What is your Bounce Rate and Why Does it Matter for SEO?
There are a number of metrics that business owners and marketers have to wrap their head around, meaning it can be challenging to keep up with it all. One of the most important metrics to educate yourself on are your bounce rate analytics, as these figures directly affect your SEO.
Your bounce rate reveals the percentage of people that land on your site but don’t take any action on the page they reach. Because they haven’t clicked any links, a ‘read more’ tab, menu item or anything else on your page, the Google Analytics server never receives a trigger from the visitor. The user has therefore bounced off your page, never engaging with the landing page and ending their visit after glancing at just one page.
The bounce rate therefore helps you ascertain the quality and relevance of your page to the audience. A high bounce rate indicates that visitors aren’t finding what they are looking for when they reach your page, that the content is low quality or that the audience doesn’t match the purpose of the page. In some rare cases, a high bounce rate can instead mean your visitors immediately found what they were looking for.
Google calculates your bounce rate by dividing the number of single-page sessions with all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions in which users only viewed a single page.
The relationship between your bounce rate and SEO
Understanding your bounce rate will help you to optimise your site better, thereby increasing your rankings. However, remember that a high bounce rate doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. If the page in question is simply designed to be a contact or address page, it’s perfectly understandable that visitors will quickly drop by to get your details and then leave.
If, on the other hand, you are hoping for engagement, a high bounce rate is a very concerning stat. A simple solution is checking to see whether your calls-to-action are clear – a well placed ‘subscribe to our newsletter’ or ‘call us now’ button can work wonders.
Now, your bounce rate isn’t something the Google algorithm directly considers, but that doesn’t mean it has no effect on your SEO. RankBrain, which seeks to improve search results for users by understanding their search intent, listed the bounce rate as the third-most important ranking factor of Google’s algorithm. If a user leaves your page without interacting further, RankBrain may think you are not meeting the searcher intent adequately and may therefore view you as unworthy of a high rank. Furthermore, a lower bounce rate means a better user experience as well as greater chance of conversions and sales.
Understanding and reducing your bounce rate
But how can you know what sort of bounce rate you should actually be aiming for, and what you can do about improving yours? According to Brafton, the average bounce rate is 58.18%, although the figures vary depending on the type of business in question.
In order to understand your bounce rate, you need to segment your figures and assess all the possible variables, as otherwise you are simply looking at one nebulous statistic. Some options include segmenting by age, gender, affinity, location, new vs returning visitors, browser, device, acquisition and landing page.
You may find, for example, that returning visitors consume your content eagerly, while new visitors are simply clicking away from it. This can help you modify your content or your page design for different audiences.
Now that you have an understanding of the metrics, you can begin optimising your site through an A/B testing process. This means trialling different types of content and designs to determine which one visitors respond to better. You should monitor your site consistently and optimise it accordingly to ensure that your visitors’ changing preferences are addressed.
If you focus on providing value to your visitors and follow best practices, your bounce rates will decrease while your conversions increase.
Understand your Analytics with Digital Squad
While your bounce rate is an important metric to take stock of, we know you have a million other analytics and insights to delve into, all while also running your business! Entrust the task to Digital Squad instead, the leading SEO agency Auckland in New Zealand. Simply get in touch with one of our SEO experts for a candid chat on improving your bounce rate as well as optimising your site from every angle.
Hania Syed is a Melbourne-based content specialist with a passion for marketing and storytelling. When she’s not writing, she can be found exploring the city’s cafes or libraries. You can visit her at www.haniasyed.com or www.linkedin.com/in/haniasyed