The Importance of Bounce Rate:
What in the world is “bounce rate”, and why is it important for websites?
Bounce rate is one of those nebulous calculations that Google uses in order to rank our websites. In essence, bounce rate is the measure of how long a “visitor” stays on a webpage. This depends upon numerous factors, such as: functionality, aesthetics, target audience, user experience, and, of course, if your “visitor” has found what they’re looking for in the first place.
Bounce rate is sometimes referred to by website designers as “stickiness”; and Google measures it in percentages. For example, if the bounce rate for your home page is fifty percent, fifty percent of your visitors are leaving within about a minute of arriving — or, are “bouncing” off the page elsewhere. So basically, the lower the percentage of “bounce rate”, the more engaging and “user-friendly” is your content, and the higher your website ranks on Google.
Let’s take a look at a few website issues that are relatively simple fixes to improve bounce rate:
Clear and functionality of navigation:
Although it may seem somewhat obvious, the easier your website is to navigate through, the lower your bounce rate will be. This includes ease of finding answers to clients’ questions, and follow through. You can imagine how challenging it is to come across a potentially informative website, only to discover that it isn’t what you’re looking for, nor does it answer the question or issue you are trying to solve.
This follows the premise that effective keywords in your SEO — Search Engine Optimization — will effectively lead potential clients to the vital information you are providing on your web pages. Ideally, relevant keywords and content — which we will cover shortly — will inevitably draw needed and valued clients to your site, lower your bounce rate, and increase your ranking on search engines.
Speed at which pages are loaded:
Another “given” in lowering bounce rate involves how quickly your pages load. In this age of “high-speed internet” and “I need it now–yesterday…”, it is imperative that one’s website loads quickly and efficiently. Gone are the days when it was more or less acceptable to load a website, and then go do something else while it takes two or three minutes to load. Even if a page loads for longer than five or six seconds, a potential client will be gone and move on in no time…
Things that will drag down your web page include, but are not exclusive to:
1)Self-hosting video content; 2)Large files or images; and 3)Hosting issues related to server maintenance.
Addressing these issues ahead of time will keep your pages loading quickly and efficiently, and prevent you from losing valuable clients “bouncing” off of your web pages.
Value of engaging content:
Content, content, content! Like the proverbial real-estate agent’s mantra: “Location! Location! Location!”
Valuable and informative content, placed strategically on your homepage, especially, and throughout your website, will draw your visitors. Great content answers their questions, solves their issues, and engages them so that they will not only enjoy their experience, but will come back for more! This is what ultimately lowers your “bounce rate” percentages and ranks your site higher on search engines.
But what makes content valuable? What is the secret formula? I know it sounds anticlimactic and redundant, but it is simplicity, in all its grandeur… Use keywords that your potential clients will most likely use in their searches. State your purpose, plain and simple, right there on your homepage. Be yourself, conversational, and engaging. It doesn’t have to sound highfalutin or technical. The internet is so dry and impersonal as it is…Your content has to make up for it, and have your clients returning.
They like that.
And finally, Calls to Action!
After navigation, quick-loading pages, and great content, calls to action is paramount to success in lowering your bounce rate. It sounds like a sales pitch; and it is…to a point. Your business is important; tell your customers why. Your business will solve their issues better than the “other guy”; show them how. Give them the first steps to conversion, engagement, and finally committing to giving you their business.
For example, say you have a blog about the importance of expanding one’s education. You tell them the facts, the statistics, the economy. You explain why education is important, not only in younger people, but throughout one’s life: how expanding one’s mind offers longevity and self-fulfillment…
And then….you stop…no “next steps…” no “learn more…” no “sign up for more information…”
Get the idea?
Once you’ve made the all-important conversion, there has to be that next level of engagement to finally get that subscription, make that connection, and get that customer or client.
Hopefully, this covers most difficulties in relation to bounce rate and its importance. Website design and functionality are always evolving, and the importance of consistently optimizing one’s site cannot be stressed enough. There is always room for improvement and growth.