How to Lower Your Bounce Rate Using Google Analytics

Posted by Kristi Hines - August 3, 2010 - Analytics - 37 Comments

Once you’ve built your website or your blog, the first thing you will want to do is bring in a lot of traffic by optimizing it for search, acquiring traffic generating links, and sharing it on social bookmarking and networking sites. The more traffic you can get, the better.

But after awhile, you start to dig into your analyitcs, only to find that while you are getting a lot of traffic, that traffic isn’t staying on your site for long. This is the bounce rate – the goal is to have a low percentage bounce rate, as a high percent means that people are getting to your site and then leaving shortly thereafter.

So what are some ways to lower your bounce rate?

1. Look Into Your Google Analytics.

There are a few things you can look at in your Analytics that will help you determine why people come to your website.

Content and Keywords

First, take a look at the content with the highest bounce rate, and the keywords that bring visitors to those pages. If you go into your Google Analytics, and navigate to Top Content under the Content menu, you will see the top ten pages on your site that receive the highest volume of traffic (one of which is usually your homepage).

Click on one of the pages with the highest bounce rate, and then on the next screen, view the Entrance Keywords. Now take a look at the queries that brought people to your site, and the bounce rate associated with those search terms. A high bounce rate means that your page did not help the searcher find what it was they were looking for on that page related to that keyword.

Once you know what people are looking for on a particular page, if possible, try to add that information to that page. Most importantly, make sure that the information related to the search query is near the top of the page, that way people see instantly that the page has what they are looking for. If they need to go to another page for more details, be sure to make the navigational path to that content clear and near the top as well.

Site Searches

Setting up Site Search within your Google Analytics allows you to see what people are typing into your site’s search box when they arrive. This is another great way to see if your site is providing the content that your visitors are searching for because, if not, that is a good indicator of why they are leaving.

Once you have Site Search setup, you can easily see what pages visitors are on when they enter search queries, as well as the phrases they are looking for. If you notice that a particular search is being entered on a page, chances are that for every person who actually searched for it, there are a lot of people who simply left. Therefore, if you make that content available on that page, there will be less bounce rate from there and more satisfied visitors.

Traffic Sources

If you look at the Referring Sites under the Traffic Sources menu, you will see the main sites that bring traffic to your website or blog. If particular networks you have been sharing your content on have brought higher bounce rates, it might be a good idea to focus on other ones that bring visitors that stick.

2. Lowering the Bounce Rate

The following are some items you can add to high bounce rate pages to hopefully lower the likelihood that people would leave.

Great Content

This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Each webpage on your site and each blog post on your blog must have great content in order to retain new visitors. If you have a page with a high bounce rate and little content, this should be the first thing you focus on fixing.

Optimize Pages for the Right Keywords

This is probably the best place to start – if you have a page that is losing visitors searching for a particular keyword phrase, then chances are you either need to add content that would fit the visitors needs for that keyword, or start optimizing your pages for a different phrase.

Videos

Videos are a great way to keep people on your page for longer – if you can find a related video that fits well with your page, then that is definitely one way to go.

Teaser / Summary

If you can include a short summary of your page at the very top (especially if it is a long article or blog post) including the commonly searched for keyword phrases, this will help convince people who have landed on your page that they will be able to find what they are looking for. Blogussion offers a great summary at the top of each blog post like this one that lets readers know what they are about to learn.

Related Links

For any blog or webpage, related links area sure fire way to keep visitors on your site. Simply help them find more information on your site that they would be interested based on the page that they are on. Internal links within the text and related links at the end of the page are the best way to encourage people to stick around.

Encourage Discussion

If your site is a blog, encouraging discussion is another good way to get people to stay on your site for awhile. Leaving a well thought out comment or response to your post (or other commenter) will increase their time on a post.

Move the Ads

When someone comes to your site, what is the first thing they see? I have seen several sites where the content comes well after the Google Adsense and other advertising, and if someone doesn’t see the main content right away, they may assume your site is solely built for the ads and simply leave. Be sure to put your content first, and let the ads come later.

How Do You Keep Visitors on Your Site?

Does your blog or website have a high bounce rate? What tips or techniques do you use to help lower your bounce rate and keep visitors engaged longer on your site?

About the Author

Kristi Hines

Kristi is a freelance writer, online marketing consultant, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter.