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No More High Bounce Rate – Step-by-step guide

I have been thinking about doing something with my bounce rate for a while. It’s just way too high. If you’re wondering what it is, it’s web statistics, and it’s a way to measure success (at least according to me).

When I talk about bounce rate, I like to start with an example. For instance, if one of your visitors only visits one page on your website, the bounce rate for this particular visitor is 100%. If your bounce rate is 50%, it means that half of your visitors are watching more than one page. And the other half are only watching one page and then leave your website.

Wikipedia describes it a lot better than me:

It represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and “bounce” (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site. The formula used to calculate bounce rate is: Bounce rate = total number of visits viewing only one page / total number of visits

Why is it a measure for success?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that it’s the only measure for success, because it’s not. What I am saying is that most people want a low bounce rate, because a low bounce rate means that visitors are watching more than one page when they visit your website. We all want our visitors to visit as many of our pages as possible, don’t we?

High bounce rate is not all bad

There are many discussions about why a high bounce rate is not bad. For instance, if you are selling something, your goal might be to get people to buy as fast as possible. You are not looking for people to visit many pages on your website. You just want them to click the order button. And the same goes for subscribing to a newsletter. If that’s all you want them to do, a high bounce rate might actually be good.

What I am saying is that you need to look at the specific page or website and your goals, before you start analyzing the bounce rate.

To me, on the blog you are reading right now, low bounce rate represents high quality content. Don’t you agree?

How to find the bounce rate

I am using Google Analytics for all my web statistics. I highly recommend it, as it’s completely free, easy to use and very powerful. I even use Google Analytics to get statistics for all my marketing campaigns.

When I log in to my account, I click on content in the left menu, and then I click on Top content.

Find bouncerate in Google Analytics

I believe that I don’t have to explain how to find the bounce rate in the table. It’s in the fifth column, and the title of the column is bounce rate. Here’s an even better and more detailed way to find the bounce rate.

Ways to lower your bounce rate

There are many reasons why your bounce rate is fairly high. One of the most important reasons is your content. If the content is not relevant for the visitor, she will most likely leave. The same happens if your content suck. So, improving your content will certainly help. A better design will also be helpful.

You should also improve the sidebar of your blog. Make the content relevant for your readers.

One of the things I have not been doing well enough, is adding relevant links to all my content. And that’s what I am suggesting today.

Let me tell you what I am doing

I am doing this, starting today. So, I don’t have any results to share with you, at least not yet.

I filter the bounce rate to see only the articles with more than 90% bounces (people only reading this one article and leaving). Then I add only the most visited articles with more than 90% bounce rate.

Here are my top 5 list of most visited articles for March 15 (one day) with a higher bounce rate than 90%.

Top 5 articles with high bouncerate

After I have found the articles with bounce rate above 90% and more than 10 visits a day, I start to edit them. The only thing I do, is that I add a recommended reading tip.

For instance, this is what I just did for an article that has more than 300 page views a day.

recommended reading

I have used the exact same method for the 10 most visited articles with the highest bounce rate. Since I did this right before I wrote this post, I don’t have any numbers to show you. But I believe that this method works.

What do you think?

And, have you done anything to lower your bounce rate?



16 responses to “No More High Bounce Rate – Step-by-step guide”

  1. Himanshu Chanda says:

    Thats a good idea. I definitely need to track this one as it is easy to implement. BTW do you feel editing already published articles is OK with respect to SEO? I mean Google shouldnt consider this as black hat

    • jens says:

      Hi Himanshu,

      That’s a great question. I have been thinking a lot about it, but so far I haven’t found anything to imply that it’s black hat. I believe that Google are just looking at the content as being updated, and we do that all the time with static websites, so why not with blogs?

      For instance, I have updated my about page probably 100 times.

      The only real problem I see with implementing “my” strategy, is that I don’t know if it can mean less visitors from Google. For instance, the blog post I use as an example has more than 300 page views every single day. But, what happens when I start editing the content? Adding new words might make Google consider it less important (now it’s at the top 10 for the keyword facebook banners). That’s the only real concern I have 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your comment.

