Bounce Rate: How to Improve Bounce Rate for Your Website

improve website bounce rate

You put a ton of effort into building your website. You create blog content on a regular basis, and you consistently optimize all of the pages with professional copywriting. 

Still, despite your site being live in cyberspace for quite some time now, you’re seeing limited to no results. 

So, you sign into your analytics to see what’s going on, and you notice a number like 70% beside something called “bounce rate.” 

Is that good or bad?

In the case of bounce rate, unfortunately for you, the higher the percentage, the worse shape your site is in. 

In this article, we’ll explore what bounce rate is, why it happens, and what you can do about it. 

What is bounce rate?

Bounce rate is presented as a percentage representing the rate at which visitors to your website land on a page and then leave your site without navigating anywhere else. A visitor may land on your homepage, for example, and then for whatever reason, they click off your site and go somewhere else. 

While it’s still up for debate just how much bounce rate impacts the way Google ranks your site, it is clear that a high bounce rate can have a negative impact on your site’s performance.

What is the impact of a high bounce rate?

The impact of your site’s bounce rate depends really on what you expect your site to do. If you have a landing page where lots of people convert, but they never check out any other content on your site, that might be just fine for your business.

On the other hand, if you’re running a website where your business depends on moving people around the site to discover new products or services, click on ads, or consume more content, a high bounce rate can be seriously concerning.  

What can you do to reduce bounce rate?

Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can lower your bounce rate and keep visitors on your site longer. Taking these steps can have a major impact on your business and your ability to grow. 

So, let’s take a look at five key things you can do to lower your bounce rate and improve your website’s effectiveness. 

Provide simple navigation

One major fail I see quite often is website owners making their websites too complicated. No page on your site should require visitors to click more than three levels down to find what they’re looking for. 

Image: Simple website navigation example by DigitalOcean – Source

Plan out your navigation so the most important pages are the easiest to find. Then ensure the secondary pages are just a dropdown or a click away. 

And don’t rely only on your top-level navigation. You can work blocks into your pages that highlight services and other important pages to move people around the site more efficiently. 

Image: Example of simple navigation blocks beyond drop-down built for a client of Gaenzle Marketing

Make it simple for your visitors to get around. If you are hiding important content or making visitors click four or more times to find what they’re looking for, they won’t stick around for long. 

There are a lot of sites that offer info, products, or services similar to what you offer. If the experience on your site is too difficult, your visitors will become your competitors’ customers. 

Optimize your site for the RIGHT search results

If your website isn’t properly optimized, you may pull in limited traffic from search engines. Beyond that, you risk also pulling in less targeted traffic consisting of visitors who weren’t really looking for the info on your site but accidentally stumbled upon it because your site isn’t properly optimized for the right keywords. 

The last thing you want is someone landing on your website who was searching for something completely unrelated. 

As an example, I ran into an issue with this with one of my blogs in the past related to a post from a guest author. 

I published a post from a guest writer who worked for a custom tee-shirt company. The article was about the impact of custom t-shirts in your marketing, but it ended up pulling in a lot of unrelated traffic. Traffic from searches like “printing custom t-shirts” or “custom t-shirt companies.” 

The problem is that the website focuses on marketing. The article wasn’t about buying custom t-shirts, and I certainly wasn’t selling any. So the bounce rate for that article was off the charts. 

To fix the issue, I made a few corrections to the article. I had to reword the mentions of custom t-shirts, and I had to remove several links that were added to the post. And, much to the author’s chagrin, I had to rework their bio to remove overly promotional and confusing language. 

To avoid issues like this, make sure you are optimizing for the right keywords. Use an SEO tool like Semrush to uncover SEO opportunities on your site, work the right keywords into your website, and create content that attracts the right eyeballs to ensure visitors stay on your site. 

Focus on your on-page SEO

When we think about SEO, we tend to think about pulling in site visitors from searches. But SEO goes far beyond that. 

The work that you do on-page can keep visitors around longer and really improve your bounce rate.

For example, internal linking is a key component of website success. Not only does well-done internal linking send positive signals to Google, but it also helps site visitors discover additional content that may be relevant to them. 

When you draft up an article or webpage, be sure to think about all the on-page opportunities to boost your site’s performance and keep people on the page. On-page SEO can be tricky, so this is where hiring an SEO agency might be a good idea. They can uncover opportunities you may miss. A skilled agency can also implement any updates much more quickly than your in-house team, thus saving time and money. 

Some of the things you (or the agency you hire) should focus on within the scope of on-page SEO include the following.

  • Keyword optimized headings and subheadings
  • Internal links 
  • Set external links to open in a new window
  • Short paragraphs and a clear flow
  • Answer questions and solve problems fully with your content
  • Keep content updated with current stats and info
  • Create a solid user experience

There’s a lot more to on-page SEO, but doing these seven things can help boost your SEO while also keeping visitors on your site and reducing your bounce rate. 

