a high bounce rate, chances are that the people coming to the website aren’t finding things of interest to them and therefore, are leaving without engaging with the website further. If a website has a low bounce rate, chances are that the users find the content to be relevant and useful, and so they decide to explore further by going to various other pages.
Source: Digital Marketing and Analytics
When is a high bounce rate not necessarily bad
The bounce rate of your website can change if you start considering and set various actions on your landing page as “events”. For instance, it could be a video play, a page scroll beyond a certain point etc.
When a user comes to your website and leaves without going to any other page BUT does play the video or scrolls through the landing page beyond the set point, the user will not be considered a bounced user, because, he did, in fact, register an interaction with the website.
When the interactions of your interest aren’t marked as “events”, chances are all users who come to the landing page of your website and leave even after a playing a video for example, will be considered to have bounced off, and thus your bounce rate will be a lot higher than it should be.
In this scenario, the best way to handle bounce rate is by sending an event interaction to Google Analytics on events that are important to you, such as, a page scroll or a video interaction.
How Google Analytics calculates Bounce Rate?
Reducing bounce rate involves the collective effort of people managing the site, it’s marketing, and analytics. Bounce rate, at end of day, is a quick indicator of traffic that comes to the site and the experience they have on the first page of your site.
Below is a list of 17 ways you can follow to reduce bounce rate.
1. Use Analytics for Your Advantage
As mentioned earlier, setting up an analytics tool like Google Analytics will help you measure your website traffic and monitor the correct bounce rate.
Setting up Google Analytics is easy, so make sure you add the tracking code throughout all the pages in the right place. Setting up analytics incorrectly results in a sudden drop of bounce rate.
The next important thing is to configure your analytics account to make sure the data you capture, is accurate. This process mainly includes filtering internal and spam traffic.
If you have a single landing page or your site’s bounce rate is high, set up event tracking to measure user actions. This will help you measure if the users are interacting with your site content before they bounce off. The event tracking data will ultimately help you decide if you need to change the content or CTA’s on the page.
2. Set your website goals
Whenever you set up a website, you set it up for a reason. It is either for lead generation or for selling products online or for another purpose. After setting up analytics on your website, the next important thing is to set up goals.
Goals in Google Analytics help you measure the conversions on your websites. If you have a lead generation website, setting up a goal for the form submissions will help you track the number of visitors submitting the form out of all the website visitors. This in turn, calculates the conversion rate for your landing page or website.
To set up goals in Google Analytics, follow our in-depth guide here.
Another important reason to set up goals is to see how the bounce rates and conversion rates relate. If you have a high bounce rate, but still the conversion rate is good, you may not need to change anything on your website.
3. Focus more on high performing marketing channels/campaigns
The internet is full of social media platforms, search engines (Google, Bing) and online communities. The most common marketing tactic, then, is to find places where your audience likes to hang out and promote your content there.
In Google Analytics we can easily see where the traffic is coming from. If you don’t know how to open your analytics account, navigate to Acquisition >> All Traffic >> Channels.
You can see a list of all traffic channels in the image above. Just look at the number of users from each channel, avg. session duration, bounce rate, and ecommerce conversion rate.
You can see that affiliates and direct traffic have a high conversion rate. The bounce rate and avg session duration are good. The result is that you continue the same marketing strategies for these two channels and focus more on channels with low conversion rates.
You can even stop your marketing strategies for channels with a high bounce rate and very low conversion rates as you can see for social and display channels.
4. Improve your site speed
Site speed is one of the key reasons for a high bounce rate. Your website should not take more than 3 seconds to load, or you start losing your visitors. In Google Analytics, you can see the overall site speed as well as individual pages.
To see the overview of your site speed metrics, navigate to Behavior >> Site Speed >> Overview.
To view the site speed for individual pages, click on the page timings report.
Google Analytics even gives you suggestions to improve your site speed for each individual page. To see the suggestions, click on speed suggestions:
Now it’s your turn to work on improving the site speed by following the suggestions.
5. Target right keywords
Whether the traffic is coming from organic search or Adwords ads, you need to make sure you are targeting the right keywords. Fortunately, you can connect Google Search Console with Google Analytics and see your entire search data in Analytics.
There are few steps involved in refining the quality of keywords for your business. Follow the list below to get more out of search data in analytics.
1. Create a Google Webmasters account, verify your website with Google, add a sitemap to help Google crawl your website better. If you haven’t done this before, follow the Google Search Console: The Definitive Guide by Brian Dean at Backlinko.
2. Connect your Google Search Console Account with Google Analytics.
3. Once search console is connected with analytics, navigate to Acquisition >> Search Console >> Landing Pages.
What you need to do here is to find the keywords with higher Click Through Rates (CTR). To do this, select the queries report. This report is by default sorted by clicks. Look for the top 50-100 keywords according to the size of your keyword list. Check the average position for those keywords and focus more on keywords that you can improve a bit.
