Find out 7 things that could be causing you to have a high bounce rate, and perhaps explain why visitors are leaving your website after such a short time.
What is a Bounce Rate?
A Bounce rate refers to the percentage of people who came to a specific page on your website and left straight away without going to any other pages within the website.
What Classes as a High Bounce Rate?
Well, that is a great question and it very much depends on what kind of site you have. But as a rule of thumb:
- 80% and over is considered a bad bounce rate.
- 70 to 80% is considered poor
- 50 to 70% is average.
- 30 to 50% is good.
- 30% and above is excellent.
If you are in the 70% and above category, it may not be cause for concern depending on your website (which we’ll cover off shortly)
To find out what your bounce rate is, you need to have Google Analytics setup on your website. (If you have only just set it up, you will need to give it a few weeks at least to record some information worth reading), but you will find your bounce rate in the “Audience Overview” tab of Google Analytics.
Whilst you will find your bounce rate in the behaviour column of most views in Google Analytics, my personal favourite is the overview page under Acquisition. Not only does it show the bounce rate, but it also breaks it down by channel; as in how they found you – direct, organic, referral or through social media.
So now let’s look at 7 reasons why your website can have a high bounce rate and how to fix some of these issues.
1. Website Speed
Website speed is part of Google’s ranking algorithm, and if your site is slow, this can have a huge impact on your bounce rate.
Whilst Google rank your website on authority and relevancy to the topic being searched, they also look for content that provides a positive user experience, therefore a slow site can provide a poor experience and you will be ranked lower.
Think about your own browsing experience….if a page takes too long to load, what do you do? You leave right? So look at your website through a prospective client’s eyes.
There are a number of different websites out there, where you can check the speed of your page, however my top 2 would be:
If you create a free account with GTmetrix, then you can set the test site to be London rather than the US. It also saves your results, so you can compare against earlier test results.
Both will produce a report with some recommendations on ways to improve the speed.
2. Single-Page / Landing Page Site
If you have a single page website, or a landing page you are monitoring, then it’s common for these to have a very high bounce rate as there is nowhere else to go once they’ve read that page.
If this is you, but you are getting conversions or sales through your website, then the bounce rate shouldn’t be too much of a concern for you.
If you aren’t, then look at your page and make sure you have the right keywords, you have stand out images, any external links open in a new tab (so that your site doesn’t get closed), and that you have clear call to action (CTA) buttons. There are ways to monitor conversions in Google Analytics, so like I say, if you are getting clicks from your CTA buttons, then don’t stress about the bounce rate.
3. Unclear Meta Descriptions
These are what Google use to present your page in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). If you haven’t manually completed these, then whilst they can automatically be filled in, they may not be accurate. So check yours out, is the content on your page reflected in the URL, title, and meta description?
If not, then you may well be getting visitors to your site thinking your content is about something completely different, so will then bounce back to the SERPs to find another site.
So my recommendation would be to review your SEO settings and ensure you are attracting the right visitors for the right thing you want to be found for.
4. Technical Errors
If you have an incorrect link posted somewhere, or have an issue with a webpage, then the visitor will be presented with a 404 Page not found error…causing your bounce rate to increase.
There are a few ways to keep on top of this:
Firstly, install a Broken Link checker on your website. This will email you when a link breaks or something isn’t working like it should (it covers redirections too).
Secondly, ensure you are using Google Search Console. Not only is this the way to submit your sitemap to Google, but it will report any errors from Google’s perspective. It will also email you, so you don’t need to monitor it constantly.
5. Your Page isn’t Mobile-Friendly
Google talk all the time about “mobile first”, and to be fair, a website that hasn’t been optimised for mobile really doesn’t look good on mobile devices.
However, it is fairly simple to test/tweak a website so it does look good on mobile. For example, making sure the font is smaller, that the images present themselves in the right order (which may well be different to how it looks on a larger screen).
Equally you want to make sure that the font size isn’t so small that it’s un-readable on a mobile device. That will simply lead to a higher bounce rate!
Therefore, make sure you test your own website from your mobile phone and if you aren’t happy with it, make some tweaks.
There are a number of sites where you can test mobile friendliness, but personally, you can’t beat just trying it out on your own device. Remembering to do it with and without Wi-Fi so you good idea what it would be like on 4G too.
If your content is bad, visitors may well be bouncing off because they don’t get what they want from it. It’s either confusing, or there isn’t enough content for someone to get what you do.
It is hard to review your own website, as not only is it quite likely you wrote it, but you also understand it. So, something you have said might make perfect sense to you, but a prospect looking for your services may not know the industry terminology and therefore be confused by your content.
The best way to review it all is to have a friend go through it all – one that will be brutally honest with you! Ideally, not someone who knows your industry, or they won’t pick up on any confusing terminology.
On the other hand, there could be too much content (overwhelmingly so), or it talks a lot about what you do, but not what you can do for your clients. Again, think from a prospects point of view – can you honestly say you answer the most common questions you get asked?
If you are relying on business to come in from your website, then I would recommend hiring a copywriter to review/re-write your content. It will be a very worthwhile investment.
7. Terrible User Experience
Another area you could get a friend or even a client to review is the user experience. What are their thoughts when they first hit your website?
Is the layout good, are the colours easy on their eyes, are the headings & content clear? Are you using too many pop ups? Whilst these are great for lead generation, are you bombarding people with it the minute your page opens? Ad here, survey there, oh and please subscribe to my mailing list? (so I can bombard you some more!)
Can you easily navigate through to your other pages? Is the content easy to find? Again, try to think like a prospective client and read / click as you think they might. Does the home page lead onto your services pages, and can they easily contact you or book time in your diary if they wished?
Fly ins, scrolling images and pop-ups can be too much, if not done in the right proportions, so just check your site to make sure it isn’t annoying.
As you can see, a high bounce rate isn’t always a bad thing, and in the case of a landing page, should be reviewed alongside your conversation rate. But at the end of the day, any issues identified can generally be rectified fairly easily.
Hopefully the areas discussed above have given you some things to think about, but if you are keen to understand more about this, have a read of a couple of my earlier blogs where I talk about Ways to Spring Clean Your Website, and Image SEO Optimisation tips, both of which include areas which will improve speed too.