Is your website’s bounce rate high or low enough to boost your search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns? Did you know that with the coming of Rankbrain, Google use site dwell time as a ranking factor in the search engine results page (SERP)? That means as long as your bounce rate is high, you will not do well on Google rankings.
Google will always favor web pages or sites with a low bounce rate because a high bounce rate indicates that the content is either not engaging and contains no value.
Bounce rate what is it?
Bounce rate is a metric unit that calculates the percentage of website users who visit your blog or website and left without performing any task. These web visitors will enter your site through a page and withdraw from the same page meaning that your site visitors bounce when they land on your landing page and leave from the same page with engaging with it.
How to check your bounce rate
There are many reasons to why your website users leave immediately after landing on your site. So, if your site bounce rate is high, you have to read this article till the end:
1: Content Does Not Match The Headline
If you use a super clickbait title, people are going to be forced to click on it because it is a compelling headline. Let’s say you use a title or caption that says “How to cure cancer in 2 months – Works 100%.”
That is a promising headline that will move people to click through to your blog or website to read the article. Once they access the content, what will they get? Instead of how to cure cancer, your article deviates from the headline’s promise and talks about how the disease is disastrous and how to prevent oneself from getting cancer.
Do you think that they would be happy over that? No! They will be disappointed, and that can badly influence how users interact with your site. So, when you craft a headline, try to be creative to get the maximum clicks and also make sure that the title you are using connects with your content body as well.
2: Site Load Time Is Slow
Website speed is a super crucial area in keeping your website bounce rate low. Nowadays, most people are impatient including me. If your website takes a long time to load, chances are they might exit to a competitor’s site because you are not the only one writing on that topic.
There are thousands or even millions of web pages related to your topic. So make sure to improve your sites speed. To check your website load time, I would recommend you to go to Pingdom or GTMetric.
For example, let us say you want to use Pingdom. Head over to their site, open the software and enter your URL. You can change the location and click the “start test” tab. The tool will show you your website’s load speed time along with other metrics.
It will also give you a bunch of suggestions and recommendations you need to solve the issues and increase your website speed. According to Google, site speed is a ranking factor or this reason; I recommend you enable Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on your blog or website because it is for speed – which means that website that allows AMP will load faster than those without AMP.
Bottom line: Website speed is not an option but mandatory. For this reason
3: Blank Page/ Error 404 Or Technical Error
If your website has any blank or error 404 Page, you need to work on solving the issue on that Page. Page Not Found errors (also known as 404s) can increase your site bounce rate as they are leading a visitor to nowhere. When a user hit a blank wall, the next thing to do is exit your site – increasing your bounce rate.
Here is what to do; go to Google Search Console, under Crawl >> Crawl Errors you will find the issue from Google’s calculation. However, on the other hand, by customizing a good custom 404 page, it can help people find the information they’re looking for and thus reduce the bounce rate
You can use the 404page – your smart custom 404 error page WordPress plugin to create a perfect custom Error 404 Page.
4: Poor Backlinks
Referral traffic is one among the most targeted and engaging traffic sources. But despite that, if you have a high bounce rate it might be because of any of these reasons:
- Wrong anchor text
- Irrelevant traffic
- Click by mistake, etc
5: Poor Content
Let’s be honest here, even if your website loads fast, the headline is catchy and relates to your target audience, but the content is weak – not a quality material or valuable information. What would your site visitors do?
Do you think they will stick around your site much longer to read the post? Obviously, no! So, make sure that your blog content is engaging and helpful to your audience. Make it compelling enough to encourage users to browse or click further on to other pages and keep coming back. This technique will enable you to reduce your website bounce rate.
Read this article to learn how to write stunning blog posts that people will love to read.
6: Bad Readability
Would you like to read an article with no heading, subheadings, whatsoever with just plain text-based content? I don’t think so! You need to have proper titles and subtitles to break your blog material and make it easy for readers to skim through your content.
- Use the H-tags (H1, H2, H3, and H4) in the body of content to create subheadings. The subheadings will break your articles and make them skimmable.
