The bounce rate from your website is one of the most talked about, but perhaps the least understood, Google Analytics metric. However, understanding your bounce rate and working on factors that can reduce your bounce rate can greatly improve your conversion rate, and can potentially offer a boost to ranking.

So what is your bounce rate and what does it tell you? Well in simple terms the bounce rate is the number of people who click through to a landing page on your site but then go no further into your website. They simply take a look at the landing page and ‘bounce’ out again. You can view the bounce rate for a particular page, such as a campaign landing page or home page, and for your website as a whole.  People often believe that bounce rate is linked to the amount of time people spend on your page but that is actually a separate metric and does not have an impact on your bounce rate.

Bounce rate is a really important analytical tool as a high bounce rate tells you that something is amiss when visitors come to your site. Most website bounce rates are in the region of 30 to 60%, depending on the types of keywords you are targeting and the types of content that people are consuming. Blog articles often attract a higher bounce rate, as this type of content can rank for a wide variety of keywords, and visitors often arrive, digest the blog article and then go elsewhere. The bounce rate to your Contact Us page may also appear to be high – as people may only be searching for a telephone number, or to send you a contact email. A high bounce rate should therefore be analysed within the context of the type of traffic and the intentions of those people arriving at the website.

However, a high bounce rate may be a sign of problems with your website. Firstly, the quality of visitors coming to your site is low and you are not attracting the kind of online visitors that really fit with your product. Secondly, your site may not be offering the right customers the value that they need, it may not be relevant or helpful enough to them to get them to stay, or enticing enough to encourage them to delve further into your site. Obviously if you have a high bounce rate then reducing it should be a real priority for your business, so here are our top tips for how to reduce your bounce rate.

Ensure that your website is getting high quality web traffic

If the people visiting your website are coming for the wrong reasons then your bounce rate is going to be high as it is a sign that your site is not reaching the target demographic that you want. This is bad for your ranking and bad for your business as if you are not getting the customers who will be attracted to your product or services then your sales will plummet.

So how can you rectify this and encourage high quality traffic to visit your site? Firstly a keyword review can have a big impact. Make sure you are using the right keywords and long-tail keyword phrases that your potential customers will be using. It can be worth using a keyword tool to help support you with this. You will also want to look at your marketing channels and who they are reaching. Ask yourself if you are connecting with the right people on social media and if your marketing materials are correctly targeted. Doing some customer research on how people search for your product or service can also provide you with really useful guidelines as to how people are finding your site.

Create a strong call to action on your landing page

A strong, visible call to action is a great way to encourage customers to go further into your site. Often web pages are just not clear enough and they fail to tell customers what they need to do next. Use buttons, banners and heading text to clearly signpost to your website visitors what you need them to do next i.e.:

 Click here for 50% off bargains

 Click here to find a restaurant in your location

You also need to make your call to actions relevant to your customers and they must match what the customer is expecting to find. So, if you are advertising a sale online, they may be confused if they land on a homepage with no obvious mention of a sale. Try to use campaign-specific landing pages if you are running a marketing campaign as this enables you to create a clear and relevant call to action.

Create customer relevant pages with great content

Great content is always recommended as it can boost your website in a number of ways and this is particularly relevant for reducing your bounce rate. Interesting and relevant content keeps customers engaged with your website and the more they want to read, the more likely they are to stay on your website. Good content encourages customers to visit other areas of your site and you can help signpost them to this by using “if you like this you might like…” buttons which will keep them clicking through to other relevant pages.

You should also aim to make your content easily readable. Long, informative articles can be a fantastic way of attracting traffic, but long paragraphs of content can be daunting and difficult to read. Split your content into small chunks and use the tools for writing for the web successfully: bullet points, sub-headings, split content up with images, write in short paragraphs, make phrases bold, add links to additional information…

Make sure you pages are easy to use and well formatted with a clear user pathway

First impressions count in life and the online world is no different. Research has shown that customers take only 8 seconds to take a decision about whether to stay on a page or leave it so you need to make every second count!

It’s important that your page looks appealing and engaging and it’s just as important that it loads quickly and isn’t hampered by pop up ads that will just annoy customers and cause them to leave your site. Making sure that customers are signposted to where they need to go clearly and accurately can have a really positive impact on reducing your bounce rate too, and a site that is clear and easy to use will encourage customers to keep coming back.

User intent gives us a strong indication of whether a high bounce rate is a problem. If you think your high bounce rate is caused by user dissatisfaction, or the wrong visitor demographic, act fast to protect your ranking and your conversion rate. Google is taking user interaction into account in its ranking more and more, so having dissatisfied visitors can negatively impact on your ranking. Find out more about our conversion rate optimisation service.

When you undertake any keyword analysis for your website it can sometimes appear to be very daunting. You can be faced with a long list of keywords and search terms but might not always be sure of how to use to use them to best effect on your website. We have found that it can be really beneficial to split the keywords that you find into two groups for narrow and broad targeting. Narrow content strategies focusing on very specific terms which are searched for with a clear intent. In contrast, broad content strategies look at how you can employ more expansive search terms that may have a higher volume of searches.

How to analyse your keywords

When you have your keyword list you can assess each keyword to work out which category it falls into. Here are some of the key factors that you could look out for to help you narrow down where each keyword or phrase belongs.

Narrow Search Terms usually focus on a very specific search term. For example a women’s fashion store may have “blue mother of the bride outfits” on their list. This search shows that the user has a clear idea of the specific product or service that they want to purchase.  There tends to be much smaller search volumes for these terms as they are very particular and are not always easy to expand out into other phrases.

Broad Search Terms are far more fluid and there can be a number of reasons why a user may be putting in those terms when looking online. It could be that they are doing some research, looking to purchase or looking for further guidance.  These broad search terms can be easily adapted to other phrases and often have a very high search volume as they are more general. So our example of the fashion store could have “outfits for weddings” as one of their broad search terms.

How to utilise your narrow and broad keyword terms for search engine success

Once you have assessed your list of keywords and search terms you can then use this to your advantage when planning your website. For the broader terms you can make sure that they are used at a higher level in your site plan. As the terms themselves are fairly flexible you can look at the long tail keyword phrases that could work around them. You could also incorporate them into blog posts.

Then, for your narrow keyword terms, you can focus on using them to help customers find very specific products which they don’t want to spend ages searching online for. These narrow terms can be used to split larger pages into more product specific sections so with our example you may use ‘Wedding Outfits’ as your page title, then direct customers to “mother of the bride outfits” and finally allow them to drill down to their chosen product by colour.

What are the benefits of this dividing search terms in this way?

Using this type of targeting has many benefits both for your customers and for your website. Firstly it really helps you to understand the ways that your customers are trying to find your product or service online. This means that you can create your site map to capitalise on the search keywords, using the broader search terms to inform your heading and page titles, and then building on the narrow search terms for more specific product details.

Secondly it helps to provide the user experience that the customer really wants. So for customers who are researching general terms they will want to be given more wide ranging information and guidance to help inform their choice. Likewise customers looking for something very specific and with a clear intent will want to be taken to that product or service quickly and efficiently and including the narrow keyword terms in the right places will ensure that they can do this. We know that Google really values a great customer experience and so this will positively impact on your website’s place in the search rankings too!

Taking the time to analyse your keywords and to work out where to use them on your site really will pay dividends both in terms of happy customers and a great ranking with the search engines.