1.What is bounce rate?
Simply put, bounce rate is a measure of the people who visit a certain page on your website but leave without looking at anything else. It’s like reading the synopsis of a book and not delving into the chapters.
Now, suppose a user clicks on a link that directs them to your page, but they leave without exploring any of the other pages of your website, it increases your bounce rate. If you check your [seoaipdl-aug id=”8660″], it will show you a percentage representing your bounce rate; for example, if it says 60%, it means that 60% of the people who visited your page leave after viewing only the page they entered on.
1.1 Bounce rate- high or low
By rule of thumb, a good bounce rate is considered to be less than 40%, between 40-55% is okay, anything higher shows a need for improvement and one needs to find out what is causing the high bounce rate. The reasons could be anything from irrelevance or inappropriate content etc. For example, if you search for beauty products and a website claims to sell these products but in reality it only sells food, then people leave immediately as the website is not in relevance with their search request.
If the indicated bounce rate is above 90% or below 20% there is a high chance that there is some analytical error.
1.2 Is a high bounce rate bad?
The main criteria for whether high bounce rate is bad or not is the type of website you have.
Consider a page that provides some form of information like a blog, such websites have a higher percentage of bounce rate as people usually end up on the webpage in search of something in particular. They gather the information they came looking for and leave the page. This is not a reason for major concern.
On the contrary, if it’s an e-commerce website people tend to look at multiple options before making a purchase or similar products to purchase. For example, on a website like Amazon, one tends to look at multiple options for the things they’re looking for, so technically there would be a lower bounce rate. For example if someone is looking to buy a shirt, be it blue black or yellow, they’d search for shirts and explore their options. So the bounce rate is low as they keep clicking on links and buy what they want.
2.Does Google penalise high bounce rate?
There is a constant debate on whether high bounce rate affects your search ranking, the short answer is no.
Fact is Google doesn’t use the data on site bounce rates, they have mentioned in the past how they think bounce rate metrics can be easy manipulated and noisy. Google also stated how high bounce rate can be the expected behaviour on a website and hence doesn’t have to be bad.
Additionally, many organisations don’t use Google analytics, so Google has no way of tracking their bounce rate information, as you can see 94.6% of marketing websites use Google analytics but on the flip side, only 54.3% of all websites use Google analytics.
2.1 Pogosticking algorithm
Due to the above-mentioned problems, Google employs its own tools to determine a websites actual bounce rate called the pogosticking algorithm.
Pogosticking is a user behaviour pattern which is considered to be a negative signal for search engines. While bounce rate is not necessarily negative and depends on the type of website, pogosticking is always negative.
Pogosticking occurs when a user performs a search, clicks on a result and very quickly clicks back to the search result page and clicks on a different result. This type of behaviour is a direct result of dissatisfaction with the page they opened.
Pogosticking happens within the first five seconds of viewing the page. This shows that your website isn’t doing a good enough job of providing the information required by the user or that the website was so bad that the user didn’t bother reading its content. If there are a lot of people pogosticking on and off your site Google will notice and penalize you.
According to Google’s “search pogosticking benchmark” patent, Google tracks the, the number of times that other search results are selected before a particular search result is selected (referred to as pre-pogosticking) is tracked, and the number of times that other search results are selected after a particular search result is selected (referred to as post-pogosticking) is also tracked.
Now, if users click on many other links after visiting your webpage and on top of that you have a high bounce rate, Google’s algorithm concludes you are causing users to pogostick. Your search ranking is then negatively affected as you are not satisfying your users’ needs due to irrelevant keywords, confusing webpage design, or providing inadequate amounts of content.
3. Causes for high bounce rate
Now if you’re operating a website that requires a low bounce rate, before reducing it one must understand the cause for the high bounce rate.
Having a high bounce rate can mean the following things:
- The quality of the page is low.
- Content doesn’t match the title or description.
- Lack of usability.
- Confusing or outdated design.
- Content is too spammy.
- Content doesn’t match the site’s focus.
- The visitor has found the information they were looking for.
3.1 How to reduce bounce rate
The best way to reduce bounce rate is to increase the engagement of the page, give the people a reason to want to stay on your page.
Here are some tips on what you can do:
- look into the design aspect of your page, assess if there’s a strong need for redesign. No one wants to navigate a page that looks prehistoric. Keep up with the times and always make sure the page is high quality. Next, make the site user-friendly, in today’s world, everyone wants everything at the tip of their fingers, users don’t want to go through a maze to find what they need. Also, a lot of users will come your way via mobile so make sure website is mobile friendly.
- look into the content on your website. If you find that the issue on some of your content isn’t just a high bounce rate but also a low average time on site (meaning people leave pretty quickly), then it might be an issue with your content not providing what the visitor wants. Be sure to review these pages and see if you can provide further information.
- look into your traffic sources. If certain traffic sources have high bounce rates, then you need to look at the expectations of the visitors coming to your site from those sources. For example, if you’re running an ad on another website and the users coming from those ads are bouncing, then you’re not giving them what they need. Review that ad you’re running and see if it matches the content on the page.
- Add links to other pages within your website. Consider other things that users might be interested in and connect them to those pages in an “if you liked this, look at this” kind of way. One can also add user manuals, comments from other people and other such ideas. You can also add links such as “about us”,” top content” etc.
- Lastly, make sure to have a contact page, links to subscribe to your newsletter and to leave links accessible throughout your pages to your social media profiles such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.