What is Bounce Rate and How to Interpret and Work with It?
Every day we search for tens of thousands of different things on Google. We look through pages after pages of different websites. We land on one and we click through another and we leave yet another page on a site. Google calculates each and every move of ours and brings useful analysis of our behaviour. When we click on one page but take no further action and simply leave the page, Google calculates this as a bounce.
This analysis provides useful information about the traffic behaviours and engagement with our websites and the different pages of our content.
By the end of the article, we would know the following:
- What is Bounce Rate?
- How does Google interpret Bounce Rate?
- What is an ideal Bounce Rate?
- Difference between Bounce Rate and Exit Rate.
- How to improve Bounce Rate?
Let’s delve deeper into it and unravel a few important pieces of information.
What is Bounce Rate?
As per Google, the percentage of people leaving our page without taking any action is what defines as Bounce Rate. These could be non-clicks on any links, or non-addition of goods to the cart and make the final purchase, or no-hit on the subscriber’s button, or no-further query or maybe no-fill of survey forms.
All these eventually boils down to one or few results for our business, i.e., low or no conversion and fewer business profits. Therefore, bounce rate is one of the important analyses, we must consider if we want to grow our business.
How does Google interpret Bounce Rate?
According to Google, Bounce Rate can be defined as below:
“Bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who lands on a site but leaves, rather than continuing to view other pages within the same site.”
It simply means that if Google analytics is in place on every page of our website, it calculates what percentage of people leave after viewing one page, and does not continue on the website. One session gets triggered when one searcher land on a page. So, if the visitor immediately closes the page and goes back to other search results, then the session expires. This expired session adds to the percentage of Bounce Rate analytics.
What is an ideal Bounce Rate?
Data from different surveys state that anything below 40% can be termed as a good Bounce Rate. We must always strive to maintain it below 40%, but that depends on the business category we fall into. So, we must compare for the relevant category to check how do we perform on this matrix.
It can clearly be seen that for eCommerce websites, the Bounce rate hovers between (20-45)%, whereas, for blog portals, it runs as high as 90%. Moreover, it’s also industry-specific.
We can further research the ideal bounce rate based on various channels. Even use of our sites on various device platforms too can add up to the decision-making process of bounce rate calculations.
Difference between Bounce Rate and Exit Rate
Both these matrices are similar with a slight difference in them. To understand it more precisely, let’s take a look at the below picture from Backlinko.com.
This clearly defines the basic difference between the two. If one visitor lands on a page and leaves the session without going through any links further, then it is a “BOUNCE”.
Whereas, if he lands on a page and clicks to another page within the same site, and then exits, that is called “EXIT” for the 2nd page. This is because, although he started the session but he didn’t land on the 2nd page to start with, but came to it through the 1st page. As he found the 2nd page through the 1st, hence, it’s not a bounce for the 1st page and as he didn’t start from the 2nd page, so it’s not a bounce for the 2nd either.
High Bounce Rate and Exit Rate can be attributed to the following reasons:
- Page Content Not relevant to what the searcher is looking for.
- Slow-loading pages that take too much time to load and visitor loses patience.
- Difficult to navigate through the various pages of the website that are not user-friendly.
- Information adequately displayed and satisfies the visitor and requires no further action.
If it’s too high as per the parameters discussed above, then it’s time to fix those attributes as only then we can ensure higher conversion.
How to improve Bounce Rate?
In order to improve the Bounce Rate, there are no easy steps. Moreover, simple fixes won’t necessarily rectify the problem as well. The more suitable approach will be to increase site engagement and further conversion. The following actions can be useful:
- Be Relevant
- Use user-friendly interface
- Improved content
- Improved Device Usability
- Moderate pop-ups and ads on the site
- Fast Site-loading
- Use appropriate videos
- Internal linking of other pages
- Great Design
- Use Experience Matters
1. Be Relevant
When a searcher land on our site, we must always try to provide the right solution to his search intent, if not then he is bound to bounce. Therefore, it’s crucial for us to understand various search-intent and design our website accordingly to become most relevant. For example, if one user is searching for the best blenders and the page talks about our history, then he will definitely leave the page as we are unable to answer his queries.
2. Use a user-friendly interface
We must always keep in mind that not only we have to be relevant to visitor’s search intent, but also have to have a user-friendly interface. No one likes to browse difficult to navigate pages and wander around searching for a query.
3. Improve content
The next important attribute to be fixed is to have precise and well-defined content for the users. An elaborately defined content can give clarity to the user and help him understand the product in the best possible manner. So, your website content is important not only for SEO ranking but also to reduce the bounce rate.
4. Improved Device Usability
In this modern era, we must design our website in such a way as it can work flawlessly across all devices and platforms. We must optimize our content to suit this requirement and in turn, become highly useful.
5. Moderate pop-ups and ads on the site
It is very annoying to keep getting pop-ups and ads in the middle of a video we are watching or a blog post or an important piece of information that we are reading. Most of the users will immediately bounce back if they come across such hindrances while searching for a query, and this has to be kept in mind almost always while creating a page on a website. If giving up on them completely is not possible, then at least we must moderate them so that they don’t hinder some specific actions of the user.
6. Fast Site-loading
This one is of utmost importance in this fast-changing world. People don’t have time. We must optimize our site in such a manner that it loads super-fast and easy. If it’s not fast, we may miss on valuable conversions even if we complete all relevancies. Site speed is also an important part of on-page search engine optimization.
7. Use appropriate videos
YouTube has become one of the famous platforms for all relevant search-intents. Data shows that if we have videos on our site, bounce rate reduces significantly and engagement improves manifolds. We don’t necessarily have to create our own videos all the time but adding any videos that define our business can also add to higher conversions and lesser bounce rate.
8. Internal linking of other pages
We know that backlinks improve SEO. But it also improves the bounce rate for our site. Providing internal links to other pages of our site may tempt the user to click on the link and take him to other pages of our website. This will automatically reduce the bounce rate of the 1st page and also can encourage more conversion.
9. Great Design
Again, this is crucial to the success of any website. A website has all great content, satisfies search intent, loads quickly, and provides fitting information, but if it doesn’t look good, then chances are the user will leave the site. So, we must focus on designing our website in such a way, that can attract more traffic and reduce bounce.
10. User Experience Matters
All the previous points refer to one or other kinds of user experiences. To get more appropriate data, we can use user behaviour analysis tools like Hotjar and Smartlook.
Hotjar uses a method that puts the various users into different segments similar to what Google does. This helps in finding things like “items in carts but didn’t make final purchase” or “no-subscriptions expired sessions”.
Another method could be the use of Heat-Maps. They are a great tool to help us zero on certain user behaviours like which information is getting more clicks and which part is less clicked or ignored altogether. There are many heat-map tools available which we can use as per our needs.
Bounce rate is one of the important metrics that measure the success of our marketing efforts. It can help us understand how are we living up to the expectations of our page visitors. This data point will lead us to the pages that need the most attention. But we must not get obsessed with this analytical tool. If we focus our approach on improved user experience, this will surely improve the bounce rate as well. Implementing the analytics as part of an optimization process will create a great website. And we all know that an amazing website is all it takes to rank the best on Google.