How to reduce bounce rates

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How to reduce bounce rate on a page

Tips for optimizing content so people engage and your bounce rates drop.

You’ll never create a page that 100% of visitors fall in love with right away. It’s rare for a page that has substantial pager traffic and a bounce rate under 50%.

However, if your page has a bounce rate over 70%, there are probably some improvements to make.

(In simple terms, bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who land on your page and then leave without ever really engaging with it.)

The marketer’s goal is to get that bounce rate as low as possible. In order to do that, you need to understand why people are bouncing. This post will look at how you can do that with data, and changes you can make to improve your bounce rate.

A quick note on bounce rate vs engagement rate

As a metric, bounce rate is the inverse of engagement rate. They measure essentially the same thing, from different sides. And while we think engagement rate is in some ways a better metric, the marketing world is more accustomed to bounce rate, so that’s the language we’ll use in this post.

What is your bounce rate telling you?

A high bounce rate shows that:

  • People aren’t reading your content
  • People aren’t going on to explore your site
  • People aren’t converting

In other words: visitors don’t see anything that they want or need on your page, so they’re moving on to competing sites.

Notably, they clicked on the title of your page when it appeared in their Google search results. This means that your page has a lot of potential to convert. But the page in its current form isn’t getting there,

To understand what’s driving those bounce rates, let’s look at potential factors…

Why is my bounce rate so high?

Another way to pose this question: why aren’t visitors engaging with the content on your page?

There are a myriad of potential reasons why. In this section we’ll review some of the most common causes. Later on, we’ll look at data tools you can use to better identify the proper culprit for your own content.

Since there are so many factors, we group them into three categories:

  • Search intent
  • Page experience
  • Conversion opportunities or “Next steps”

Search intent

People have very particular questions, concerns, and goals in mind when they type any phrase into a search engine. If your page doesn’t obviously satisfy them, people are going to bounce.

For example, if somebody searches for 'best accounting software brands' and your page focuses exclusively on your product, that person is probably going back to the Google SERP page to try a different listing.

What does poor search intent alignment look like?

  • User concerns are not directly addressed
  • The narrative angle is too remedial or advanced
  • Content lacks clear, specific information
  • Tone is focused more on advertisement than education

Page experience

A visitor’s experience on your page is driven by a combination of factors: visual stability, mobile friendliness, accessibility, security, and readability among them.

Simply put, if your page gives someone a yucky feeling, they’re going to bounce. Common culprits of poor page experience:

  • Page loads too slowly
  • Visual design is cluttered
  • Content lacks narrative structure
  • Writing is generic
  • Images are generic or superfluous

Conversion opportunities or “Next steps”

In the Ercule offices, we often use the term, “next steps” – as in: “What are the next steps for a reader to take after reading through a page?”

These include calls to action for traditional conversion opportunities (like newsletter signups, demo requests, whitepaper downloads) as well as softer steps, like clicking into another blog post to read on your site.

If readers don’t know where to click next – or aren’t given any exciting options to click on – then they’re going to bounce back to Google, even if they spent some time reading your content.

Common causes of wasted conversion opportunities:

  • Asset offered is irrelevant to reader
  • Calls to action are unclear
  • Calls to action are too few and far between

How to update a page for search intent

We’ll approach this task here in three main stages:

  1. Collect data on how search intent is currently functioning on your site.
  2. Ask some critical questions about the page
  3. Revise accordingly

Tools to help you understand search intent

You need to understand the phrases for which your page is ranking in search. You can use Google Search Console, Ahrefs, and Semrush to see that data.

What you find might surprise you.

Questions to ask

While looking at search performance data, ask yourself:

  • The terms that our page ranks for – are we aligned with the intent?
    • Does our content reflect the questions and concerns that people have when they click on our page via organic search?
  • Do we even want to align with our top-ranking keywords?
    • Do the queries align with our target audience at all? Or should we revise the page for an entirely different query?

Best practices for aligning search intent

Tips for aligning content with user intent:

  • Let audience research guide your choice of subject and point of view
  • Use headings and subheadings to make the text more organized and easier to read
  • Address the specific questions that users have
  • Use simple and concise language
  • Provide relevant and useful links
  • Cut irrelevant tangents and fluff

How to improve page experience

As we did in the previous section, we’ll approach this task here in three main stages:

  1. Collect data on how page experience is currently functioning on your site.
  2. Ask some critical questions about the page
  3. Revise accordingly

Tools to use to understand page experience factors

Microsoft Clarity is a free heat mapping tool that shows you the areas on a page that attracts the most attention.

PageSpeed Insights is a free Google tool that will quickly gauge technical elements of page performance and suggest ways to improve it.

Questions to ask

Discuss the following questions to ask when analyzing page experience

  • Which subjects are getting the most engagement, according to the heat map?
    • Can we expand on the most engaging subhead topics?
    • Are people making it all the way down to the end of the post?
  • Does the page load at a reasonably fast speed?
    • Can images be optimized for file size?
    • Are outdated javascript trackers lingering?

Best practices for page experience

When optimizing for page experience, you might think of the page as a storefront. The goal is to make it welcoming, comfortable, and easy for visitors to find what they want.

  • Clarify language in subheadings
  • Compress files and images to increase page speed
  • Cut out distracting pop-ups
  • Minimize redirects
  • Simplify page design

Note: This area is not always in a marketer/writer’s control. But you can always suggest areas to improve.

How to optimize conversion opportunities

We’ll approach this task, as we did with the other, through three main stages:

  1. Collect data on how search intent is currently functioning on your site.
  2. Ask some critical questions about the page
  3. Revise accordingly

Tools to use to assess conversion

Google Analytics provides the most reliable data on page engagement, traffic, and referrals.

Microsoft Clarity the free heat mapping tool allows you to see which calls to action garnered the most interest.

Questions to ask

Ask yourself the following questions while looking at GA and heat maps data:

  • Are there ample CTAs?
    • Are CTAs scattered throughout the page? Or do you only have one at the very end?
  • Which CTAs are getting the most (or least) engagement?
    • Are there any commonalities among the most engaging calls to action?
    • How are CTAs aligned with the visitor’s knowledge level and sales funnel stage?

Best practices for optimizing conversion opportunities

When it comes to revising calls to action, our advice is simple:

  • Choose the most relevant possible offers
  • Include CTAs throughout the page
  • Learn from the CTAs that get clicks

If you have advanced personalization tools set up for your site, that’s great. But you can get a lot done with simple sales funnel alignment and copy writing.

How Ercule can help

As an agency, we help brands monitor performance and strategically update pages every day. But we also want to make those processes accessible to anyone.

So we created the Ottimo app to make it a breeze for marketers to figure out which pages are really delivering, which ones have room for improvement, and which ones just aren’t cut out for it.

If you want to chat about what’s possible with your content library, just give us a shout!

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