Bounce rate is a mysterious metric in any online marketing or digital campaign. In fact, even the most seasoned webmasters are puzzled when it comes to analyzing, measuring and assessing this common concern. In a nutshell, bounce rates are monitored to provide insight on user experiences at websites. According to Google Analytics, bounce rate is defined as:
“The percentage of single-page visits (i.e., visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page).”
With this in mind, it’s only natural to assume that a high bounce rate is bad. After all, the key to success for any site is to keep visitors on its pages longer. This helps increase web traffic while securing leads and higher conversion rates. However, if a visitor “bounces” from a page, this usually means he or she left the site after only viewing one page. At the same time, a higher bounce rate can also reflect positive user experiences.
How is a High Bounce Rate Good?
With the digital age in full swing, people want information fast and on the go. In fact, long gone are the days of lengthy text that kept visitors on pages for ages. Today, websites must have content that is precise, concise and easy to scan. Similarly, their content must be industry-specific with relevant information that answers questions or concerns. So how does this correlate with positive user experiences and high bounce rates? It’s simple.
Suppose a user is searching for a recipe for egg rolls and clicks on a search result. Chances are he or she will link back to a site that offers this valuable information. The latter may include ingredients, along with the preparation time for cooking scrumptious and delicious egg rolls. If the user sees the ingredients they need and “bounce” off the site – that is still considered a good user experience.
How is a High Bounce Rate Bad?
Suppose the same user came to a site thinking he or she was going to see a recipe for egg rolls, but only saw recipes for lasagna? Chances are he or she would “bounce” off the site rendering it a poor user experience. The visitor was misled with false information or links and did not find the content he or she needed. If the volume of visitors with the same links is high – this can result in dwindling page rankings and even permanent expulsion from Google for inaccurate content.
With this in mind, here are five crucial steps to prevent negative bounce rates from occurring.
1. Page Loading Times
As mentioned earlier, people want to access and digest information in an expedited manner. When users have to wait more than three seconds for a page to load, chances are they will leave and go elsewhere. Remember, the content on the page makes no difference if a visitor cannot see it immediately. With this in mind, pay close attention to your page loading times, and optimizing your pages to correlate with mobile platforms.
The last thing you need is a user bouncing due to frustration over slow load times.
2. Make Your Site Search Easy
Site search functionality is as important as social and mobile media integration. Sadly, many websites still neglect or ignore this crucial and helpful feature. Remember, your sites must be designed to connect visitors the products, services or information they seek. With site search tools, they are able to pinpoint and find exactly what they are looking for. This saves time, and prevents them from searching your pages – or even leaving your site entirely.
3. User-Friendly Navigation
Site navigation is nothing new, but should still be easy and effortless for visitors. When users arrive at your site, they need clear directions on where the content and information is situated. With this in mind, any site and its pages must be easy to navigate and browse. Having a simple, yet modern and trendy website design is the perfect way to connect visitors and prevent high bounce rates.
4. Mobile Optimization
As part of Google’s recent updates and changes to algorithms, all sites must now be optimized for mobile access. While relevant and high-quality content is important, it’s equally as crucial to have responsive web design for your mobile sites. This automatically reshuffles content when accessed by wireless, remote and digital devices.
With mobile users having less patience than desktop users, it’s essential to optimize for mobile to ensure solid user experiences.
5. Shorter Paragraphs for Readability
The way you present your content is just as important as the content itself. With this in mind, use shorter paragraphs for better readability and digestible content. Make sure you have strategic keywords in place, along with social, inbound or outbound links as well.
With shorter paragraphs, your visitors will find the content they need rapidly. Similarly, this too can prevent high bounce rates, while propelling your site and brand as a professional entity and resource.
These are some of the techniques you can deploy to stop high bounce rates. If you want to remain – or become – a competitively viable, don’t lose valuable visitors to your sites.