If you’ve paid attention to your online marketing in the past, you may have heard your marketing team refer to “bounce rate.” In simple terms, a bounce is when a user enters a web page and leaves from that very page without taking any further action. They entered via an ad, a social media site, or some other link, and backed out of your site without clicking to any other page.
Your bounce rate shows you how often this action occurs. Simple, right?
In reality, it’s more complicated than that.
What’s a good bounce rate?
Before you start to evaluate your own bounce rate, you might be wondering: what is a good bounce rate? Great question.
Industry wide, a general rule of thumb says you should aim for a bounce rate of under 40 percent. If yours settles closer to 50 percent, that’s usually okay.
What does that mean? If you have a bounce rate of 40 percent, that tells you that 2 out of 5 visitors leave your site immediately upon arrival. They don’t stay. They don’t click. They don’t engage.
It’s your job to evaluate that and change the numbers.
In theory, if visitors visit a page and leave without clicking to a second page, that would leave your bounce rate at 100 percent. If you got them all to click, that would reduce the rate to zero. Marketers are notorious at figuring out how to adjust the numbers, so of course, the bounce rate gets a little more complicated.
Google also allows you to base interaction around events. They refer to this as “adjusted bounce rate,” which allows you to change the settings for the way the interaction is handled.
Let’s say you set up a landing page with a video. Your only goal is to have people watch the video. If they do, that would be a success.
There are other considerations too. Bounce rates for blog pages – content pages – will be higher than for a product or service page. Google itself says: if you have a single-page site like a blog, or offer other types of content for which single-page sessions are expected, then a high bounce rate is perfectly normal.
Getting to what people really want
The overall reason to pay attention to your bounce rate is to create a website that people enjoy and find valuable. High bounce rates, in general, suggest that the page has one of two problems:
- The visitor didn’t find what they were looking for
- The webpage was too difficult to use
Google cares about visitor expectations. Their goal is to give every searcher exactly what they want. That’s why they refine their algorithms all the time.
That means your job is to consistently give your visitors exactly what they want. Refine your approach all the time.
Create content your visitors will love. Don’t think you have to pull out the bling to get them to stick. Even a few paragraphs of written content can be exactly what they need. This comes down to understanding your customer and creating on target. Attract visitors by being succinct in your message.
Once you have your message crafted on each page, pay attention to your keywords. Are you targeting the right population based on the content? Be specific. Using “golf” as a keyword isn’t correct if what you really want is a “golf vacation ideas on Caribbean islands.”
Sites are meant to be built with lots of pages specifically targeting visitors who have different goals and needs. You can sell one product – and have many different levels of ideal clients. Think everyone buying the latest Subaru is the same? One searcher is looking for a safe vehicle to transport their kids to school. Another wants to load it up with camping equipment for their epic weekend adventure.
Once you have your content created, your keywords and metadata perfectly curated, don’t forget to improve your targeted online advertising campaigns as well. How many times have you clicked on an ad for something specific, only to be taken to a generic home page?
Focus on improvement
Have you ever seen a site that was produced years before, with very few updates along the way? It’s laughable, right?
It’s also doing very poorly at making connections.
Websites aren’t something you can “build and they will come.” You can’t create it and expect it to last for years. You have to enhance the usability of it regularly, paying attention to how technology is changing.
Focus on the way your content looks.
- Is it created in a user friendly manner?
- Is it readable?
- Is there good color contrast?
- Does it use white space appropriately?
- Is the content separated by large headlines?
- Does it use graphics and other support items effectively?
If you haven’t studied good layout design before, be sure you have someone on your team who has. A good designer is always evaluating how to improve interactions and engagement.
It’s not just about the content. The workings of your site matter too.
Do you know how fast every page loads on your site? How fast does it take your media to load?
What about hyperlinks outside of your site? Do links open up in new windows? If they leave your site to visit a link, will they be back?
Also, pay attention to how busy your site is. Do you have ads up and down the sidebars? Do you have pop-ups upon pop-ups vying for a visitor’s attention?
How does it look on a desktop? How does it operate on mobile?
With so much vying for your visitors’ attention, understanding bounce rate can be a complicated thing. Ultimately it comes down to understanding your customer, and giving them what they want.
Have you perfected that process?
If not, let’s talk.