Why Your Bounce Rate is Bad (and How to Fix It)
Anybody obsessed with improving search engine optimization strategies for their website has likely heard of the term “bounce rate”. While just one of dozens of different important metrics, bounce rates are both meaningful and indicative of potential problems (or successes). Simply put, your bounce rate indicates what percentage of people visiting your website immediately leave.
There are a number of reasons why bounce rates can be elevated for various brands – and not all of them are unavoidable. Below, we’ll talk about the primary reasons why your bounce rate is currently bad and what you can do to correct the problem.
Use a Mobile Responsive Design
One of the biggest reasons why websites experience higher bounce rates is due to the lack of a mobile-optimized layout for visitors. Google and other major search engines have come close to perfecting the display of relevant results for people performing searches: with that being true, how can a website experience so many bounces?
As it turns out, pinging links to search engines that may feature good content – but nevertheless have poor formatting for mobile users – is a major cause of higher bounce rates. Sites that load slowly or are illegible are not much use to those on mobile devices, so they immediately leave and look elsewhere.
Don’t Advertise Dishonestly
When targeting search engine niches – whether through organic SEO efforts or paid methods – people can only see a fraction of your page at first glance. Once people arrive at your website, they can then see what you have to offer in full.
If the content or offerings is different or otherwise misleading, the average person will immediately leave your website. It does absolutely no good to attract somebody to your website through deception: in fact, it can actually harm your website (as higher bounce rates can reduce search engine visibility).
Your Pages Load Slowly
Remember what we mentioned about mobile users? It’s important to cater to mobile users as they are now a majority of those pinging links and executing queries via search engines. Even if your visitors aren’t on mobile devices, however, people are increasingly intolerant of slow loading pages.
There are a number of reasons why pages can load slowly. For mobile users, unoptimized pages contain bigger files and therefore take longer to download. If you are using a popular content system such as WordPress, every plugin added to your website actually slows down loading speeds – even if they are deactivated. Additionally, poorly-optimized databases can wreak havoc on load times. These are just a few examples of how your website could be turning people away due to speed.
Poorly Formatted Content
Even if you write the best content in the world, a poor presentation can cause people to roll their eyes and leave.
It’s essential that you optimize each page not just for search engines, but for readers as well. This means using important elements such as headers and subheadings, images and even a table of contents for longer, more detailed posts. By ensuring people can easily skim your content and find what they’re looking for, you’ll ensure many stick around a bit longer than they otherwise would.
Bounce rates are rarely elevated for no reason at all. The examples above are among the most common reasons for bounce rates, but there are many other potential issues that can affect how many people stay on your website. Whether you’ve suddenly noticed or problem or have been experiencing this for a long time, there are ways to treat this issue.