A bounce rate is one metric that tells you if your website is useful, relevant, interesting or none of the above. In case you need a refresh, a bounce rate is, “the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.” If your bounce rate is high, this means people are leaving your website after viewing one page, which could indicate a range of things.
If your site’s bounce rate is high, here are the top reasons why this may be the case and how you can fix it.
ONE MORE THING: Before we reveal the reasons, keep in mind that a high bounce rate is relative. Most websites will experience an average bounce rate of 26-70%. If your bounce rate is 71% or higher, we will consider that a higher than average bounce rate for this post.
Slow Loading Page
In previous blogs, we’ve talked about the importance of site speed for SEO ranking and overall user experience. If any of your web pages take more than a couple seconds to load, your visitors may lose interest and push the back button on their browser, which will hurt your bounce rate.
There are a lot of tools out there that will give you the insight you need to fix your website’s speed, with our favorite being Google PageSpeed Insights.
Too Much or Too Little Content
While we hate to admit it, people still judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to website content. Too much content on your website will overwhelm your visitors and have them leave, and too little content will leave them unsatisfied.
To determine if your high bounce rate is a result of your content, take a look at the time spent on page and average session duration metrics in Google Analytics. If a user is spending a few minutes on the page, that means they found your page relevant. If they’re spending less than a minute on a page (or even less than 30 seconds), you may need to audit your website’s content to make sure it’s the proper length.
Another tool you can consider using is heatmap software, which will show you valuable information such as how far down people are scrolling on your pages, which buttons on your website are getting the most attention, and more.
Misleading Title Tag or Meta Description
When was the last time you reviewed your pages’ title tags and meta descriptions? Or, even more significant, have you ever reviewed your pages’ title tags and meta descriptions?
These details are visible on a search engine results page (SERP) and need to summarize the content of your pages accurately. If they do not match, users will enter your site to see one thing, discover the page is not about the topic they expected, and ultimately leave your website.
Luckily, reviewing and editing the title tag and meta description are easy to fix on the backend of your website. Make sure these not only address the search queries you want to rank for, but they are relevant to the content on that page.
If your bounce rate is 90% or higher, there is a very good chance that some pages on your website are returning a 404 error. While there are many reasons why your site could be displaying this error, start by replicating a user’s experience by looking at your website through the most popular browser and device to see if you are getting the same error. From there, you can take the necessary steps to correct this issue.
In the most straightforward way we could state it, your bounce rate could be a result of poorly-written website content. Regardless of length, if your content doesn’t clearly offer the value your users are looking for, they will not waste their time on your website.
The best way to fix poor content is to have a colleague or peer review your website content (ideally, someone in marketing or copywriting) and ask them if your current website is in line with your target audience.
If you get the “okay” that the content itself isn’t bad, your high bounce rate could come from content that’s not optimized for the web. Remember, website content should:
- Be scannable
- Have lots of headers to break up the text
- Include images that support the content
- Be broken up into bullets, sections, and small paragraphs.
If all else fails, it may be worth getting a content audit executed by a professional.
Bad User Experience (UX)
You may not know it, but your site’s user experience could be off. Maybe it’s because of the pesky pop-up that asks for a user to sign up for your newsletter immediately after the page loads, or it could be that your over-designed website has a hidden navigation. No matter the case, sometimes we forget what’s most important for our audience, and this negatively impacts the user experience.
If that same friend who reread your website content has UX or web design knowledge, have them take a fresh look at your site and offer feedback on how to make the user experience seamless.
Mobile-friendly websites have been the standard for years now, yet almost a quarter of the top sites do not follow this rule. With mobile devices making up over 40% of total time spent online, having a website that’s not mobile-responsive will hurt your business in more ways than your bounce rate. Users will miss your key messages, your website may load slower than usual, and your business will suddenly appear outdated.
In short, make sure all your pages are mobile-friendly. Do yourself a favor and make this priority one.
High bounce rates can help you diagnose critical issues with your website, so don’t let this metric go ignored! If your bounce rate is higher than you’d like to be, work through these tips for a lower one.
If you have any questions about bounce rates or other website metrics, contact us today!