Bounce Rates and What They Mean For Your Site

November 20, 2020

Kerrie Ashall

When you’re developing your business site, you take into account things like the page layout, headers, text boxes, infographics, call-to-actions, etc. You’ve probably Googled ‘professional website designs’ and had team members read through your site continuously to check for any errors before the site goes live. However, even when it seems on paper that you’ve ticked all the boxes and done everything needed to optimise your site, there can still be problems. One of the main issues with getting your company site off the ground is the conversion rate of site visitors. This can be measured through bounce rates.

What are bounce rates?

According to Google, a ‘bounce’ refers to a ‘single-page session on your site’. This means that, instead of continuing past the first page on your site, visitors ‘bounce’ off your site and back to the SERPs to continue scrolling. Bounce rates refer to just how many visitors are leaving your site after only clicking on one page. They can also happen in instances when visitors stay on a single page for more than 30 minutes with no activity and their session times out, or they simply close the browser. If there is no activity, then there is no conversion.

You can measure your pages’ bounce rates on Google Analytics, which will give you information on how many site visitors you get and how much time they spend on your site.

What is a high bounce rate?

The term ‘high bounce rate’ will mean different things to different site owners, but according to RocketFuel, As a rule of thumb, a bounce rate in the range of 26 to 40 percent is excellent. 41 to 55 percent is roughly average. 56 to 70 percent is higher than average, but may not be cause for alarm depending on the website. Anything over 70 percent is disappointing for everything outside of blogs, news, events, etc.”

Reasons why you have a high bounce rate

So, what is the cause of a high bounce rate? There are several factors that could be affecting your site’s bounce rate, such as:

  • Pages slow to load – No one wants to spend their time waiting for a page to load, and if your site is taking too long, then visitors are even more likely to lose patience and bounce to another site with better speed. Ideally, landing pages shouldn’t take longer than a few seconds to load, and if they do, then you need to vastly improve your site’s speed scores. You can more information on how to increase your site speed here.
  • Low quality content – Search engines will pick up on low quality content based on factors such as the number of ads on a page, grammatical errors, the web design, or if the site has not been updated for a while. All these elements will help search engines decide if a site is trustworthy or not, and it’s the same if a visitor clicks on your site; just by glancing at a page, they’ll quickly be able to tell how reliable your site appears, and if it contains numerous pop-up ads, a gaudy design, and little relevant information, then they’ll soon move on. This is why it pays to hire an SEO agency if you don’t have the time or skills to write content yourself, as they understand the balance between writing for users and writing for search engines. Doing a quick fix by yourself will only make your site look more inferior.
  • No clear call-to-action – You can’t expect to convert visitors into leads if there is no clear call-to-action for them to follow. If you want your visitors to be able to submit their information, then make sure that any call-to-action buttons are easy to locate.
  • Site isn’t mobile-friendly – Another vital thing that needs checking before you launch your site is whether it is mobile-friendly, i.e., it loads well on a mobile device. Considering that statistics show that mobile devices account for approximately half of web traffic worldwide, it will cost site owners more in the long run not to augment their sites.
  • Technical errors – One of the reasons your page may have an exceptionally high bounce rate is because it is experiencing technical issues resulting in a 404. A 404 error is the most common technical fault to pop up, and it appears when a visitor is trying to access a page that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s worth performing a site audit to check if your site has issues related to 404s, as these can be caused via broken links or incorrect URLs. 

Turning bounce rates into conversions

In order to reduce your bounce rate, you need to turn those bounces into conversions. As mentioned before, one of the main areas to focus on is your site’s content; after all, content is the main reason a visitor lands on your site to begin with. It’s important to remember that visitors are searching for answers to their queries, so if you can tailor your content to not only answer their questions but also provide invaluable information that benefits them in the long run, then you are more likely to get a conversion. Not only to visitors want reliable sites with useful content, but they want sites that understand them. Knowing your site’s target demographic will make it easier for you to develop content that is specifically personalised to their needs. This will ensure you get happy – and more importantly – returning customers.

Some quick tips for enhancing your site’s content include:

  • Regularly updating your content
  • Checking your content matches up with your objectives
  • Remembering to do keyword research
  • Making sure your content is relevant and offers value
  • Citing sources for data and research
  • Identifying which topics are trending

You can learn more about the importance of writing good content here.

Final thoughts

Having a high bounce rate doesn’t mean that you automatically have to go into panic mode, but if you find that you have at least one page that is generating many bounces and little to no conversions, then you do have a problem.  Ensuring that your visitors get the best user experience possible is a must, and you can do this by making improvements to your site’s speed, layout and – very importantly – content. You want your site to have the answers your visitors are searching for, and you want it to be easy for them to find. Take into account some of the points above, and you’ll be able to give your conversion rate a boost.

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