If you’ve noticed your bounce rate in Google Analytics creeping higher and higher, it’s time to work out what could be causing so many of your visitors to leave.
A bounce rate is the percentage of site visitors that enter through and leave from the same page, a similar analytic to the exit rate. Let’s break down the two metrics to show the difference.
An exit rate is the percentage of visitors that leave your site from a particular page, regardless of whether they have visited other pages or not. The exit rate figure is just designed to show the points on your site where visitors navigate away (possibly from losing interest).
In contrast, bounce rates reflect those site visitors who view only a single page and then leave. A bounce will be recorded for visitors regardless of how long they spend on that one page, but obviously, you want to encourage them to visit as many pages as possible.
It’s not always that clear-cut, however, and other aspects should be taken into account. For example, in some cases, a high bounce rate could be seen as a sign that you’re giving people what they want, quickly. Or if your time on page is still quite high then you can infer that your visitors have still spent time-consuming your content, as opposed to clicking in and out straight away.
Either way, it’s vital to determine why certain pages on your site are leaking visitors, and the following 11 reasons should give you a head start in working that out.
Images Don’t Load
If the images on your pages are loading too slowly or come up blank, you could be losing visitors because of it.
Statistics show that articles with images get 94% more total views than those without. If your images are not loading you may be ruining the experience for your visitors. Make sure you compress the size of your image files before uploading them or look into using AMP HTML for your blog pages, to make them easier to view on mobile.
Nothing will make someone click out of a web page faster than a blank page or a 404 error. These will inevitably happen from time to time but it’s important to keep on top of broken links and repair them as soon as possible.
Google Analytics provides some handy options for finding broken links on your site. You can create segments or secondary dimensions for your page content that will filter any pages with messages such as ‘Page not found’ or ‘internal server error’. Once you have located the pages that have bad links you can fix the issue and prevent further bounces.
Content Does Not Match The Headline
The primary reasons for people clicking through to your page are the headline and the meta description in SERPs. If the content on that page does not deliver what the headline or description has promised, then visitors will likely click back out again.
It’s important to make your headline catchy and intriguing, but don’t deviate from the truth. Getting clicks is great but they become meaningless if the audience is not actually interested in what they find.
Make sure that the content on your page addresses the topics raised in your headline and description, and your chances of people bouncing back to the search results are decreased.
Load Time Is Slow
The fact is, nearly everyone on the internet is impatient. Why wait for this particular page to load when you can probably find hundreds of others that answer your query?
These days, internet users expect a page to load in approximately 2 seconds. Approximately 30% of people will abandon a page if it takes longer than 6 seconds to load. That’s not a lot of time to get your audience’s attention.
Make sure you are doing everything you can to reduce the load time of your site, including compressing image and video files, adding external links for larger files rather than embedding and consider implementing AMP HTML for the mobile version of your site.
The Answer Was Found
As mentioned previously, a high bounce rate is not always a bad thing. If your article or page content was comprehensive and helpful, your visitor may have sufficient information to answer their query.
This is positive news, as you have successfully provided something of tangible use to your audience, and they are much more likely to remember your brand because of it.
Or, You’re Attracting The Wrong Audience
On the flip side, you may be getting attention from internet users that are not interested in your brand.
Page visitors that have an interest in your product or service are much more likely to dig further to find out more or get information about your business. Some visitors, however, simply want a quick fix for a problem or an answer to their query – they do not necessarily care about where they get it from. These people are not going to visit your product or pricing pages, which is where you need to be directing your traffic.
This can occur when the articles you publish cover a number of topics, or if you are newsjacking a popular event or story. The visitor may be interested because of the topic your content is tied to, rather than the product or service it is centered around.
This has happened with our own blog as well. For example, we wrote an article about the best examples of tourism campaigns in 2013, and it tends to attract a lot of traffic from people looking for a holiday or those interested in tourism. These visitors are not necessarily interested in content marketing, however!
If this happens every now and then it’s not a big deal, but if it’s a regular occurrence you may need to reassess how you are choosing the topics that you write about and how they relate to your brand.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. It’s possible that people are bouncing from your page simply because your content is not that great.
Make sure you are creating something helpful and engaging for your audience to keep them interested and encourage further browsing on your site. Check out your competition in the SERPs and create some 10x content that will keep their eyeballs on the page.
Consider the layout of your pages, too – is your site optimised for mobile viewing? More and more people are using their smartphones as their primary source of research and entertainment – it’s important you are catering for their requirements.
Do your pages have pop-ups that cover the majority of the content? This could be causing your visitors to leave.
Internet users prefer to have a streamlined browsing experience, and interstitials (pop-ups that appear while a page is loading) that cover content or are difficult to get rid of will likely frustrate them. A study by Hubspot, an inbound marketing company, showed that 73% of people dislike pop-up ads, and 64% have installed ad blockers because they find them annoying or intrusive.
As well as affecting your bounce rate, they could have a negative impact on your search ranking. As of this month, Google will be cracking down on sites that still have these kinds of pop-ups on mobile versions.
Rather than risk losing visitors over pop-ups, consider swapping them for a banner ad or a CTA button that is far less disruptive to the browsing experience.
No Follow-Up Content
If your audience is reading your content right until the end, it’s a good indication they have enjoyed it and might want to know more. If you don’t provide them with easy access to more articles or pages, it’s just as easy for them to exit your site and go somewhere else.
Include some related articles or suggested further reading at the bottom of your pages to encourage your readers to dig a bit deeper into your site.
No CTA Buttons
Just like having suggested articles for further reading, your audience may not take any further action on your site if you do not use call-to-actions effectively.
Make it easy for your visitors to navigate around the site and provide suggestions with CTAs. You can direct them to your resource library, your newsletter sign-up form or your product pages. These buttons guide your audience deeper into your site so that they do not bounce out of the same page they entered.
External Links Open In The Same Tab
This is an easy one to overlook. Unless you ensure any external articles or sites you link to in your content open in another window, it will cause the visitor to leave your page.
This doesn’t necessarily indicate a loss of interest on their part, but it will be recorded as a bounce in your Google Analytics, and you’re much less likely to get them back once they’re in the grip of another website. To prevent this from occurring make sure that every external link in your content is always going to open in another tab or window. If you have WordPress, click the link icon and check the ‘open in new tab’ tickbox. It’s a simple way to bring down bounce rates and keep your visitors on your site.