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How to Reduce Bounce Rate & Speed Tricks - Driving Traffic

How to Reduce Bounce Rate & Speed Tricks

By on December 13, 2012
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Bounce rate is the rate at which people immediately navigate away from your site.  It acts as an indicator of how useful, engaging or inviting your site is to visitors.

To get your sites bounce rate, use an analytics service such as Google analytics. While different industries and types of sites vary on average bounce rate, a general rule of thumb is that you want to try and keep your bounce rate below 50%. Your goal should be to have at least 55% of your visitors to stay 10 seconds or more. That seems to be the sweet spot.

There are numerous possible explanations for why your bounce rate might be high. The first thing I’d suggest is putting yourself in the shoes of your visitor. This isn’t easy when you have been slaving over the same site day after day, but try and take a fresh perspective. Is your design easy to navigate? Is the content interesting? Is your content relevant to the search terms that are acting as sources of traffic?

Again, check Google analytics, and look at your “traffic sources”, this will tell you what sites are sending you traffic and which search terms are sending you the most traffic. If your content isn’t congruent with the type of traffic coming your way, spend some time to remedy that.

One of the biggest causes of a high bounce rate (especially from mobile devices) is a long load time. The importance of site load time seems toe be an ever-increasing metric in Google’s algorithm and something you definitely want to look into. Use site load time tool like:

http://tools.pingdom.com/ OR http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/ to help rank and identify your sites speed issues.

Huge images and lots of includes will often be the culprit. Here is a technical list of common causes of slow load times are. If these look like Greek to you, don’t worry, just send this article to your web guy:

Many of you WordPress users out there tend to snatch up every single cool sounding plugin or widget and install it on your site. This can become excessive and often negatively impacts load time. You don’t need 3 SEO plugins on your site, often times they do the same thing, or are just a gimmick. If you are a hoarder of WordPress plugins, use something like plugin hog detector to identify which plugin is slowing your site down (remember to deactivate it after you run a test).

http://money.bigbucksblogger.com/pluginhogdetector-plugin-helps-you-find-cpu-hogging-plugins/

Something else to keep in mind while we are on the subject of plugins, is if you don’t need it, get rid of it. If you haven’t had your site hacked you are one of the lucky ones. Often times a free plugin or theme will be the culprit that let the hacker in. I have seen it time and time again. So, if it seems questionable or you aren’t benefiting from its use, delete it.

Another little trick to reduce bounce is to put an interesting or enticing photo mostly below the fold of the page. Position the image so that the top ¼ of the image is “peeking” out and will require the visitor to scroll down to reveal the rest of the image. This engages the user and gives you another few seconds to pique their interest and have your content viewed. While this is a really small action, the user is engaging and the ball is beginning to roll.

Image content can really make a difference in bounce rate.

Visitors are looking for a good user experience, pleasing and interesting content, and images. If you haven’t already seen my article on image hacks, take a minute and give it a look see.

Use emotional trigger words in your headlines (and sub-headlines), you can find a good list of them with a quick Google search. We are emotional beings and we want to be moved. By including things like faces, and emotional trigger words, our visitors will be more engaged and more likely to give your site the time of day.

Other tricks worth testing are animated gifs and auto play video. But again, be mindful of load time. Some site owners use user interactive content to try and lower bounce rate, like polls, voting, and the like. While I think that is the right idea, often times it doesn’t enhance the content the user is looking for. So, unless you are giving the user tailored results or personalized information, don’t bother with this. You also want to limit outgoing links. For instance the link above to the explanation of what “above the fold” means, is actually a “no-no.” You want your content to be rich, informative, moving, and interesting, but don’t give your visitors a million ways to exit your site (unless you are reddit.com).

Above all else, watch the analytics, do content experiments, and try new designs. I realize this isn’t possible for everyone who is starting out. That is why I wrote this article with more easily applied tips and tricks. But, the day your site is generating a return on your investment, it’s time to learn about or find someone who is an analytics and testing wiz. That is what will take your site from good to great. In the interim, follow the steps I mentioned and watch your bounce rate drop and your Google rank climb.

