High Website Bounce Rate

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Why Does Your Website Have A High Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is a commonly talked about term and you may have heard about the metric from your local SEO consultant or seen it on your Google Analytics dashboard.

So, what exactly is a bounce? And are bounces bad?

Google defines a “bounce” as any web browsing session where a site visitor views a single page of your website without engaging further.

A bounce rate will then be the percentage of site visitors over a defined period that leave your site after viewing a single page.

For example, if you received 10,000 visitors to the homepage of your Downriver real estate company website in March 2021, and 5,000 of those visitors left your site without proceeding to other pages. Your bounce rate for March would be 50%.

Tracking your bounce rate is important for a host of reasons and we’ll cover those reasons in the body of the article below. We will also explain the implications of a high bounce rate, the reasons your site can have a high bounce rate, and how you can reduce your bounce rate.

Why Is Tracking Your Bounce Rate Important?

Understanding bounce rate and tracking your site’s bounce rate is important for the following reasons:
It Lets You Know If Visitors Are Having Issues With Your Website

A high bounce rate may be a signal that visitors find your web page confusing or irrelevant. Visitors that are turned off by irrelevant content, site design, or user experience will bounce as soon as they visit a website.

It Influences Your SEO Rankings

Google wants to provide value to searchers and it also wants to ensure they get the best possible experience on the web. A study showed that sites with low bounce rates rank the highest in search results. If visitors are bouncing back within a few seconds of landing on your webpage, Google will see it as a negative mark on your site.

It helps You Track The Success Of Your Conversion Optimization Efforts

If searchers visit your landing pages, stay on your site and proceed through the pages in the sales funnel - your leads conversion campaign will be a success. Alternatively, if the majority of visitors bounce from your landing page and don't convert, you will know you need to take measures to optimize your landing pages

What Is The Ideal Bounce Rate?

A high bounce rate means the majority of visitors are leaving your site after viewing a single page. So, is a high bounce rate bad? If yes, is that always the case?

GoRocketFuel conducted a study of a diverse range of websites to calculate the average bounce rate of sites and to determine what constitutes an excellent bounce rate. Below are the conclusions of the study:

  • The average bounce rate of websites is between 41% to 51%
  • A bounce rate between 26% to 40% is excellent
  • A bounce rate between 56% to 70% is high but may not be dangerous depending on the type of website
  • A bounce rate above 70% is very bad for the vast majority of sites except for single-page sites, blogs, and news sites.
A study on bounce rate

If your bounce rate is between 56% to 70%, it most likely means visitors are not happy with what they see on your web pages. It means visitors are checking out after spending a few seconds on your site.

This is bad for your efforts to attract new customers and harmful to your SEO rankings. You need to take steps to reduce your bounce rate and we’ll highlight measures you can take later in the article.

However, a high bounce rate is not always a bad thing.

Like we mentioned earlier, if you have a single-page site, visitors don’t really have anywhere else to go.

It is also possible that you have CTA landing pages – for example, pages promoting affiliate products – that get visitors to bounce to another website to take action. In that case, a high bounce rate is inevitable, and you are good to go.

In a nutshell, if a high bounce rate is caused by visitor dissatisfaction with the content of your web pages, you need to take measures to rectify the issues that are turning off visitors from your site.

However, if a high bounce rate is due to the nature of your website or the purpose of your web page, you are good to go.

How To Check Your Website’s Bounce Rate

Adding Google Analytics to your site will let you track many important metrics about the performance of your website including bounce rates.

To check your bounce rate on Google Analytics, follow the steps below:

  • On your dashboard, go to the left-side menu
  • Click AudienceOverview to see the bounce rate of your entire website
  • Click BehaviorSite ContentLanding Pages to see the bounce rate of each web page
  • Click AudienceMobileOverview to see the bounce rate of visitors by the type of device they are using to view your website.
A bounce rate chart on Google Analytics
Check out the bounce rate of each of your web pages and look at the average time visitors are spending on each page. The insights you gain from this data will help you identify the pages that are turning off visitors and put you on the right path towards fixing your bounce rate problem.

here's 11 Reasons Why Your Site Has A High Bounce Rate

Before we explain the steps you need to take to fix a high bounce rate, you need to understand the reasons why visitors may bounce from your website.

1. It Is Not Optimized For Mobile

48% of people who access the internet every day do so using their mobile devices. Not making your website mobile-friendly is a sure way to turn off visitors and increase your bounce rate.