6. Consider A/B testing for your new landing pages
A/B testing helps you develop high converting landing pages for your business. A/B testing means creating multiple versions of your landing page and dividing the traffic on both pages to see which one performs better.
The one that performs better will be your final landing page. There are other types of tests that help you test multiple CTA’s or even headlines on the same page.
You can use Google Optimize to set up A/B testing for which the performance can be seen in Google Analytics. You can follow our step by step guide to install Google Optimize via GTM and set your first A/B test.
There are other advanced tools as well that you can use for A/B testing. Check the list of best testing software that suits your business.
7. Migrate to Google Tag Manager
You might be wondering why I am focusing more on installing Google Tag Manager. To understand the need of GTM, you have to first understand at how GA calculates bounce rate.
To better understand this, let’s create a scenario. In the first case, you have a single page landing page while the second page consists of multiple pages.
Single page bounce rate:
If you have just analytics installed on your page, even a visitor who lands on your page reads all the content and left will be considered as a high bounce rate. For example, if there were 100 visitors on your website, out of the 90 left on the same page, the bounce rate will be calculated as 90/100*100 = 90%
All website bounce rate:
In this case, the visitors are navigating to other pages on your website which shows interaction with the site and hence reduces the bounce rate. For example, if there were 90 people entered your site last day, 20 bounced on the same page, bounce rate will be: 20/90*100= 22%.
So here comes the major question. How how to control the bounce rate even if the visitor read all the content on the single page and bounced.
This is where we need Google Tag Manager to track events. Events will send interaction hits which will control the bounce rate.
You can set up event tracking on a button click, link click or even a page scroll. Follow our step by step guide to track events with Google Tag Manager.
8. Consider a Mobile First Website
Your website should load easily on mobile devices. This is because people are increasingly using their cell phones to access the web on the go. In a competitive market, your focus should be to make your website as device friendly as possible.
The device report in Google Analytics can help you see what type of devices mostly being used to browse your website. To view the devices report, navigate to Audience >> Mobile >> Overview.
You can even view the screen resolutions by adding the secondary dimension as screen resolution.
9. Use Relevant Content
The content on your website should always be relevant to your audience. Deliver what you are saying and generate content that your audience likes to read. Analyze your top performing content in Google Analytics.
To view the top performing pages, navigate to Behavior >> Site Content >> All Pages:
Generate more content of the similar kind and provide proper solutions to address any issues your target audience may be facing.
10. Enable Internal Search
Add internal search to your site to help users find content easily. This also gives you an idea of what your users are searching for. Having internal search will also make your keyword research process easy. Here is how to enable site search in your GA account.
Check search terms here : Behavior >> Site Search >> Overview.
11. Make The Website User-Friendly
Make sure that the design of your website ensures that your visitors have as seamless an experience as possible. In order to stay on your site for longer, they should find it easy to navigate and find things they want to read, quickly and efficiently.
The same goes for any forms you may have on your site. Make sure that are viewable, accessible and easy to fill out.
12. Curate Fresh & High-Quality Content
It goes without saying that your audience is always on the lookout, for fresh new solutions to their problems. It is then, highly advisable to keep your site up-to-date with high-quality content that your audience finds most useful.
13. Use Clear call to Actions
The call to actions on your site should be relevant to the content you provide. Try adding call to actions in different places and even test multiple call to actions to see which ones have a higher conversion rate.
Track all your call to actions in Analytics to see the performance and definitely, you can check these 31 call to action examples.
14. Avoid unnecessary pop-ups
Pop-ups are good for promoting your services and newsletter subscriptions, and that’s all great, but they should be used in a way that it doesn’t distract the user. It’s better to trigger a pop-up on an exit intent instead of when a user is really focusing on your content.
15. Include Testimonials & Social Proof
When you are selling online services, it’s important that you provide client testimonials and social proof, in order to build trust. This helps in capturing the visitor attention. Display your potential leads, top reviews and anything out of the box you have done.
16. Remove Irrelevant Ads
Make sure your website is not crowded with irrelevant or too many ads. Display ads that are relevant to the content and the visitor.
17. Make the website user-friendly
Your website should be very user-friendly. A visitor should easily navigate across your website for the content he/she is looking for. Add relevant internal links to link content to relevant sections on your site.
In a nutshell, if you are able to employ the above steps, it will help you reduce bounce rate to an optimal level. If you have any other tips and tricks, don’t hesitate to leave your comments below!
Hey I am Hussain Principal Analytics Consultant @ MarketLytics focusing on measurement strategy and analytics implementation. I started marketlytics in 2010 to turn my passion for understanding user behaviour into my day job. I use & extend google analytics, tag manager and kissmetrics everyday to deliver performance measurement & data driven insights.