Looking at your site’s statistics also includes bounce rate. Does bounce rate mean Google Analytics? Usually. Today, we are going to take a look at bounce rates–what they are, how they affect your site, and how to improve your bounce rate to maximize the time a visitor spends on your site.
What is a Bounce Rate on a Website
Let’s define bounce rate. A bounce is a term used when a visitor lands on your website and when they leave your website. The longer a visitor stays on your site, the lower your bounce rate will be which is a good thing. The percentages are calculated based on single-page sessions and how long a visitor stays on one page.
What is a good bounce rate?
Bounce rates will vary and are subject to trends depending on what your niche is and even the time of year. For instance, if your site is about Christmas ornaments, then you will have a higher bounce rate between January and August than you will between say September and December. That would be quite natural. An acceptable bounce rate is somewhere between 45-65%.
What is a high bounce rate?
A high bounce rate is when your visitors quickly leave your site after only viewing one page. This is not a good thing. This means that the visitors to your site are not finding what they are looking for and are moving on to someone else’s site. Typically, anything over 65% is considered high.
Why Are Visitors Leaving Your Site?
The Technical Reasons:
- You only have a landing page or a one-page site. Unless a visitor reloads the page for some reason, multiple views are not recorded.
- You did not copy/paste Google Analytics code between the header tags on your site. This can give you skewed results because Google cannot read all the pages on your website without this code. Also, make sure that you have verified your code through the verification process. If your site has not recorded any sessions at all, chances are that there’s a problem with this code.
- Your site is difficult to navigate. Do you have a menu bar on your site? Is it easy to get from one page to another or from one category to another? Does your site take a long time to load? All of these factors will affect how long a visitor stays on your site. If you are not sure, have your site reviewed here. Simply plug in your domain name and email address and someone will actually test out your site and email you the results.
- Your site takes too long to load: We’ve all been on sites that seem to take forever to load. What do you do? Personally, I wait a certain amount of time and then I click away. Do you want your visitors to do that? Of course not! Make sure your site doesn’t have a problem loading.
The Not So Technical Reasons:
- Not enough content on your site: If you have a site with only a few articles on it or only a single page, you will be very limited in how much traffic your site will get. The more variety of content you have on your site that is related to your topic, the more people will visit your site.
- Content isn’t added consistently: This is quite common when people first start a website. They typically throw up a few pages, sit back and wait for traffic. This never works. In order to be taken seriously by Google and your visitors, you must be adding content to your site on a consistent basis even if it’s only once a week. Typically, people blog 2-3 times per week. Having fresh content on your site, gives your readers new things to read about and that means they will stay on your site longer AND COME BACK.
- Improper use of keywords or not using keywords at all. I did this! Oh, yes I did! On my VERY first site, I wrote what I wanted to write about. I didn’t bother with keywords and guess what? No one was interested! Gee! Really? Why? Because no one was looking for the information I was writing about! Keywords are crucial! Make sure you are using them and using them correctly. If you want to know how people are finding your pages, open Google Analytics and click on User Flow in the left column. That will tell you what pages people are visiting the most. If you click on Acquisitions/Overview and then click on Organic Search, you will see a list of keywords that have been used to access pages on your site.
- The nature of your site is not reflected in your domain title. If you have a site about Christmas ornaments but your domain name is something more generic, such as Stuff to do in Winter then people are going to your site for all the wrong reasons and will quickly leave. I’ve landed on sites like this and it’s quite disappointing.
How to Improve Bounce Rates
Assuming you have a site that has multiple pages and posts and everything is working correctly, open Google Analytics and click on User Flow in the left column. That will tell you what pages people are visiting the most. If you click on Acquisitions/Overview and then click on Organic Search, you will see a list of keywords that have been used to access pages on your site. This will give you an indication of what pages are successful with your audience and which ones are not.
- Make sure your Google Analytics code has been verified and is working properly
- Add content to your site on a consistent basis–even if it’s only twice a week. Have a schedule for your content such as every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Whatever day(s) you choose, make sure it’s the same every week. Google loves that!
- Write quality content and write content with your reader in mind.
- Your articles should be between 500-1000 words and should also have at least two images, if possible.
- Use keywords properly
- Make sure your site is easy to navigate
- Submit a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. This also helps visitors find your site.
The idea is to lower your bounce rate and increase the time visitors spend on your site.
That is the key.
Bing is similar to Google Analytics with Bing Webmaster Tools. You can also create an account with Bing, register your site and verify it much like Google Analytics. Yahoo and Bing merged together a few years ago so they are one and the same now.
Bing/Yahoo do not necessarily track bounce rates but they do track page traffic. The information you will see in the Bing Webmaster Tools is slightly different from Google Analytics but very useful as well.
My Personal Experience With Bounce Rates
The first thing I’d like to caution you about is don’t get too hung up on website statistics. I personally check my stats each morning but I have a few different sites I am monitoring for clients as well. If you are running one website, you won’t see a huge difference in 24 hours. Checking your site perhaps once a week or twice a week should be more than enough to give you a clear picture of how your site is stacking up.
On a personal note, I’ve been monitoring the bounce rate on one of my sites for the past few months now. You can check out my tips on how I improved my bounce rate by clicking here.
Thank you for visiting and I hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions, please be sure to leave a comment below.