A website that is not optimized for mobile looks bad on mobile devices, loads slowly, and is not easy to navigate.

Any decent web developer and most business owners are already aware of the importance of having a mobile-friendly website and yet many non-responsive business websites are still found on the web.

It’s also possible that you created your website with a cheap or free “responsive” WordPress theme that is poorly coded and doesn’t read mobile-friendly to a web visitor.

Some of these developers squeeze an existing desktop layout to a mobile format causing the theme to display awkwardly on the web.
When visitors see web pages like this, they check out immediately.

To see if your pages are mobile-friendly, test your site with Google’s free mobile-responsiveness testing tool.

2. Slow Loading Pages

You can have a well-designed website with lots of cool animations and great content – and still turn off visitors.

Visitors won’t hang around to see your cool animations and excellent copywriting if your web page takes ages to load.

Research shows that 47% of site visitors expect a web page to take 2 seconds or less to load. Another study by Google showed that slow-loading pages led to high bounce rates.

In the digital age, people want information fast and they are super impatient. If your web pages are taking too much time to load, they will leave.

Page loading speed is also a crucial factor in how Google ranks your website. Google knows its users want facts fast and that’s a big reason why it introduced Featured Snippets.

There are a few factors that can slow down your site including:

  • Cheap web hosting
  • Too many plugins
  • Lots of animations and fancy sliders
  • Oversized images that haven’t been compressed
  • Too many videos and images that load at the same time

All the factors above can individually or collectively slow down your website. To check if your page speed is low, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

A screenshot of Google PageSpeed Insights
The tool will analyze your site and give you a speed score based on how fast your web page loads for the users of Google Chrome. You will also get recommendations on how to boost your page speed.

3. Misleading Page Title / Meta Description

This happens when the content of your web page is completely different from the promise of your page title or the overview provided in your meta description.

Let’s say a searcher is looking to compare the best plumbers in Taylor, MI, and clicks the link to a page titled “top 10 best plumbers in Taylor, MI”.

The searcher views the page and finds the landing page of your plumbing company website. The visitor will bounce right back and will likely develop a distrust for your brand from that day onwards.

Review your web pages and rewrite your title tags and meta description if they are misleading.

4. Poor Site Navigation

Poor site navigation is when your navigation-menu is overly complicated and visitors have to adapt to complex animated drop-down menus that don’t give visitors the information they need as soon as possible.

The problem could also be poorly designed websites with navigational errors and inactive menu buttons.

Visitors will leave your site in a heartbeat if you force them to work hard to get the information they need.

Your site navigation should be positioned in an optimal position where site visitors can find it, and it should be well-designed to ensure visitors can move seamlessly from one part of your site to another.

5. Bad Site Design

Visitors will judge your brand based on the impression they get from your site design. A poorly designed website is not a sign of a company that cares about the experience of its customers.

If your website looks like the one in the image below, visitors will bounce from your site as soon as they arrive.

An example of a bad site design

Some of the factors that contribute to bad site design are:

  • Blocks of text written in illegible fonts
  • Large chunks of text with no images and headers to break it into sections for readers to scan
  • Horrendous color schemes
  • Too many ads that offer little value to the reader and overwhelm the useful content on the page
  • Incoherent site layout

6. Low-Quality Content

Your web copy must be free of grammar and spelling mistakes, and it must communicate the information required by the web visitor in the fewest words possible.

If your web pages don’t show visitors the following:

  • You have a firm grasp of their pain points or the desires they want your business to satisfy
  • You have products/services that can solve those problems or satisfy their desires
  • You have outlined the steps they need to take to obtain your products/services in the most intuitive way possible

If your web copy doesn’t fulfill all of the three conditions listed above, you will have a hard time keeping visitors on your site.

7. Intrusive Pop-Ups

They are common these days and they are often annoying. Most web visitors find pop-ups irritating and 73% of web users say they are turned off by irrelevant pop-ups.

A screenshot of an intrusive popup screen

Just look at the image above where the site owner is aggressively asking a new visitor to get his “acclaimed” popup domination secrets or be relegated to a life without subscribers.

This is the first thing a visitor will see upon landing on the website without any knowledge of the competence of the website owner.

Most visitors will find such bullying language frustrating.

Also, imagine visiting the website of a local Woodhaven, MI fitness coach and being told to watch a 30-second video (set to autoplay) before you can access the page to get the information you need. Few visitors will stick around to watch that video.

