Web design vs SEO part 3 – improving your website bounce rate
Website bounce rate is a key performance indicator (KPI). If you use Google Analytics it’s one of the main headline stats that you can view in the Audience > Overview.
We view Bounce rate as a key indicator of the quality of the content of a web page – a high bounce rate means users are voting with their feet and leaving your website pages almost immediately without exploring further. A low bounce rate means that people are viewing the page contents and engaging with what you have to offer.
This is good for your business as the longer users stay, the more likely they are to do something desirable on your page:
- buy something,
- share on social media,
- bookmark your page,
- visit another page on your website,
As well as being good for business, it is an important ranking factor that helps search engines Google and Bing decide where to place a website in search engine results pages (SERPS).
What is Bounce Rate and why it’s important
Google define Bounce Rate as follows:
The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page. A bounced session has a duration of 0 seconds.
Google likes this KPI a lot, as it is easy for them to measure and they see it a quick indicator of content quality. It also shows the closeness of match between user intent and the page they are viewing without having to conduct expensive surveys or other ways a measuring opinions.
If someone leaves a web page almost immediately Google’s conclusion is that they have not had a good user experience and the page did not meet their needs.
In general, the lower the bounce rate the better.
There are exceptions and ranges but if you can lower your bounce rate you increase the likelihood a positive outcome from your page. Also Google ranks these low bounce rate pages higher in SERPS as one of the 200 ranking factors.
How you can improve bounce rate
The 3% bounce rate shown in our screen grab is exceptional. Most sites should be happy with a bounce rate of between 40 to 70%, be satisfied with 70 to 85%, but start getting worried if it climbs any higher than that.
It is possible to improve bounce rate. Here are some of our favourite ideas ideas from various experts in the field of SEO and digital marketing:
- Improve your content’s readability
One reason that your target customers might leave your site is a lack of readability. User experience begins when your content is readable and legible. Specifically, large chunks of text scare readers away, so avoid them.
When reading from a screen, people tend to scan read until they find something of interest so you need to break up the text so it is easier to read on screen:
- Use subheadings to throw more light on your topic.
- Use bullet points to explain benefits or points worth noting.
- Use plenty of charts, images, screenshots and quotes from industry experts, where appropriate.
- Bold keywords a few times but don’t overdo this.
- Ask a lot of questions in your content, to give readers an invitation to participate, instead of just read.
- End your content with a subheading entitled “conclusion.” This tells the reader to quickly read the last few words and take action. Make your conclusion actionable.
- Avoid popups
Most people still hate popups but marketers love them. It’s an intensely debated topic but you should consider limiting or totally avoiding popups. Or, at a minimum, make them as unobtrusive and un-annoying as possible.
- Create a compelling Call-to-Action
A call to action encourages the website user to do something other than read your page such as clicking on an Add to Cart button, Enquiry button, Social share or bookmark etc.
If you can create a compelling Call to Action then this will help keep on your page. You could give away something for free, a special offer or some other enticing benefit.
- Improve your page quality measures such as page speed and responsiveness
No one likes to sit through a page that takes too long to download so optimise your page and web server for download speed. If you use WordPress then the best Caching plugins make a big difference to display speed.
Also, we still see websites that aren’t mobile ready. Even though you might have a B2B website where desktop use is higher, mobile responsiveness is important. Professionals will often use multiple devices to view the same content even for work purposes.
- Write credible, well researched content
People are more used to treating website contents cynically. In an era when the leader of the free world labels reputable news organisations as ‘Fake News’ it is important to be able to cite references or other credible websites that support the truth of what you are saying:
- Where appropriate cite references to backup your content.
- Use good grammar and spelling.
- Use good design and good quality images that add value to the content.
- Be contactable – don’t hide contact details.
- Check the bounce rate of traffic from different channels
We noticed the bounce rate increasing for one particular page on this site. When we investigated our analytics it revealed that the page was getting lots of spam visits from one particular low quality website.
Once we excluded that site we got a much more accurate idea of the bounce rate for that page.
You can check the bounce rate of traffic resulting from different channels, referring sites and social media. If one is particularly high you can examine the marketing and messaging for that particular channel. Here are the locations in Google Analytics of bounce rate data for different channels.
- The Audience Overview report provides the overall bounce rate for your site.
- The Channels report provides the bounce rate for each channel grouping.
- The All Traffic report provides the bounce rate for each source/medium pair.
- The All Pages report provides the bounce rate for individual pages.
Like any SEO and web design, small changes can make big differences. View your content critically, analyse your website data and be prepared to make changes as it will affect KPIs and rankings.
Please get in touch if you need any help with web design, web hosting and domains on 01788 844014 or visit our contact page. See our earlier blog article Web design vs SEO – does web design affect ranking?