Morning Dough
To: Dough Readers

SEO

How to Reduce Website Bounce Rate?

Your website’s bounce rate is an interesting metric. It’s extremely important, but it’s also one of the most poorly understood metrics in the digital marketing space. We think it measures one thing but it’s measuring another, and while the difference is subtle, it’s critical for understanding how to influence it.

Understanding How Your Bounce Rate is Calculated:

  1. Force Google Analytics to Ping Home Regularly
  2. Install an Infinite Scroll Plugin
  3. Paginate Blog Post Content
  4. Use Call to Action Plugins
  5. Use a Related Posts Plugin
  6. Write Better Content

Understanding How Your Bounce Rate is Calculated

First, let’s talk about what Google says, directly from the source. I’m going to quote a couple of the relevant passages here:

“A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens only a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.”

Here’s another:

“Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.”

Here we learn two things. First, that the definition of a bounce, as recorded by Google Analytics, is a session that only pokes the Analytics servers once. On most websites, that happens when the user loads the page since the analytics script is somewhere in the header or (sometimes) footer of the page.

Bounce Rate and Exit Rate

The other thing we learn is that the length of the session doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the server is only pinged once. If I land on your site, sit there for 20 hours, then leave, it counts as a bounce, because I never triggered a second analytics interaction.  Keep this in mind, because it’s relevant to one of our solutions later.

When is a high bounce rate not a bad thing? The truth is your bounce rate doesn’t tell the full story. If you want to see the actor list for a movie, you can type the movie’s name into Google and visit the IMDB page, where the full cast is available on the page. You can have your question answered and never trigger a second analytics interaction, so even though you were satisfied, IMDB records it as a bounce.

The same thing can be said for blog posts. A user has a question, which you have answered in your blog. They find your blog post, and they click through and read it. Satisfied, they leave. No engagement, no comments, no shares, or anything else. The user is satisfied, but since they never triggered a second interaction, it looks like a bounce.

This is a problem. Sites that are highly relevant resources for solving problems and looking up information can have extremely high bounce rates simply because they make no differentiation between 1-second click-and-bounce visits and lengthy stays where the user researched a topic, read the page, and left satisfied.

Luckily, we know a possible solution, thanks to that little bit of information Google gave us up above. Here are my solutions, starting with that one.

  1. Force Google Analytics to Ping Home Regularly
  2. Install an Infinite Scroll Plugin
  3. Paginate Blog Post Content
  4. Use Call to Action Plugins
  5. Use a Related Posts Plugin
  6. Write Better Content

Read more here.

Additional Links:

What is Bounce Rate?

What is Hard Bounce?

What is Soft Bounce?

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