Popups can work if they are done the right way. A brand that has already established its reputation with customers can get away with putting popups on its web pages when they offer incentives that are too good for customers to ignore.

8. Misleading Referral Link

This can be due to the blackhat practices of a website or it can happen because of a genuine mistake by the author of another website.

Blackhat practices involving unethical link-building practices to help boost the domain authority of your site can lead to a high bounce rate when those visitors discover that your website is irrelevant to their needs.

A misleading backlink can also occur because an author used the wrong part of his content to link to your site or the author intended to link to a different website.

To find misleading inbound links that are causing visitors to bounce from your site, check your backlink profile and identify the harmful backlinks. Reach out to the administrators of those websites and ask them to remove the links.

9. 404 Page or Technical Error

If the bounce rate of a specific page on your site is exceptionally high, the page is likely returning a 404.
An example of a 404 page

A plugin may be malfunctioning or your site’s Javascript broke down, causing visitors to encounter a technical error when trying to complete actions on your website. These blank pages and errors will lead to a high bounce rate.

If you see that a page has an abnormally high bounce rate on Google Analytics, check out the page yourself on your web browser to get a feel of what your site visitors are experiencing.

If you find any technical issues, work with your developer to fix them.

10. Single Page Website

We’ve highlighted this earlier in the article and it is a given that a single-page website will have a very high bounce rate.

All the information they need is on that single landing page and the measure of success will be how much time they spent on that single page.

If heat maps show that visitors spent time scrolling through the page and clicked CTA buttons, a high bounce rate is not a problem.

Google won’t take issues with your site either. Google is happy whenever visitors get all the information they need, even if that information is contained on a single page.

But, if they only spend a few seconds without bothering to see what else is on the page, you need to work on improving your website.

A screenshot of the average session duration by site visitor

You can check the average minutes visitors are spending on your single-page site by looking at the Average Session Duration and Time Spent on Page metrics on Google Analytics.

11. Wrong Website Visitors From Poor Marketing Campaigns

Poorly planned marketing campaigns that seek to reach the largest audience possible instead of targeting the specific niche audience that will buy your product/service will attract lots of unsuitable visitors to your site.

When these visitors land on your page and discover that your offerings are not relevant to their unique needs, they will check out immediately.

The key is to identify the right audience and target them through the right channels with content and promotional materials that will resonate with them.

3 Ways To Reduce Your Bounce Rate

A high bounce rate can be fixed and below are some strategies you can use to ensure visitors will no longer leave your web page as soon as they arrive:

1. Use Heatmaps To Understand User Behavior

The first step to fixing a problem is to identify the source of the problem. Heatmap software helps you visualize what visitors are doing on your site.

With heat indicators, you will see where visitors spend the most time on your web page, what they click on, what actions they take, their scroll map, and areas of your webpage that they avoid.

With this data, you can:

Plot the path that visitors take on your site

This shows you how visitors navigate your web page

See which buttons and links visitors are clicking on your site

This shows you buttons and links that are relevant and the ones that are irrelevant or inactive

Use heat indicators to identify blocks of content with most engagement

This helps you understand what your visitors really care about

Use the changes in the color to identify the actions visitors are unable to complete on your site

See forms that they are unable to complete, and defective plugins that prevent visitors from completing tasks on your site

Track cursor activity to see the page elements that are distracting your visitors

The banners, ads, and pop-ups that visitors are clicking away with the cursor because they find them intrusive.

With this information, you will get a complete picture of the issues on your website and identify the improvements that are needed.

2. Improve Your Site Design

We already mentioned that bad design and large blocks of boring text with no visual breaks will drive visitors away from your site.

To fix your site’s design, work with a good web designer that will help you create a beautiful mobile-responsive website. You should also hire a copywriter to help you craft professional web copy for your site content.

3. Publish More Quality Content

The data from Google Analytics will show you the blog posts with high bounce rates, and heatmaps will show you the parts of the blog post where visitors usually decide to stop reading your content.

Use that information to identify the blog posts that you need to rewrite and the blog posts that need improvements.

Final Thoughts on High Bounce Rates

We hope this article helped your understanding of bounce rates and provided you with the knowledge needed to diagnose the issues that are causing your website’s high bounce rate.

Now it’s up to you to analyze your website and use the recommendations mentioned above to reduce your bounce rate and keep more visitors on your site longer.

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