My blog is still in its infancy, but in the three months that it has been alive, my bounce rate has averaged at 13.93%.
What is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is a metric provided by Google Analytics. Their definition is, “the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”
In simpler terms?
Bounce rate is the percentage of people who reach your site and immediately leave without engaging.
What Bounce Rate Should You Aim For?
Bloggers and webmasters typically try to keep their bounce rate as low as possible. According to Kissmetrics, the average bounce rate is around 40% – higher for lead generation and single page sites, and lower for retail and service sites.
If your bounce rate is higher than average, don’t worry about comparing yourself to others – aim to improve your bounce rate by a small percentage every month.
How to Keep Your Bounce Rate Low
As long as you’ve got reasonable control over your blog or website, it shouldn’t be very hard to lower your bounce rate. Here are a few ideas to help:
Change What Bounce Rate Means with Google Tag Manager
One of the reasons my bounce rate is so low is because I have changed the definition of “bounce rate” so that it is a more useful metric to me.
Instead of indicating single-page visits, I have doctored it so that “bounce rate” indicates people who:
- Only visit one page of my site
- Do not scroll through at least 10% of the landing page
- Do not engage by clicking on buttons or external links
- Do not spend at least 30 seconds on my site
You can define what you want Google to measure as bounces based on the goals for your site. Because my site is primarily content to be read (and I have no major e-commerce or revenue goals), I consider a user’s visit successful if they spend a reasonable amount of time or scroll through the content to read more.
If you would like to start tracking scrolling as events to re-define your bounce rate, Lunametrics has an easy way to do this through Google Tag Manager. They also have a guide to change the way GA and GTM track the time spent on your page, which improves the accuracy of Google Analytic’s measurement of time on site as well as changing the meaning of bounce rate to exclude visitors who spend a certain amount of time on your site.
Don’t have Google Tag Manager set up on your site? Here’s an easy guide to get you started.
Write Engaging Content
I’m not gonna lie – my content is pretty kickass.
I have heard that as a “best practice”, it is good to keep your blog posts between 400-600 words.
I call bullshit.
So far almost all of my posts have been 800+ words, many of them being over 1000 words.
I find that well-researched posts that cover a fairly specific topic in great depth have the most success on my blog. List-posts also do reasonably well, but only if they provide actual information that someone might not know off the top of their head.
Other things that keep my blog engaging include:
- Using high quality, relevant images
- Making posts easy to read by breaking them up with headers and bullet lists
- Being generally friendly and responsive in the comments to encourage future engagement
Promote Your Blog to Specific Audiences
Your bounce rate will also largely depend on where you get your traffic, and what your users expect when they visit your site.
If you place a search engine ad for the search term “best baked chicken recipe”, and the link leads to a page about vegetarianism, chances are users are going to high-tail it out of there immediately.
Similarly, if you Pin an image of a delicious meal with text that reads “Click for the complete recipe for the best baked chicken ever”, and the link leads to your vegetarian page, the users’ expectations will not be met and you will quickly lose your readers.
Making sure your title tags and meta description are very true to your content is one way to ensure that visitors that find you through organic search will stick around. If you make promises in the SERPs that your content doesn’t follow through with, people will have an unpleasant experience and leave, never to return.
Here are a few examples of sources of traffic that have the lowest bounce rate for my blog:
Here are a few examples of sources of traffic that have a higher bounce rate:
From this data I can begin to make a few educated assumptions.
Perhaps I should spend more time and energy on gaining Referrals by doing more outreach to other bloggers.
I might want to stay away from StumbleUpon because the majority of visitors coming from that source bounce from my site. Alternatively, I might want to ask myself what the user’s expectations are of my site when thy come from StumbleUpon, and find a way to improve my content so that it meets that audience’s needs.
Bounce rate is not a make-or-break metric, but it can give you insight into how your sight is performing in relation to your personal or business goals. If you run a content-heavy blog that is not a major source of revenue, bounce rate can provide great insight into how engaging your website is, and if you do have more specific events set up through Google Analytics, bounce rate can be engineered to provide you insight no matter your goals.