When looking at website analytics for your business or client, one of the metrics that is often called out is a website’s bounce rate. A “bounce” happens when someone visits your website and leaves without further visiting another page on your site or engaging with any content. The bounce rate refers to the percentage of those users who bounce versus total visitors to your website.
Bounce rate is a critical metric for everyone to know. It gives you insight as to why people are leaving your site – There are several reasons why this could be happening. Maybe your website is not providing the information a user wants to see or maybe your web page is taking too long to load the content. Knowing that your bounce rate is too high lets you make adjustments accordingly to keep users on your website longer, and in turn, lower your bounce rate.
When delivering a bounce rate metric to our clients in weekly and monthly reports, there can be some confusion around the number itself. When the bounce rate goes down, it’s good news! However, if literally any other metric (like sessions) goes down, we start sweating. We love to see a bounce rate decrease, but combining this number with the rest of their metrics can be confusing. So, we decided we’re canning bounce rate and presenting our clients with a “stay rate” from now on.
“You Can’t Just Make Up a New Metric!”
Sure we can! Consider this – If your client’s bounce rate is at 45 percent, that means 55 percent of users stayed on the site and interacted with your website. We don’t know about you, but we’d rather hear about the number of users that stayed on our website over the number of users that left.
Not convinced? Take this, for example; if we were to tell a client that their bounce rate went up three percent, this is a bad thing. However, if we were to tell them that their stay rate went up three percent, that would be great news!
Is a Low Stay Rate Ever a Good Thing?
A high stay rate isn’t standard for all websites. If your website’s main purpose is to serve as a blog, you should expect to see low stay rates. Oftentimes, the reason people visit this type of website is to read a single post. If your content is great, it should satisfy your audience enough after reading it once, causing them to navigate off your page and apply what they learned out in the real world. To avoid a low stay rate on your blogs, try using internal linking to direct users to other areas of your website.
Informational pages, like contact pages, also experience a low stay rate. Once the user has the information they need from your page, like your address, phone number, or email, they’re likely to navigate off the page to contact you. Take a look at the average bounce (and stay!) rate for your business or industry below.
How to Increase Your Stay Rate
If your stay rate has been on the low side, there are several simple tactics we can implement to improve that number. If the issue is that people aren’t clicking your CTA (call to action), maybe it is too far down the page, or not obvious enough. In this case, we would test moving it or changing the appearance.
Some of the common solutions for improving your stay rate include:
Enhance Your Calls to Action
A quick fix we like to recommend is updating your website’s calls to action (CTA). This can be as easy as moving a button higher up on your page, changing the button color, or updating the verbiage. We recommend testing whether this change made a positive or negative impact on your website through A/B testing, ensuring the test runs for long enough to reach statistical significance.
Improve Your Ads and SEO
SEO includes all things keywords, metadata, site speed, etc. When it comes to bounce rate, it is important to ensure you’re using metadata that accurately represents your content. Metadata is the information that appears in a Google Search results page. The purpose is to give users an idea of what is on the page they are about to click through to. This way the user gets exactly what they are looking for when they click through to your site, resulting in a better stay rate. For both your ads and SEO, check to see if you’re using the right keywords and sprinkle them throughout your content for optimal results.
It is also important to optimize your website for site speed. In this day and age, nobody has time to sit and wait for a page to load. PageSpeed Insights by Google is a great place to start when optimizing your site speed. Compressing large images and using a CDN are just a couple of ways you can make your site run faster.
Create Engaging and Relevant Content
The key to keeping visitors on your page is to have engaging content on your site. Videos are a great way to keep users engaged on your page and can be repurposed on social media, especially if they’re around one minute long. Photos, bullet points, and headers help break up text on a blog or case study. Using these, in conjunction with the appropriate keywords make content easy to read, thus keeping users on your site for longer. Additionally, your landing page should cater to exactly what it is ranking for on search engines. For example, if users are landing on your content that is ranking for “ice cream” only to discover that the article is targeted toward “ice cream,” but doesn’t actually have anything to do with ice cream, chances are users are going to bounce.
How Do I Know These Tactics Will Work?
It’s all about doing your research, understanding your goals, and understanding your audience. Once you have these down, you’ll be able to identify where you can apply these learnings for your benefit. For example, one of our banking clients wanted to appeal to a younger, millennial audience. Knowing that this audience leaned heavily on mobile interactions, the content hierarchy on the landing page where we were sending users was critical. Since we knew this content would have a high impact on conversions, we were able to update the layout of the landing page. By using our keyword research and simply putting more relevant content up top to better educate and achieve their goal of persuading millennials to sign up for an account, their site saw a 58% increase in traffic attributed to our SEO endeavors. Additionally, this client saw a 526% increase in conversions after just two months.
In this case, implementing easy changes, like moving the content around to cater to your audience, in conjunction with SEO efforts were the key to achieving our client’s goal.
Remember, it’s okay not to have a perfect, one hundred percent stay rate. It’s natural that users will bounce and it’s not always a bad thing. If you have any questions on improving the stay rate throughout your website, give us a call. Our SEO experts are ready to answer any and all questions you may have.
Written by Alejandra Guillen—Content Creator