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What is ‘Bounce Rate’ and how can you Reduce it?

Stephen Logan

by Stephen Logan on 24th July 2009

The bounce rate for any site is essentially the percentage of people who visit and don’t navigate any further than the first page they land on. So the higher your website’s bounce rate, the quicker visitors have been exiting.

There’s no magic answer for resolving a high bounce rate; but to give yourself the best possible opportunity you need to ensure that each page is bursting with useful information and engaging language. First impressions are vital, not just on your homepage but right throughout the site. If you’re going to convince visitors that it’s worth their while using your services, you need to abide by three basic principles:

1)      Easy navigation

2)      Good design

3)      Strong copy

Whether subconsciously or more deliberately, it is these three things that we look at when we land on any new site. It informs us what the company does, how professional they are and whether you can trust them. You might be the most reputable company in the UK, but if your site looks like it was put together in a bedroom and offers only sparse copy, you can’t expect visitors to hang around for long.

That first impression is key to securing any visitor’s attention. That first impression could also be key in ensuring they stay on your site long enough to make a purchase or secure your services; thus hopefully in turn reducing your bounce rate.

Sometimes it can be the most rudimentary thing that let websites down. Broken links, missing images and misspelt headlines can all weaken your reputation instantaneously. Be thorough when checking your content and ensure it is done regularly. The smallest HTML error can cause the biggest issues sometimes.

Another good way of helping bounce rates remain low is to ensure your landing pages are offering exactly what people are searching for. This is particularly important with paid search adverts; but whenever you’re targeting links in to your site, you need to make sure that you are pointing visitors towards the most appropriate page. There’s nothing more off-putting than following a link that leads to a random page that has little or no relevance to what you searched for in the first place. The only button you’ll click in this circumstance is the back button, which of course will raise that dreaded bounce rate again.

Some people will always navigate to a site and leave after only viewing just one page, its part and parcel of Internet search. Therefore chasing a 0% bounce rate may be idealistic, but is ultimately be impossible. Anything below 30% is excellent, 40% very good and 50% about right. If you’ve got a site that is consistently over 70% bounce rate, then you may have to consider a complete overhaul. Clearly there’s something somewhere that is disagreeing with visitors, so it’s of the utmost importance that this is discovered and resolved.

To help improve your bounce rate you may choose to use a leading SEO agency like Koozai. We work with clients to pinpoint issues and develop solutions that will lower bounce rate and improve the productivity of your site.

Stephen Logan

Stephen Logan

Stephen Logan is our Senior Content Marketer at Koozai. With four years experience writing exclusively for the search engine marketing industry, he has amassed a wealth of industry related knowledge. He will be breaking news stories and contributing compelling SEO related stories.

1 Comment

  • jamesgurd 29th July 2009

    I would also add to the equation relevance. Some pages are just not worth worrying about – that may sound negative but you have to focus on the pages that will add the most value. If you have a page that attracts 2 visitors per month and has a 100% bounce rate, then unless the commercial value of converting those 2 customers outweighs the cost (time & money) of optimising the landing page, there is no point trying to address the bounce rate issue.
    We've gone through this exercise many times with clients using either Omniture SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics to pinpoint which pages have the lowest engagement (a factor of both visits, entry & exit ratios and bounce rate) and which ones could drive significant commercial value if improved.
    Good article and some valid points raised – amazing though how many online retailers don't pay attention to bounce rate and landing page optimisation.
    thanks
    james

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