About Kevin Clanton

Kevin Clanton is part of the new generation of Internet marketers, originally starting his career as a programmer obsessed with all things information / technology. Online Marketing has quickly become his primary focus; where he is able to leverage his background in development to implement his dreams & ideas in order to quickly produce data on their effectiveness. Google Kevin has an intense drive to be as well rounded as possible in his business pursuits. He isn’t satisfied until he has a firm understanding of all aspects of a given business strategy.

30 Comments

  1. Valerij

    May 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Many thanks for this article!

  2. Valerij

    May 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Many Many thanks for this article!

  3. Tom Klussmann

    February 8, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Thanks for this great content!

    Regards from Germany.
    Tom Klussmann

  4. Pingback: Optimizing Your Store: Bounce Rate [S02.E02] | Template Monster Blog

  5. Sam

    December 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Would have been nice if PluginHog detected right away which plugin was causing slowness but am enjoying these daily SEO info-series posts.

    • Kevin Clanton

      December 15, 2012 at 3:00 am

      It should give the start and end time of the load for ech plugin.
      I think that is how it worked last time i used it…
      I seem to remember being able to find the culprit after one page load.
      Hope i didn’t mix it up with something else.

      Thanks, Glad you like it.
      -Kevin

  6. Ro Paxman

    December 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    You know what I’ve noticed? Ever since people started pinning some of my recipes on Pinterest like mad, my bounce rate has shot up through the roof. When people come to read my posts, the bounce rate is fine, but those Pinterest images… wow… they’re killing my overall bounce rate. People click back and forth, back and forth, looking for “just ” the right recipe to make. But… um… I do the same thing when I’m looking for something to cook, so I get it. Don’t know quite what to do about it, though.

    But the posts themselves, with the images that are bounced off of so much? Google seems to like them and the more pins I get from those posts, the higher the posts rank in the search engines, which leads me to think that Google isn’t punishing me for the Pinterest bounces.

    But I could be wrong about that…

    • Kevin Clanton

      December 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      This is consistent with social traffic don’t worry. That traffic is actually a good thing. Because it tells google that you have interesting content that is relevant to social media users. It is sort of the one exception to the rule as i understand it..
      Thanks Ro

  7. Dr. Erica Goodstone

    December 13, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Hi,
    Very useful article. Thank you. Reading this made me go to check out my analytics on several sites, including an article site where I have only 4 articles and have not written in about 2 months – result is a high bounce rate. So frequency helps the reader, especially one who returns, to stay on the page.

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica

  8. Julie

    December 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Many thanks for this article, it was
    very helpful!

    I found out my site(s) are loading slow from
    too many images and scripts and will send the
    results from wso to my web developer and see
    if we can get it corrected.

    Thank you again for your valuable information!

    ~Julie Downey

  9. Lisa

    December 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Kevin –

    Love the series!
    I have a high bounce rate on Google Analytics and a very low bounce rate on Clicky. When I track my visitors on “clicky” I see that a good many are staying on for a very long time — from 10 minutes to an hour. But often there is only one action. I have an educational/academic blog and they come for specific info, find it, read it, and then move on. How do I make sense of this.
    Looking forward to your answer. Thanks.
    Lisa

    • Kevin Clanton

      December 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Lisa,
      I dont have much experience with clicky, but i am concerned that there is such a difference in data agains GA.
      I would go off of google’s analytics since that is the set of metrics that actually impact your rank.

      an hour is a really long time for people to stay on page.. Unless there is a video course or a novel on the page..
      I would be skeptical of that data. However, some people goto a site, then open up a new tab (i am a tab hoarder myself).
      It’s also possible that their interpretation of calculating bounce rate is different than google’s (just a guess).

