Bounce rate is a metric representing the percentage of site visitors who land on your website and do nothing on the page they entered. Here’s how Google webmasters define this number:

Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.’

Unless your page requires no further action at all (which happens rarely), high bounce rate may mean:

  • your site content isn’t quality enough;
  • your visitors usually don’t find what they expect to see;
  • irrelevant audience clicks through your site.

Have you ever left a shop just because their sales assistant was too pushy? Or maybe you just didn’t want to stay in a never-ending queue? You are not alone.

Now imagine your website visitors. They visit your site willing to take some targeted action – read an article, buy a product, or book some service, and then they face something that makes them leave it. One after another, people quickly return to search results causing your bounce rate to grow. Why does it happen and how can you stop it? In this post, you’ll find the answer.

1. Technical issues

This is the most obvious reason that is often overlooked. If your site isn’t displayed correctly, the quality content and engaging visuals make no difference.

If you’re seeing increased bounce rates, take a deeper look at your website. Are there certain pages returning a 404 error? Do the visual elements fail to load properly? Any of these issues can be crucial for your business.

Also, keep in mind that different devices and browsers may display web pages differently. That’s why it’s important to look at the page from your audience’s most popular browser and device configurations.

2. Slow loading speed

Nobody loves to wait. Especially in the 21st century. Especially mobile users. If it takes more than three seconds to load your page, get ready to lose 53% of visitors.

Here are the most common factors that could affect your site speed:

  • your server doesn’t include caching headers or resources are only cached for a short time
  • large image files
  • multiple landing page redirects
  • slow server response

In case you noticed your site speed is too low, it’s time to identify what causes the problem and fix it. To cope with it quickly, you may want to enlist the help of a site audit tool like Serpstat. The tool has both Site Audit and Page Audit features so that you can either analyze the whole site or just a single page. In the list of projects, create a new one with your URL, and click on Start Audit. When the report is ready, go to the Loading Speed section to see the issues that affect your site speed.

3. Confusing title and description tags

The more engaging your title and description tags look, the better. Right? No.

Trying to attract visitors with catchy but false titles may result in undesirable consequences. Seeing your snippets, users form expectations on what they will find on your landing page. People click through because you promise them something they’re looking for. If your page content appears to be completely different, it’s not surprising visitors will get discouraged and return to the search results.

To prevent such a disconnect, make sure your title and description tags contain a clear description of your landing page content.

4. Poor UX

Absence of a mobile version, challenging navigation, irritating pop-ups, too fancy design, etc. – all these factors may affect user experience significantly.

I’ve circled out several tips that will help you deliver better user experience and reduce your bounce rate:

  • Try not to overdo it with your website design. The more minimalistic it looks, the better.
  • Create a clear site structure. Add the hamburger menu, use breadcrumbs, and develop an internal linking strategy.
  • Provide a responsive design or mobile version of your site. Mind that your call-to-action buttons and search fields should fit the size of a finger. Have you ever zoomed the page trying to tap the right button? This applies to your online forms as well.
  • Avoid numerous disruptive pop-ups.

5. Irrelevant inbound links

If users come to your page clicking through a link with irrelevant anchor text, they are most likely to bounce soon after seeing unrelated content.

Such things happen when a writer links to your site in the wrong part of the text or simply selects very general anchor text for your specific topic. Ideally, anchor text should have the same keywords highlighted as the targeted keyword of a web page.

To check your link profile in a few clicks, you can go with such SEO tools as Ahrefs or Serpstat. Simply enter your domain URL, and go to the Backlinks section.

Here you’ll find the list of sources referring to your web pages with the anchor texts they use. Examine the results to identify irrelevant links and reach out to the authors asking to either remove the links or change the anchors.

6. No clear call to action

So you want your visitors to take some action on your site. But is it clear enough what you want them to do?

If you want to reduce your bounce rate, make sure every page contains a call to action. Do you want them to purchase your product? Add ‘buy now with 20% discount’ CTA. Do you want them to keep spending time on your site? Add ‘you may also like’ menu.

7. Everything is fine

Last but not least. What if growing bounce rate doesn’t mean you should reduce it?

The thing is that a ‘perfect’ bounce rate is different for different types of pages. In case it’s not necessary for your visitors to engage with your page, it’s natural that your bounce rate is fairly high.

If the purpose of the page is purely informational, a high bounce rate isn’t a metric you should worry about.

It’s difficult to determine a ‘good’ bounce rate for a website. However, if this number starts to increase, you should definitely look into the reasons. Examine your website, identify the issues affecting your bounce rate, and eliminate them.

Author Bio

Adelina Karpenkova is a Brand Specialist at Serpstat, an all-in-one SEO platform. She loves providing actionable tips to help readers improve their marketing and SEO strategies. She thinks content marketing is the best mechanism to claim your expertise and build your brand. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.