- Write short sentences and paragraphs.
- Use numbered bullets and bullet points to structure and break your content as well.
- Use bold and italics to highlight main points.
- Write in a clear and straightforward way that a grade six student can understand.
- Leave more white spaces in your content. Research reveals that white space around a text and title improves user attention by 20%. Thus, it indicates that the use of white space can increase website user experience and boost conversion.
7: Poor Navigation
Make sure you have a proper navigation system on your blog. The primary purpose of website navigation is to help users quickly find what they are looking for on your site. So, your navigation needs to stand out and be consistent.
Typically, the main menu will sit along the top of the page. If possible maintain fat footers
8: Your Website is Not Mobile-Friendly and Have A Bad Design
As of May 2018, 52% of all worldwide online traffic came through mobile phones, that is according to Statista.
The statistic shows the share of global mobile phone traffic from 2009 – 2018. As you can see, at present smartphones reports half of world wide web pages served.
That means if your site isn’t mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive you need to work on it. You will be losing out on a bunch of opportunities if your website is not friendly and responsive to mobile.
Here are more reasons why your website should be mobile-friendly. It will help:
- Improve user experience.
- Boost search rankings because Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites.
- Increase your site’s visibility
How to make your website mobile-friendly?
- Use a mobile-first responsive theme design
- Compress your images and CSS.
- Include the viewport meta tag (paste this onto the HTML for each page:
<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>)
- Use Mobile Plugins (Eg. WPtouch, JetPack, etc.)
9: Cross-Browser Responsiveness
Cross-browser Responsive means that the web application works with all versions of browsers. However, it is not possible to have your site design look the same on every browser. Sometimes your website load perfectly on Chrome but it may break down on Safari, explorer, or Opera Mini.
It is a rare issue, but you have to make sure that your website is compatible across all browsers. In consequence, go to Cross-Browser Testing to check if your site is responsive. Cross-browser testing will analyze your site in over 1,500 browsers.
10: Pop-Ups And Interstitial
Your newsletter sign-up form or advertising placements on your site may be popping out constantly thereby interrupting users. It may lead to poor user experience and can make vistos to leave your site
A study by Hubspot showed that 73% of website users find pop-up ads annoying or intrusive and dislike it, while 64% have installed ad blockers.
11: External Links Open In The Same Tab
Allowing a link to open up in a new tab can help in reducing your website bounce rate. Website users who click on a link may want to get more information on the topic they are reading, or they may want to check the page.
In the eyes of Google, it is a bounce. On this account, make sure that all external links are set to open in another tab or window. If you are using WordPress, click the link icon and check the ‘open in new tab’ box.
It’s pretty simple.
If your website deals with handling sensitive information, you need to make your site more secure. People must have confidence that vital data such as credit card details are safe with you when they register it on your site.
But when your online space looks spamming and unreliable, they will leave your area for your competitors, which will effectively increase your website bounce rates. For instance, when browsing and I come across a site that does not have the green padlock, I leave immediately.
Considering this, secure your online space to encourage more visitors to your area. The first step to securing your website is to add the SSL. Once inserted or migrated, your browser will show a green padlock, and an attached “S” at the end of the regular HTTP.
So instead of the usual HTTP, it will change to HTTPS. The “S” means secure, signifying security. It makes a user feel secure and trusts you more, which also make your site more legit. Interestingly, Google has stated that starting July 2018 all websites must migrate to the HTTPS.
In all seriousness though, you need to study your site’s analytics and understand it. You can use tools like Crazy egg to know where your visitors are coming from, where they are scrolling and where they left off.
Carefully inspect your site regarding User Experience, Quality of your content, Mobile responsiveness, etc. Hopefully, this article has helped you diagnose what’s causing your high bounce rate, Am I missing anything? Do you have anything to add?
Tell us in the comments section.
About the Author
Jennifer Swan is a freelance blogger who writes articles about digital marketing–SEO, blogging, WordPress, including web-hosting.