How To Reduce Bounce Rate To Improve Traffic And Rankings

How To Reduce Bounce Rate To Improve Traffic And Rankings

Have you been ignoring bounce rate?!

Yes, bounce rate is NOT a ranking factor.

But, it informs about traffic and rankings.

In fact, a variety of ranking factors such as CTR and dwell time get affected by a high bounce rate.

This post will answer three major questions related to bounce rate:

  • What does bounce rate mean in Google analytics?
  • How does bounce rate affect SEO? And,
  • How to reduce bounce rate?

So, let’s begin with the first question.

What does bounce rate mean in Google analytics?

This is how Google defines bounce rate:

bounce rate definition

The official definition clears out that Google analytics bounce rate is a percentage of all single-page sessions. All traffic that visits a single page and leaves without entering any other web page is your bounce rate.

For example-

Let’s say, I enter your blog post, read it for 10 minutes and get out, your analytics will calculate ZERO seconds for that whole session.

There are various other conditions that come under bounced visits:

  • If a visitor closes the tab or window of the browser.
  • If a visitor uses the “Go back” button to reach the SERP again.
  • If a visitor uses browser bar to manually search for another website.
  • If a visitor uses any external link to leave your web page.
  • If the session time crosses the limit of 30 minutes.

In a nutshell, all kinds of single-page visits come under the bounce rate percentage.

How does bounce rate affect SEO?

Though bounce rate and SEO are not very close friends, they know each other through various ranking factors.

RankBrain is one of the top 3 ranking factors for Google search engine. Monitoring the dwell time is one of many jobs that RankBrain fulfills.

So, if most visitors hit the back button to bounce back, your webpage can lose traffic and rankings as well.

For many sites, a high bounce rate resembles the case of losing traffic. And that impacts traffic quality and quantity on a daily basis.

Along with that, high bounce rate can also be the result of weak SEO conditions of your site-

  • Slow page load speed
  • Low-quality content
  • Wrong keyword selections
  • No mobile optimization
  • Bad site navigation
  • Useless internal linking

So, losing traffic due to increased bounce rate says that you need to work on your site immediately.

Let’s discuss how to reduce bounce rate to increase traffic and boost rankings-

How to decrease bounce rate? (Get your rankings and traffic back)

1. Keep your bounce rate benchmarks realistic

You want to reduce bounce rate, but it is viable to know a realistic benchmark for different web page types.

You can’t expect a blog to have a 20% bounce rate. Most of the times the visitors read one blog and leave the site. Similarly, the average bounce rates change according to the type of web pages.

Here is a list of realistic benchmarks for different web page types:

bounce rate benchmarks

2. Target RIGHT traffic instead of high traffic

A high traffic doesn’t do much if they all go back without spending time navigating your site. Hence, you should target right traffic to gain visitors who would like to stay.

You have to closely judge keywords and see if they align with your site content or not. Every query hides a user intent, which explains what users want to know through that query. The knowledge of user intent can help you reduce bounce rate with correct keyword selections. 

A query can have an informational, navigational or transactional intention.

user intent of queries

So, from now on, focus on three factors when picking keywords:

  • User intent of a keyword
  • Your business or site goals
  • Search volume and competition

The first two factors will ensure the quality of visitors on your site. And the last factor will give you an idea of traffic quantity you can obtain from a keyword. I have an in-depth post explaining user intent in keyword and content strategy.

3. Follow a wide content strategy to satisfy different visitor personas

Every site is a business online. Blogs, online stores, or services, every site tries to sell a product, service or an idea.

With this clarity, you can start thinking as a content strategist. Define your target market and segment them into different types. User intent becomes a great help in this process as well.

You can learn different intentions of your market via three sets of analysis:

  • Keyword trend analysis
  • SERP analysis
  • Competitors’ content analysis

These evaluations will help you know the answers to some important questions:

1. What do people want to know or buy?

2. Why do people want to know or buy something?

3. And, how those people want to know or buy?

Hence, you will know what potential visitors want from you. Use that to prepare a content strategy for all types of user intentions. This way, you will accumulate a broad traffic that is relevant to your business.

A wide content strategy is how to reduce bounce rate without losing any market segment. You get quality traffic in high volume due to purpose-oriented landing pages.

Every landing page can target a specific high-volume traffic to engage more visitors from different directions. However, it all comes down to the navigation ease you offer on your home page. Make all your landing pages easily accessible to the visitors. This will surely reduce bounce rate on your site.

4. Make exciting meta descriptions with genuine information

Bad meta description impacts your CTR. But a misguided meta description can easily increase bounce rate of your web pages.

You know meta description, right?! The description that comes with the title and URL in a SERP result.

meta description example

There are some meta description best practices you should follow:

  • Write a unique description for every web page.
  • Use target keyword to make it look relevant.
  • Choose crisp sentences to explain your web page.
  • Try to promote and generate excitement.
  • Ask to enter the web page link.

However, there is a fine line of everything that you do when writing meta descriptions.

