Bounce rates: What you can learn and how to improve them?

Bounce rates: What you can learn and how to improve them?
July 10, 2016 Ben Shapira

Many of my clients see the term ‘bounce rate’ on their Google analytics dashboard but have no idea what this term means, how it is calculated and how to deal with the issues it represents. This very simple number that often leads to a lot of confusion but many businesses offer little in the means of action to reduce them.

So what are bounce rates?

In a nutshell, your bounce rate refers to traffic on your site that only views the individual page they arrived on before leaving your site. For example, a visitor arrives to your homepage from your SEM ad on Google but performs no additional action (click to another page, complete a form, click on an internal link etc.) before leaving your site; this would count as bounced traffic.

Is a high bounce rate really a bad thing?

Well, that depends… There are several things that can artificially inflate your bounce rate including:

  • Requiring the user to call for more details
  • Having forms on your site that do not redirect to another page once completed
  • Leak traffic through affiliate banner ads
  • Lead customers to third party owned properties like eBay stores, social media accounts or alternate domains

So assuming you do not have any of the issues above which can be resolved through alternative means, what can you do to reduce your bounce rate and deliver a more engaging experience?

  1. Add links in your templates that link to other internal content. Don’t just rely on your primary navigation to do the job. Often times, sidebar links drive the majority of internal page traffic.
  2. Remove popovers or other content that prevents users from immediately engaging with your content. These are annoying and can make your site appear to be spammy.
  3. Add links to related content. If a visitor arrives at a page due to specific keywords from Google, they may be more likely to engage with other content on your site that relates to it. This can include related articles, related products, user reviews etc.
  4. Go beyond basic provide content. If you have an eCommerce site, bland technical content often pushed users away because the user is often not technical. Add some plain English copy into the top of your descriptions to tell the customer what the product is and its main selling points. If they user is then inclined, the technical information can be included below or in a tab.
  5. Improve your content. Copy can be boring. Can you add video that may be more descriptive, show products being used? This type of content is often more sharable and more easily digested by your audience.

It is important when you make changes to measure the results. See how changes are resonating with your audience and adapt your site to the data.

Bounce rates aren’t scary. They aren’t a mystery. What they can tell you about your audience, can help you build a more effective site that retains your audience and delivers more value over time.

So get started by seeing what your analytics and bounce rates are telling you.

Need some help? Of course I am available to show you how to better understand your analytics, help you create strategies to build your business, engage with your audience and create more value. Contact me today to book a consultation.

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