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.
37 comments
Mars
Mars

I have a blog where I try to feature bands and artists that aren't typical mainstream pooh. It seems like, though, the majority of visitors that come are there only to view a picture. So no matter how great my content is, it's irrelevant because all that the people are coming for is a picture. Anybody have any ideas on how to fix that?

skunk
skunk

Bounce rate is largely dependent upon what type of site you have. For example, a website that sells an ebook should have a higher bounce rate than a blog, because people have different interests.

Ayden @ BigCommerce
Ayden @ BigCommerce

Hey Kristi, what would you say is the single most important factor for minimizing bounce rates? My recent post BigCommerce Review

Alyssa
Alyssa

i was very confused about bounce rate of website but now it is clear. above article is fantastic and more informative. i want to know more about Google analytic. Thanks for sharing

igoydude
igoydude

i have a very high bounce rate, i was even shocked when most of my visits have 100% bounce rate, it's like they just passed by and not even looking the view. i guess i'll start adding some eye catching content such as videos. thanks.

Tom | Oral Answers
Tom | Oral Answers

"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." Or does it mean that the searcher found exactly what they were looking for and then left to go do something more exciting than sitting in front of their computer all day surfing the internet?

Jarret
Jarret

Kristi, thanks as always for these tips. My bounce rate is embarrassingly high on my website--somewhere around 72%. It was closer to 80%, but I did lower it by adding a related post plugin with thumbnails - IGIT for WordPress. Other than that, I'm pretty sure that the quality of the content on my site must be the issue. I have to evaluate how I communicate with my blog readers. I will try your Google Analytics tips too.

Haroun Kola
Haroun Kola

Nice article Kristi I find that most of the bounces come from people searching on keywords that I didn't really optimise my site for. So in any case, they're just hoping that the content will relate to their search. If its a long tail keyword that gets them to my site, or a visitor from facebook, or other referring they tend to stay longer. Great tips though on how to perhaps capture a new visitors attention before they hit that back button :)

Tola
Tola

Great article Kristi. I'm a lover of analytics myself so it's always interesting to read articles relating to it. I've never really thought much about videos making people stay longer on your site. I think that's has to do with my own thoughts on videos: I don't watch them, I'll rather read stuff than watch or listen to it! Especially when I'm looking for information... if it's for fun, then that's different. But it's worth a try every now and then though, so thanks for that. I'm also all up for encouraging discussions at the end of articles. I get quite disappointed when I get to the end of an interesting article and I haven't been given the option to say something or give my opinion. It's almost like, 'Okay I've said it all, I want nothing from you, so get lost!'. I'm pretty sure people don't mean it that way but sometimes I still feel that way, lol...

Cade
Cade

Nice article on Google Analytics, Kristi. Google Analytics is a really powerful tool for any website owner, and is one I use regularly to glean all sorts of information from my sites. For any Wordpress blog owners out there, there is a great plugin called Google Analyticator. It brings in information from your Google Analytics account straight into your blog dashboard

senguttuvel.s
senguttuvel.s

This website is very useful for me and others...so utilize every one

Mani
Mani

This article is very nice for improving bounce rate for people who does online work since it contains new information website traffic.

Ana | Traffic Genera
Ana | Traffic Genera

It's funny you wrote a post about the bounce rate, Kristi - I just published mine on Monday as well with 30+ tips on how to reduce BR. I love it that you went in depth on using Google Analytics; that's really one of the best ways to keep track of your bounce rate and any changes you make to your blog to reduce it. Best, Ana Hoffman

Seth Waite
Seth Waite

If website owners want to lower bounce rate then get rid of the overlay ads that appear to try and get newsletter ads.... I hate them and when I see them on sites like this one it irritates me and I never go back. It just seems so unfriendly to me. You are just asking for me to leave, put a thumbs down, and never return to the site. I'm not trying to be mean or negative, it just seems like a poor way to get "conversions". If its about adding to your list then you might as well just buy one. If its about getting subscribers that actually care and would buy a product you create and care about... then let your content be your sales point.

rajsinu
rajsinu

I usually wonders how blogs stay long in websites and was really searching for techniques to make my blogs also remain long. The article mentioned was really helpful to me as I was unaware of this bounce rate mentioned and explained above. The details explained are clear and interesting. Thank you for the details explained.

jinesh
jinesh

I was not much informed about the bounce rate mentioned above. The article mentioned is really useful to me as i post blogs. Thank you for explaining all the techniques relevant for reducing bounce rate which will surely help me in my next blog posting.