      So in short, use google for key metrics and goals (if you can). Because that is what they use when they calculate your rank.
      I will look into discrepancies between the two in the mean time.
      Thanks for reading,
      -Kevin

      • Lisa

        December 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm

        Thanks Kevin. The hour actually was for a nine part series on Palestine-Israel that involved long detailed posts. On clicky, I can tell who the viewer is if I have other identifying data. This guy is a longtime subscriber and there were 19 actions associated with his visit. That said, I think I’ll follow your inclination to put more trust in Google. Thanks so much.

  10. leomaria mendes sobrinho

    December 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    FELIZ NATAL!

  11. Flo

    December 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I am loving this series. I am just getting started, but I get emails from a new group, Buffer, a browser plug in that integrates more and more with other devices, sites etc. they just released an app for mobile. But I have come across a lot of blogs using it and the feature I like the most is once you have read part way through an article, from the bottom right comes a box suggesting other articles on the site you might enjoy. I have clicked over to look at a number of them. I would think this would drastically help the bounce rate.

    • Kevin Clanton

      December 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks flo,
      I will check it out

  12. Terry

    December 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Hi Kevin – thanks for all the useful posts on SEO.

    Reading all Ryan’s and your stuff avidly at present. I am trying to learn how to effectively promote my product. I am mainly spending time developing YouTube videos (channel: businesscontinuity1) and also working on publishing my first book also in the preparedness sector with Ryans Number 1 Book Club. I also have access to the DigitalMarketer program.

    I have not has much success yet with the video promotion but am still working on the SEO side using Fiverr.com. Hopefully this will improve.

    I am only getting a few daily visitors on my preparedness website (url above) and the vast majority leave after viewing the 1st page.

    I am not a young guy and have been round the block a few times but I see great value in receiving your ongoing advice.

    Thanks again

    Terry

    • Kevin Clanton

      December 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      Terry
      Thank you very much.

      It is always great to get to talk to an avid fav of us here at Idea Inc.

      I am happy to hear that you have so much going on.
      I often do the same thing, but be careful not to spread yourself too thin.
      Often times I have started 4 projects at the same time, and I am unable to detirmine which worked and which didnt because all of them were still “in progress”..

      Just keep the content coming, and keep coming back.
      I have aa few more articles on SEO coming out over the next few days, that will hopefully help you.

      Then i should have atleast 1 or 2 traffic hacks per month that will be invaluable to a guy in your shoes.

      Thank you very much for being such a loyal subscriber.
      Best of luck,
      -Kevin

  13. Ryan Thompson

    December 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I can’t stop watching that damn balloon bounce. It’s like fire or ocean waves. Just…can’t…stop…watching. I don’t even know what the article talks about…I…can’t….stop…watching…

    • Kevin Clanton

      December 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Buhahaha

  14. Cherie

    December 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Great article Kevin and most helpful to a complete newbie! It’s great to have all this information on hand! Really appreciate your hard work and effort! Thanks, Cherie

    • Kevin Clanton

      December 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      Cherie,
      Thank you very much for the kind words. I am happy to help

  15. tabulyogang

    December 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Hi Kevin, thanks! I have 63.04% bounce rate using google analytics. hmmm. I think i’ll have to focus more on my content. I dont have any plugins installed. And im using blogger. I think that the picture peeking suggestion is brilliant. haha. Spell enticing. thanks again.

    • Kevin Clanton

      December 13, 2012 at 11:50 am

      Thanks,
      Ya try it out lets us know how it goes

  16. ricardom

    December 13, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Hi Kevin,

    Awesome post.. and yesterday’s to. At the moment I’m putting the youtube affiliate strategy a go to see if I can generate some now cash.

    At this point I’m trying to get my site which has an ezine http://www.mmawarriorcircle.com off the ground. I wanna build my list, I’m struggling with traffic. I can’t pay for it just yet so I’m looking for effective free traffic strategies to build it.

