When you’ve invested blood, sweat, and tears into website design, you want it to perform on every level. A well-designed website should serve as a bridge between you and your audience – one that guides them along the customer journey and forms a connection with your brand. There are a lot of ways to measure your website’s success but one you’ve probably heard the most about is bounce rate.
Bounce rate is an important metric, but it’s also one that’s frequently misunderstood – including just how much weight you should put on it as a stand-alone metric to measure the success of your web design. It’s a question many businesses have, and one that’s often difficult to find a straightforward answer.
What Exactly Is Bounce Rate?
One of the main reasons so many businesses aren’t exactly sure how to deal with bounce rate is that they only have surface understanding of what it is. The basic definition of bounce is pretty simple – it’s the percentage of visitors that leave your site without ever venturing past the page they landed on.
For example, if you have 10 people land on your website and 7 of them leave without clicking on a single navigation tool, whether it’s the menu or a clickable link that leads them to another page, then your bounce rate is 70%. This is the short answer, but in reality bounce rate can be more complex.
For starters, there are different ways to look at bounce rates. You might look at it straight on, as in the example above. However, you can also set your metrics to consider visitor interactions, even if they never leave the page they landed on. You might set your metrics to discount visitors that clicked on and watched a video on your homepage – even if they never left that page. You can also look at bounce from the perspective of a single landing point, multiple segments of landing points together, or your site as a whole. It suddenly becomes easy to see why bounce has become such a muddled metric.
Is Google Concerned with Bounce?
This really is the million-dollar question, especially if you’ve been putting effort into SEO. While Google’s algorithm takes a lot of factors into consideration, hundreds of them in fact, it’s rumored that bounce rate on its own isn’t one. If you have a high bounce rate, this alone won’t factor much into your SEO performance.
However, all the reasons for a high bounce rate might, as well as the fact that you’re also missing out on key interactions that Google does look at. For instance, how long people are staying on your site is a major indicator of the level of user experience your web design is providing.
So, the question is how concerned you should really be about bounce rate. Well, this answer is going to be different for each business, especially since a high bounce rate isn’t always a bad thing. Let’s say you have a simple lead form on your home page that doesn’t redirect the user anywhere else once they submit their email. You might not have lured them to another page – yet, but you did manage to make a connection that will fuel further engagement.
Your concern about bounce rate should be directly proportional to how important it is for your visitors to navigate away from the landing point. If you’re an e-commerce business, then directing visitors to your product pages is essential, and bounce rate matters a lot. If your web design is simple, with only a couple pages to begin with, leading the visitor away from their landing point might not be as influential in your overall success.
What’s Behind a High Bounce Rate?
There are plenty of opinions out there about what constitutes a high bounce rate. Generally speaking, for most businesses a bounce rate of 80% or more is considered abysmal. If you’re hitting the 50% – 70% range, then you’re about average. If your bounce rate falls below 50%, well then you’re pretty much crushing it.
The reasons that your bounce rate might be high are many, with some of them being a much bigger deal than others. If your bounce rate is caused by a user experience issue, then focusing on improving your bounce is crucial.
For instance, if your website is taking forever ( and by forever, we mean more than 3 seconds) to load on mobile devices, you’re probably losing visitors left and right to bounce. This is a bad thing, and something that needs to be remedied sooner, rather than later, with a focus on updated web development.
It might also be that your web page is lacking something in the engagement department. If there’s nothing there to capture and maintain their attention, or if they can’t easily figure out how or why to move onto the next page, they’re probably just going to back away and forget all about you.
Another reason you might be experiencing a high bounce rate is that the visitor didn’t land on the site for the reasons they had intended. This happens when a link is misleading or unclear. It can also create a great deal of frustration on the visitor’s part and can reflect poorly upon your business.
Improving Your Bounce Rate
At the end of the day, the longer you can keep visitors engaged, and encourage them to move deeper into your site, the better. A high bounce rate might not be the end of the road as far as SEO is concerned, but it can be an indicator that you’re not providing the level of customer satisfaction and user experience to your visitors that you should be.
Are you satisfied with your bounce rate? If not, we can help with a strategic approach to web development that leaves visitors engaged and craving more of your brand. We’re the award-winning web design agency in Boston that knows exactly how to generate the results you’re looking for and improve your bounce rate. Contact GoingClear Interactive today to learn more.