Include visual content

If you want to keep visitors on your website longer and reduce your bounce rate, take them beyond the page with visual content. 

The written content on your website is super critical, but to keep people interested and keep them moving around your site, you should add videos, graphics that support the info you cite, and relevant images to keep visitors scrolling down the page and clicking on other content to learn more. 

Here’s a great example of a blog post on the Moss Media blog that adds in a chart to help readers visualize the stats being cited. This lends more credibility to your content, and it keeps people flowing along through your site. 

Image: Adding visual representations of the info you present on your blog – Source

You can also use images to highlight other content on your site to encourage your visitors to visit more pages. Add a banner with a call-to-action letting people know about a new report on another part of the site. Or point them toward a relevant service. 

Using visuals, however you work them into your site, can really boost your stats and lower your bounce rate. So, create a strategy for adding visuals in a way that adds value for your visitors and keeps them on your site longer. 

Speed up your site

Ever click on a search result expecting the site to pop up right away, but you’re met with a white screen as the site struggles to load?

Yep, we all have. And yes, it’s super frustrating. 

If your site is guilty of slow page loading times, you’re likely sending lots of your visitors away before they ever have a chance to explore your site. 

Image: Stats showing the impact of slow page load times on bounce rate – Source

If you want to reduce bounce rate and stop losing visitors, you need to find ways to speed up the time it takes for your pages and posts to load. 

To speed up your site’s load time, try the following. 

  • Spring for better website hosting
  • Compress your images 
  • Reduce the number of redirects 
  • Use a CDN 
  • Remove unused plugins
  • Enable caching 
  • Minimize the code on your site

Be sure to put steps in place to reduce the load time. You can find out how your site is looking when it comes to loading times by using tools like Google PageSpeed, Pingdom, and GTMetrix. 

Image: PageSpeed report from GTMetrix – Source

Reduce your bounce rate and boost your website’s performance

Bounce rate impacts businesses differently. That said, having a lower bounce rate can have a very positive impact on your website. 

By lowering your site’s bounce rate, you increase your opportunities for conversions, keep visitors on your site longer, and boost your stats for search engines (whether they’re looking or not). 

There’s a ton of value in taking the time to assess your site’s bounce rate and pinpoint ways you could reduce that high percentage. 

Take the steps listed in this article, and you’ll be well on your way to seeing those bounce rate stats drop and your more positive stats rise.

11 Responses

  1. Hello Anthony,

    Bounce rate is a concern for every blogger and webmaster. A High bounce rate indicates low engagement on your website. Slow web hosting is also a big issue behind the high bounce rate. You have shared some helpful tips to improve the bounce rate. Thanks for sharing.

    Vishwajeet Kumar

  2. Hi Anthony, You explained it very well.

    Embedding YouTube Videos and Infographics will help to spend the user more time on the page. Doing proper internal linking also help.

    Thank you Anthony for this post. You presented the article with pictures very well.

    Keep post Anthony.

  3. Hi Anthony,
    great tips!

    May I add these ones?
    – Use longer content (1,500 words or more). This will help keep people on your page longer and give them a chance to explore more of your content.
    – Make sure your content is well-written and well-researched. Quality content is key if you want people to stick around.
    – Use semantic SEO techniques to make your content easier to read and understand. This will help keep people engaged with your content.

    1. These are all excellent, Erik! Long-form content does tend to keep folks around longer, and it gives you more opportunities to guide them toward discovering other content on the site.

  4. All of these points are really good Anthony. Bloggers trip over themselves to get a heavy volume of blog traffic but if their bounce rate is high it’s all moot. It’s all for naught unless you actually get human beings to stick around, stay on your site for a while and take that next step that leads to a loyal reader, a sale, a client or maybe a list subscriber.

    1. It’s all about getting people on your site and then keeping them there. Give them what they want. Help them navigate your site by making it user-friendly, and watch your stats rise!

  5. Hi Anthony, I still struggle with this one. Maybe I need to add more images that link to other pages and posts in my blog posts and pages. I really need to analyze this more. I know my speed is great with an A thanks to my techie. So there is something I’m not doing right along the way. I’ve started a new blog and the bounce rate is much less. Interesting!
    Thank you for pointing out these tips.

    1. Adding the Related Posts plugin gave my sites a boost. Making sure there’s solid internal linking, suggested posts, and adding visuals and videos tends to help people move around the site as well. That said, with blogs, sometimes bounce rate can be a bit higher and not be a bad thing because people find the content they need, read through the full post and come back another day. They technically bounce, but they love your site and keep coming back.

  6. I often recommend the following eight tips.
    – Try to understand why visitors are leaving so early.
    – Design a better user experience.
    – Make sure your website is responsive.
    – Include a clear call to action.
    – Check the readability of your text.
    – Build some landing pages.
    – Rethink your product pages.
    – Do some A/B testing.

    1. All excellent tips. Landing pages are great for collecting leads and then moving folks into your pipeline. The more you communicate and the more value you add, the better your business will do.

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