    Thanks!

    Ricardo

    • Kevin Clanton

      December 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

      Ricardom,
      Thanks for reading!
      Hopefully the strategy will make you some passive income (gotta love the passive income).

      Nice site. I am a MMA fan myself.
      Although, i would think about scrapping the video there in the side widget (she isn’t very congruent w/ MMA, ha). I thought it looked familiar, then i realized it was filmed in my office :) ..

      It will happen for you, just focus on getting some good content out there, and be present in MMA communities online for promotion and contribution. Get some content that draws people to your site, and the list will come..

      Stay tuned for the next few days, because I have some Social tricks to generate some traffic that would be great for you.
      Keep in mind that I might not send an email notification when it is published, so keep checking back.
      Thanks,
      -Kevin

      • Ricardo

        December 14, 2012 at 12:28 am

        Cool! I will look out for it, excited to implement any idea’s that work.

        btw, if your into mma, sign up dude! :)

        Yeah, I gotta remove that and replace my mug on it lol.

        Btw, do you happen to know anyone in the mma space who would like to participate in a mma JV giveaway I’m hosting? Perhaps an ad swap?

        Thanks!

  17. Richard Petrillo

    December 13, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Hi Kevin,
    So much great information here, thank you!
    I checked out the website optimization link, wow what a detailed report! Looks like I’ve got a little work to do. Thanks for making that available, what an invaluable tool.

    You mentioned to “Use emotional trigger words in your headlines (and sub-headlines)” and I wanted to share a website I found that scores the EMV (Emotional Marketing Value) score of headlines. It’s pretty cool and I thought your readers might enjoy it. http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/ It scores your headlines on, Intellectual, Empathetic, & Spiritual levels.

    Something that has been puzzling me regarding my bounce rate is: When I view my Google Analytics, its telling me my bounce rate is 5.17%. That seems awfully low. I’m getting only around 2100 unique visits, average duration is 1:43 with 2.68 page visits. I don’t know if the low visitor rate has anything to do with it? I wouldn’t think so. If you could shed any light on this it would be greatly appreciated :)
    Thanks again Kevin,
    Richard

    • Kevin Clanton

      December 13, 2012 at 11:20 am

      Richard,

      Thanks for the kind words.
      Wow what a cool tool @ http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/ Thank you for sharing that.

      5% bounce rate huh? That is pretty crazy. Is this an “internal page”, that the visitor would have to dig for?
      Or a landing page of some sort? If it is a landing page, you either have incredible compelling content, or the reporting is wrong. I can not think of a single traffic source that is that dedicated and committed to what they are looking for. But, they have to be out there…
      [in analytics] Make sure you are going into “content->site content-> content drill down” or all pages, and then isolating a single page, to check the bounce rate. Perhaps you are looking site wide and you have some other resource on there where people hang out. Just a guess..
      The 2.68 pages per visit is great. Well done there. I wouldn’t say that you have a low visitor rate 2100 / mo is nothing to scoff at. It sounds like you have something really cool there..

      Either way, I’d love to see the page.
      Thanks,
      -Kevin

      • Richard Petrillo

        December 14, 2012 at 3:00 am

        Hi Kevin,
        Thanks for your response. I have enjoyed playing around with the headline checker, it’s a great way to test things out.

        I really appreciate your insight on the bounce rate. I guess the 5% is an internal page of some sort. I drilled down and was surprised to see how low the rate is on many of my pages. I found 1 or 2 at 22% and 33% but most were in the 2% to 11.5%. Maybe the reporting is just off. I try and put good content out but it’s not that compelling… LOL

        Thanks for the Kudos on the page visit, I was really glad to see that too. But then again, if the reporting is off, then its off all the way around.

        I would love to have you stop by the site anytime. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed!

        I am sure you will be hearing a lot more from me as you have so much to learn from… I’m looking forward to spending more time here.

        Thanks again,
        Richard

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