Kumaresan
Kumaresan

The article is fantastic to know more about Google analytic.Thanks guys for sharing.

subathra
subathra

This article is very useful for making Bounce Rate Using Google Analytics. very useful and informative article

Camella Lobo
Camella Lobo

I love the idea of creating a short summary of your blog post at the beginning. Photo captions are a good place to do that, too. (If you have them.) I think it also helps users stick around if you follow current trends in web writing -- use bullet points, short sentences, the inverted pyramid method of keeping important info at the top, etc. I know when I'm reading, I'll scan an entire blog post's subheads to make sure I want to read it! The video idea is interesting. Usually we post videos with the intention of giving users easy to digest content in a format that most people are accustomed to these days. I guess it serves the purpose of keeping them around longer. And there's an added benefit, obviously, if the videos are your own!

Gineesh
Gineesh

i have got new information for my website traffic. It also help me to write the article which attract the viewers

Kevin M.
Kevin M.

My Bounce Rate is around 70%. Is that good or bad?

Dr Dean
Dr Dean

Kristi, thoughtful tips. Especially the one about repairing pages with high bounce rates. I spend so much time thinking about what to write next, I sometimes forget about the 100's of articles I have written that can be fine tuned, and are already getting search traffic!. thanks, Dean

Marc
Marc

Indeed Kristi, bounce rate is one of the most important numbers to watch! And attacking it could be one of the best things to do for a site. My Tips; If your visitors are not getting the data they are expecting from your site in 8 seconds they are gonna leave! So give them what they want and present the most interesting stuff first.

ashok
ashok

My bounce rate has been something like 99% over 3 years. Very specific searches bring people to my blog - they usually are searching for a particular poem or phrase, and I do wonder how that impacts traffic. "Related links" has, now that I think about it, improved bounce rate. It's been closer to 80% and dropping recently, partly I think because the related links are bigger and bolder than ever with the new theme.

Christie
Christie

Great points, all of them! I have found that the websites I "can't get away from" all have lots of internal links that I just can't resist clicking. Too often on blogs we just see the first page then we never explore further no matter how good that recent post is, but if the author has loaded a post with enticing links I'll keep clicking Open Link in New Tab and spend quite a lot of time on a site!

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

Hi Seth, I'm not the decision maker when it comes to that aspect - there's a huge push right now on using these systems for increasing your mailing list opt-ins. I don't have access to analytics to many sites, but one site that I do have access to shows the same bounce rate from the week before installing the same plugin that this site uses and the week of installing it. I would actually be curious if installing such systems increases your bounce rate over time.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

Exactly! But even if the videos are not our own, sometimes visitors are happy that you are providing the best information for them regardless of the source.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

The bounce rate simply shows the number of people that come to a page and leave it without going elsewhere (usually pretty quickly). The exit rate is looking at the rest of your content and seeing which pages more people generally leave your site from. Sometimes, if you have one page that is the highest exit rate (assuming it doesn't go to a sales page or the goal is to go to an external site), it means that something on the page is incorrect or causes people to want to leave and it should be checked out.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

That's not bad... certainly better than in the 90's. I don't know what the "goal" rate would be - I'm sure 0 would be perfect, but not necessarily realistic. I have seen a lot of sites at the 50% range though.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

It’s easy to forget about older articles. But at the same time, if you see one is getting a heavy amount of traffic, why not take a bit of time to optimize it to make sure that visitors are getting deeper into your site after hitting that post!

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

Very true! I know I have left sites quite quickly after a search because they remind me of MFA or otherwise do not provide a lot of good information.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

Glad to hear related links have helped! I know that I often click on those when visiting a new blog and reading about particular topics, assuming that the related links are highly related and not too far off the post topic.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

I try to load up my posts with lots of internal links where applicable so that if you have readers like myself that like to “subject hop” when they see something with a link, they can click on it to get even deeper in your site, which is a good thing.