  2. jens says:

    Hey,

    Yes, I believe there’s a connection between bounce rate and coversion rate. I’m curious about your free ebooks page. Have you added banners to this page, or text links? How do you promote it to your visitors?

    Thanks a lot for your comment.

  3. jens says:

    Hey,
    Yes, I believe there’s a connection between bounce rate and coversion rate. I’m curious about your free ebooks page. Have you added banners to this page, or text links? How do you promote it to your visitors?
    Thanks a lot for your comment.

  4. jens says:

    Thanks a lot for your feedback 🙂

  5. jens says:

    Hey,

    It’s always a good thing to check the bounce rate first, because you might not have the same problem as me 🙂

    Thanks a lot for your comment.

  6. Richard Chidike says:

    You have got some great piece of information in this post. I think i need read this over again as I can;t help but appreciate the information. Great work.

  7. Tina says:

    Your post remind me to check my bounce rate. I will check it first, then I might will apply your tips.

  8. Carolyn says:

    Well, Jens, I just lowered your Bounce Rate, I think. I read your blog on Karma and really liked it so looked at your sidebar to see other recent articles I might be interested in.

    This was very helpful as I didn’t really understand Bounce Rate before this.

    What would you say is a good Bounce Rate? One we should strive for? I have Google Analytics which tells me mine, but I don’t know if it’s “good” or not.

    • jens says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      I believe it really depends. My bounce rate is high, about 75%, and that’s mainly because I have written about so many different topics. So, when a person visits my site in order to download Facebook banners, he will just leave right away.. because I don’t provide any other information he’s looking for.

      At the college where I work, our bounce rate is below 45%, and that’s awesome. But, again, that’s mostly because all the content we offer are relevant to almost all the visitors.

      Actually, I don’t think much about bounce rate when I am writing my blog. But if you can have a bounce rate at apx. 70% I would be more than happy 🙂

      – Jens

  9. Dave Williams says:

    Very nice tips. I have a number of sites and some have very high bounce rates and others low. Some of them I’m happy that they’ve got high bounce rates since they are predominantly made to earn income from adsense or other methods and the high bounce rate is because visitors are clicking on ads which makes me money.

    However if it’s on a more in depth site that you want to get people viewing a lot of pages then it’s obviously a bad thing. It’s also a bad thing since I’m under the impression that the search engines don’t like high bounce rates (obvious why) and can penalise sites based on this.

    Nice tips in helping improve the problem, very smart and sensible.

  10. Bojan says:

    You promised a lot with the headline and didn’t deliver accordingly in my opinion. Tips seem useful, but some more empirical data would be awesome.

    I am way more interested in how this affected your clicks afterwards.

    • jens says:

      Hi Bojan,

      I agree, I was planning to give some more empirical data, but I’ve been too busy with finishing my novel. I completely forgot about it. Sorry about that.

      I have added this to my to-do list, and will write a post soon that will show some of the results.

      Sorry about that.

      – Jens

  11. Suzannah Raff says:

    This article was very helpful to me. You definately have good SEO because I got here from a 1 second Google Search!
    I have a question, I started my website 3 weeks ago and my bounce rate is 4% and dropping. My goal, however, was to provide quick news and get the to click on affiliate links or google ads. But it seems I have compelling content instead. Any suggestions on how to make money from compelling content and such a great bounce rate????

    • jens says:

      I recommend that you start doing email marketing, to people who’ll sign up via your website. Offer related products. This way you can sell products to the same people over and over again.

      I highly recommend this course from the brilliant Steve Scott: http://www.slymarketing.com/nobs

      I have been going through all the details of it during the past two weeks, and it’s the best affiliate course I’ve read.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Jens

  12. Asho says:

    For my site bounce rate is not constant… sometime it is below 60% and sometimes it is 80%… and also bounce rate changes for different countries… for india the bounce rate is low but for USA the bounce rate is very high… i tried everything but i can’t figure out how to reduce bounce rate…

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