Often we hear about bounce rate and how it affects our bottom line. For those of you NOT aware of bounce rate, here’s a quick definition from Google:
“Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”
A high bounce rate is NOT good for blogging because it shows people simply visit your website and leave without visiting any other page. Over the years, research has shown there are many reasons why a website will have higher than normal bounce rate. For example, slow loading speed, poor web design, poor layout, quality of content and internal linking structure. You can fall victim to any of these reasons which is why it’s important to continuously perform an audit whenever you get a chance. I use Google Analytics to track bounce rate and how people interact with my website. The higher the time on my site the better and I continuously tweak elements on my website to improve bounce rate.
If your a blogger then you have to be aware of the different types of bounce rates. I recently read an in-depth article on what each bounce rate means. They are classified using the following: Hard, Medium and Soft. Statically a bounce rate of 15%-19% is ideal.
Let’s take a quick look at each one a bit closer.
Hard Bounce Rate
The visitors who do a “hard” bounce definitely know they are in the wrong place. Statistics will show they almost immediately arrive and leave within seconds. When using Google Analytics you’ll be able to check average page views, average time spend on website and bounce rate. There are several reasons why a visitor will do a hard bounce starting with quality of website. It’s been said when people visit they know within seconds if they’ll end up staying and this can be contributed to a poorly designed website. Think about how many times you’ve arrived on a website and leave because it doesn’t look like it’ll provide you with the information your looking for. Here’s the irony of the situation…
You can have in-depth content on your site, but people will always judge a book by its cover.
- Redesign website and continue to test different variations checking how it improves your bounce rate
Medium Bounce Rate
A medium bounce rate represents visitors who have arrived on your website and like what they see. The web design looks great and they continue to skim through the home page content. However the content doesn’t provide them with the value their looking for so will leave without visiting any other page. Research has shown people usually visit a page and skim through before reading. They’ll look for call signs which indicate your content might provide the solutions. For example, they’ll look at format, sub-headings, images and videos. While skimming through they’ll even read initial introduction looking for keywords.
With a medium bounce rate visitors know they came to the right website however were NOT able to find the information they are searching for.
- Tweak your content emphasizing on keywords and relevancy. Experience shows an in-depth solution better than others found online increases user engagement.
Soft Bounce Rate
With soft bounces things get a bit tricky because your bounce rate is close to the recommend percentage, but you can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong. Your web design is awesome and content provides the value visitors are looking for, but still it’s above 20%. Research has shown there can be many reasons why soft bounces are still happening. First, advertisements and banners seem to get in the way of user browsing. Secondly, content is great, but foreign people can’t understand it thoroughly. For example, you attract many non-English speaking visitors who read your text, but hope there were images and videos to illustrate the point. Third, your internal linking structure doesn’t provide people with the right additional resource they need. However, since bounce rate is calculated by single page visit, I recommend doing the following before tweaking your site. If your using WordPress install the “Reduce Bounce Rate” plugin. Here’s what it does:
It will tell Google Analytics every 10 seconds that your visitor is still on the page and that there was some interaction on that page. Your page will be “unbounced”.
As mentioned soft bounces are NOT as critical as medium and hard, but you should keep testing to find out the reason your still above the recommended percentage. Start by installing the plugin than testing for 30 days to see how statistics have changed. If the plug-in doesn’t help then improve advertisement layout, internal linking and utilize images/videos.