Too many keywords, heightened values and wrong information to generate curiosity won’t help your web pages.

If a visitor doesn’t find the promised information on a web page, all those visits will turn into bounced sessions. So, you have to be genuine when promoting through meta description.

If you haven’t been focused in meta description, make sure you do now to reduce bounce rate.

Further reading:

5. Develop an engaging writing style for high readability

Even an in-depth content means nothing to a reader if the text presentation is lousy. This is the harsh reality of the digital content consumption.

Bloggers suffer high bounce rate due to bad content presentation. Even business blogs and publishing sites feel the pressure of bounced visits.

All this can go away if high readability becomes a preference in writing style.

No matter how technical or creative your content is, you have to present it in a pleasing way.

Here is how I ensure that no content of mine looks like a vast chunk of words:

content writing example

You can also improve content readability and reduce bounce rate by:

  • Logical and engaging subheadings
  • Benefit-focused bullet points for quick reads
  • Bolded phrases to highlight your messages
  • Small paragraphs with 2-3 lines only
  • Meaningful images with engaging information

You can enter your web page URL at Read-Able to check the readability.

Further reading:

6. Keep updating outdated content

Do you have content that is useful, makes sense to readers, and evokes emotions?! That type of content thrives in the digital world.

Consistent quality content creation allows visitors regularly on your site. But every content piece gets old and outdated.

Sometimes, the data or information stays useful for a limited time period only. Or, a new trend comes in the market to make your content outdated.

Visitors who come in search of a useful content piece end up feeling betrayed due to an outdated piece. This situation can also result in high bounce rate.

If you have a blog or a content publishing platform, keeping content fresh is a necessity to reduce bounce rate. It is your job to update old content pieces with new information and help your visitors. 

7. Enhance user experience with mobile friendly design

You don’t need an expert to tell you that mobile searches have become mainstream. The online world has started shifting to mobile.

Google is ready with mobile-first indexing and mobile consumers are giving maximum conversion rates.

But, are you really taking mobile-responsiveness seriously?! If not, then, the coming years can be difficult in terms of traffic and rankings.

Your site design should provide ease of navigation and impressive layouts for mobile users.

The first few steps towards mobile-friendliness are easy:

1. You can visit Google Mobile-friendly test tool and enter your site URL to test.

2. Evaluate the obtained results and modify accordingly.

This is a simple test that explains whether your site design and content presentation is mobile-friendly or not. That will help you know how to decrease bounce rate on mobile devices.

8. Improve page speed to reduce bounce rate

The release of Google Speed Update is the most recent change in mobile search rankings. This update is targeting the slowest sites that are harming the user experience on mobile devices.

But even before this update, slow web page speed was resulting in high bounce rates. A visitor gets discouraged if your web page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Here is how to increase page speed and decrease bounce rate:

  • Get a reliable server with quick response time
  • Avoid auto-loading multimedia
  • Limit the use of HTML in your content
  • Ensure that your site has no rendering-block JavaScript
  • Optimize images for speed and SEO performance

You can visit Google’s chrome user experience report to know more about page speed.  

9. Manage external and internal links

Let’s talk external links first-

External links are the links on your web page that direct to some other site. These links help in presenting facts, data and information from other resources available on the internet. Plus, you get to link to products and services relevant to your own web page.

Some site owners let such links open on the same tab/window. So, a visitor goes to another site and the session becomes bounced. In fact, you lose that visitor if the information on the other site is more engaging.

Hence, it is important that you set external links to open in a new tab or window.

Now, about managing internal links-

Internal links are the ones that direct visitors to another page on your site. Hence, you can set these links to open in the same tab or window.

However, internal links can become your answer to the question of how to decrease bounce rate.

You can use internal links on your landing pages, blogs, and other web pages to simplify navigation.

Here is how you can utilize internal links to lower bounce rate:

  • Create a systematic path of web pages through internal linking.
  • Give internal links that are relevant to your webpage.
  • Use a descriptive sentence or a clear icon to link your web pages.

For example-

If a user enters your “service description page”, it is possible that he/she would look for a “contact page”. So, you can smartly put an internal link at the bottom of service description and take the visitor to the contact page.

10. Present every page with a clear CTA

A searcher looks at your webpage link in a SERP. He clicks and reaches your page to consume the information you have available there. But what next?!

What do you expect from your visitor?!

This question is important for every web page you create. Each page should include a clear CTA.

Call-to-action is your tool to let users know what you want them to do. Every page on your site should have an end task included.

You can:

  • Ask for email subscriptions
  • Ask them to share your content on social media
  • Ask them to buy your product.
  • Ask them to comment on your blog.

Choose a relevant task that makes sense at the end of your web page. This way, users will have another web page to visit on your site. Hence, your bounce rate will decrease.

Lower your bounce rate right now!

I have given you my answer to the question- “How to increase traffic by reducing bounce rate”.

Hopefully, this will help you reach a suitable bounce rate benchmark.

What tricks do you leverage to keep the bounce rate under control on your site?

Comment right here!