Remedy high bounce rates by actively hunting for what deters users from scrolling further
If prospective customers bounce off your website, this can be attributed to numerous factors, such as slow loading, poor content quality or a lack of CTAs, to name a few. User tracking tools can be used to pinpoint problem areas and avoid a complete overhaul of core pages. A thorough investigation into pain points can help restore user engagement and reduce a high bounce rate.
How to lower your bounce rate
Your website is the gatekeeper for all information about your products or services.
However, if elements of your site ward off prospective customers, your conversion rate is likely to topple. According to Google, bounce rate is 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.
To remedy a high bounce rate, you need to first diagnose the problem and detect the root causes for poor engagement. Google recommends a series of reports be used to detect your problem areas.
· Audience overview report (overall site bounce rate)
· Channels report (each channel grouping)
· All traffic report (each source/medium pair)
· All pages report (individual pages)
In addition to the guidance published by Google, you can use session recordings and dynamic heatmaps to study visitor movement, where they’re attracted to and where they lose interest throughout your site.
Common causes of high bounce rates
Misleading traffic sources
If you use clickbait content to attract clicks for the sole purpose of growing traffic, you’re at risk of higher bounce rates. Enticing H1’s can drive traffic, however, as readers scroll further, they’re likely to exit from the site as the body of the article fails to present any real value.
Imagine visiting an ice cream shop and asking for vanilla ice cream, but after making your way through the top layer, you realize that the inside of your cone is filled with banana ice cream. Ensure all your titles match the contents of the article, as if they’re misleading, this will trigger users to bounce off your website.
Fails to answer key questions
If a piece of content is vague, waffles and uses empty words, would you continue reading?
Content that’s concise and consistently addresses the question at hand will hold the user’s attention and increase session duration. Produce high-quality content by integrating keyword research into your content production strategy and capturing the depth of the topic by addressing related questions.
For example, when searching for recipes, BBC Good Food is often a high ranker. If I search for ‘ice cream recipes’ and pick ‘Ultimate Vanilla Ice Cream’, I can view the ingredients, method, nutritional information, FAQs, reviews, tips and related guides.
If I’m interested in calories per serving, or vegan alternatives, I can find this information within the confines of the same page, rather than bouncing off and searching elsewhere. This is an example of high-quality content that answers primary and secondary questions.
If your site is sparsely populated with content, it’s unlikely to explore the depths of core topics.
A website in short supply of information is less valuable to readers and can be a contributing factor to high bounce rates. From a user experience point of view, thin content will fail to add value and pull you down in the search engine results page (SERPs) for key search terms.
SEO and technical problems
Auditing your website regularly can help diagnose if there are any technical issues, such as broken links, slow loading speeds or poor mobile optimization. Are there any navigational issues? Are interlinks out of context and therefore pushing users away from your website?
By regularly analyzing successful customer journeys through user tracking, you can identify features that aid conversion and implement these across key pages.
If a prospective customer visits your website to start their research and is hit with hard-selling content, this is likely to result in information overload as they are yet to determine if your services or products are a right fit. If the customer is further down the sales funnel than your articles address, they may bounce off the page to avoid reading a beginner’s guide, when their knowledge surpasses intermediate level.
For example, if a company director in financial distress has received a winding up petition, they’ll urgently need access to content that addresses the next steps, including how to respond and avoid the compulsory closure of their company.
If your website addresses mild forms of creditor action, such as a final payment notice or reminder letter, and fails to cover extreme action, such as a winding up petition, this excludes an entire section of the sale funnel.
Plan your content strategy to capture each stage of the customer journey, which can be narrowed down to the awareness, consideration and decision stages, according to Hubspot.
Too many (or not enough) CTAs
If your website has too many or too few CTAs the user will have no clear funnel to travel through and will be unsure of what step to take next. A call to action provides clear direction and signposts prospective customers. If there are too many CTAs, the user will drop off as they have too many decisions to make. Too few CTAs and users will simply read your content and move along, leaving your site without any deeper connection.
Back to basics
The basic principles behind building a purposeful website that attracts customers and retains their interest is made up of the following elements.
- Web design
- Content quality
- User experience
- Search engine optimisation
- Tracking and reporting
In addition to this, Search Engine Journal, a world-renowned online hub for marketing best practices, also refers to improving targeted paid advertising and using live chat to coach visitors of your goals to reduce a high bounce rate.
A well-designed website populated with quality SEO optimized content can enhance user experience and drive conversions. To tackle high bounce rates across your sites, you need to take a combined approach that embraces the five elements touched upon above.
Investing in user tracking software can also provide an extra layer of insight that further uncovers the customer journey. By taking a razor-sharp approach to user tracking, you can access heat mapping and mouse tracking software to identify areas of your site that trigger interactions and are often neglected.
This information can then be used to A/B test a variety of call to actions, revised designs, and structural changes. Using real-life data to make informed changes can help reduce bounce rate and keep users engaged for longer.