Getting people to visit your website isn’t so hard. But getting people to stay on your site, well… That’s a whole other matter. However incredible your website and your business offering, chances are you’ll be seeing a bounce rate in the double figures, whether that’s for paid or organic results. Keeping people on your site for longer increases the chances of them converting to customers, or coming back later. So it’s in most site owners best interest to understand why they have a high bounce rate and to work to reduce it.
Reducing your bounce rate is something that all website owners can do, following a few simple steps. Some are more technical than others, but all of them can make a big difference to your performance. To help you understand how to reduce your bounce rate, it helps to understand what bounce rates mean and how they can affect your search listings.
What is a bounce rate?
The bounce rate is a measurement of the percentage of website visitors who only viewed one page, or who didn’t take an additional action such as completing checkout or form filling. If a visitor clicks into your page and clicks back again a few seconds later, that’s a bounce. Bounce rates are an entirely standard feature of any website, although the percentages vary by industry and even campaign. It’s normal for websites to have a bounce rate usually above 20-30%, although the average across the board is nearer 40-50% . Some reference websites, or those with all their info on one page, may even see bounce rates around 70-90%. For paid search or social campaigns, you ideally want your bounce rate as low as you can get it. So, how can you reduce your bounce rate and keep it as low as possible?
Methods to reduce your bounce rate
Although these tips are designed to help minimize bounce rates on websites running paid search or display campaigns, many of them can also work for organic results too.
1. Examine page load speed
A slow loading website is enough to put anyone off. If your page takes more than a couple of seconds to load, you’re going to see that bounce rate increase. According to research by Kissmetrics, 49% of web users expect a site to load in under 10 seconds. Of those, 3% expect a load time of under a second, and 16% will wait a whole three seconds for your page to load before they click back. This research is from 2011, so it’s reasonable to expect that expectations are even more exacting now.
To speed up your load time:
- Make sure your hosting provider is up to the job.
- Keep slow loading features to a minimum, such as embedded video and other spangly features.
- Resize images for optimal load speed.
- If using theme based CMS such as WordPress, Shopify or Wix make sure you pick a fast loading theme.
2. Declutter your layout
Another thing that can be off-putting to site visitors, especially those looking for something specific, is a cluttered and confusing page. Poorly structured navigation bars, images or text that are out of place or with an unclear purpose, or too much text are all factors that can increase your bounce rate. To reduce your chances of people clicking that back button make sure your message is clear and any images are relevant.
3. Make your content easy to read
Got a lot to say about your product? Well, it’s best to keep it simple and easy to skim read. When it comes to reading content online, 79% of site visitors will skim read and only 16% will read your site carefully.
To reduce your site’s bounce rate:
- Use paragraphs with no more than three sentences, ideally only two. Big blocks of text are not easy on the eye and can be off-putting.
- Keep your sentences short, ideally under 20-30 words.
- Use subheadings that clearly outline the content, bullet lists, highlighted sections and infographics or image explainers when relevant.
4. Make sure you’re mobile friendly
Does your site load well on mobile? Well, with around half of all web traffic now mobile, you’ll need to make sure it is. A site that looks good on a nice big monitor can look awful once you have it on a small screen. Buttons can overlap, images can obscure text and text can spill over the edge of the viewable area. Before you commit to any form of paid promotion, make 100% sure that your pages look nice and clean on all mobile operating systems and browsers.
5. Focus landing pages by campaign
Bringing in paid traffic means you want to be extra sure that people will find what they are looking for. If you don’t use landing pages optimised to your ad campaigns then you are at risk of seeing those visitors bounce right off your site. What this means is that if you’re targeting search terms for corporate video production, you want to make sure the first page that visitors see when clicking through is about business video. Your landing page needs to directly and plainly address questions related to that search, highlighting your expertise, and making it easy for visitors to make a decision and, ideally, check out.
6. Use CTAs (call to action)
We might think that splashing ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Buy One Get One Free’ all over our landing pages is tired. But the truth is, a well placed CTA is still incredibly effective.
With a call to action, you’re offering people guidance and getting them to do what you want them to do.
- Sign up now
- Get your free guide
- View our price list
The trick is keeping your CTA simple and with an obvious way to complete the action, such as a button or highlighted link.
7. Your ad copy matters
Whether it’s a paid search result or a display ad or banner, the rule about being clear and easy to read also applies. Include keywords in search result copy and, in your display ads, don’t be afraid to pop that CTA in there too. Display ads will also need very punchy wording and an eye-catching image that sums up your service offering well. This is where A/B testing comes in use to understand exactly what works with regards to winning those clicks. And remember that A/B testing is an ongoing process, not a one and done affair.
8. Target high intention keywords
Paying out for high volume and high competition keywords might be key to dominating your market in the long run. But… These keywords don’t always yield the biggest conversions. To reel in those customers who are close to or ready to make a decision, aim for keywords with high intention. These visitors are less likely to bounce off your website and are more likely to either dig deep into your offering, or even become customers. So what are high intention keywords?
These are search terms which include key modifiers such as:
- Near me
- In stock
Search terms with specific intention can also be very useful, for example ‘surfboard for beginners’ or ‘surfboard next day delivery’ as opposed to just ‘surfboard’.
You also want to avoid your paid search terms coming up for more general keywords or those with low commercial potential. For example you would be wise to add modifiers such as ‘free’ or ‘how to’ to your negative keywords.
9. Block and filter bot and invalid traffic
If you want to see some alarming results, using methods to block invalid traffic can be one of the most effective ways to reduce your website’s bounce rate.
Bot traffic, non-genuine web users, click farms and headless browsers make up an estimated 1 in 5 clicks on paid search and display results. In short this means you’re paying out around 20% of your ad budget to clicks that have zero chance of converting. Bots, clicking on ad campaigns, it turns out, bounce pretty quickly. Indeed of the millions of clicks analyzed from bots on campaigns, 92% click, shoot, and leave. This satisfies the primary tactic of eating up ad budgets relied upon to bring in new customers. Bots clicking on paid search ads were found to click on branded search terms (the name of a company, business, or brand) 70% of the time. This brings losses of up to $70 per click depending on the sector. In the case of one fashion e-commerce site for instance, “men’s jacket” saw a 56% invalid click rate, “shoe coupon” a 52% invalid click rate, and “Asics New”, a 48% invalid click. The bounce rate was 22% for bots arriving via desktop and 58% for mobile visits to click on ads. This compares to an average bounce rate of between 20% and 45% for most e-commerce sites. Most marketers accept that a range of 55-65% for bounce rates shows significant room for improvement, but the high numbers of bots discovered shows how clearly bots affect such metrics. Our analysis shows that the average bot actually stays on site for between 7 seconds (mobile) and 12 seconds (desktop). This is a high bounce rate but is designed deliberately by fraudsters not to arouse too much suspicion.
These clicks are often a source of high bounce rates, so blocking them can really change your ROAS quickly. CHEQ is the most comprehensive solution on the market for blocking fraudulent and invalid traffic and reducing invalid traffic that hurts on-site conversions.
10. Minimize distractions and pop-ups
Many of us have had to get used to cookie authorization boxes, which are kinda annoying. So any more boxes popping up that we need to close can be incredibly off-putting. Newsletter sign ups, ads for ‘related products’, slow loading videos and surveys might all be useful tools in your funnel. But they’re also a surefire way to frustrate people and get them clicking away from your site. By keeping these to a minimum you’ll be able to reduce your website’s bounce rate and improve your conversions too.
11. Use chatbots
We’ve become used to these little pop-up bubbles in the bottom of our screen asking if we need any help. But in fact, chatbots have been shown to reduce bounce rates. There are a number of ways they can be used to keep the customer engaged. Firstly it’s estimated that they can be used to answer roughly 80% of customer queries, managing things like common questions and simple objection handling. And increasingly chatbots can even be used to carry out transactions. Today, you can use chatbots that help customers to book their hotel or flights right there on the landing page. And you can also use this same technology to manage reservations or display availability/inventory, point them to what they’re looking for and put customers in touch with a real live human. Integrated AI is definitely a trend that has come to the fore in recent years, so harnessing this power can be an incredibly effective way to reduce your website’s bounce rate.