Yesterday, we talked about why brands fail at turning SEO traffic into conversions. Today, I want to discuss something closely related – your bounce rate. There’s nothing wrong with aiming for a perfect, 0% bounce rate – it keeps you thinking of new, more effective ways to engage your visitors. However, remember that you will always have bounced traffic because of several factors. It could be because someone mistakenly clicked on your website, or it may simply be because the visitor wasn’t looking for your products or services after all – these are normal, and they happen on a regular basis. I want to share how you can determine if you need to optimize your bounce rate, and how you can reduce your bounce rate and increase conversions.

Your ideal bounce rate should be somewhere between the perfect bounce rate and a maximum of 20%. Having a 50% bounce rate means that 1 in 2 people are leaving your site without conversions, whereas with a 20% bounce rate, only 1 in 5 people leave your site without fulfilling any form of conversion. You need to stay within the ideal bounce rate to get the maximum conversions from your traffic.

How Your Bounce Rate Affects Conversions

Bounce rates and conversions are inversely proportional to each other; that is, if your bounce rate is high, then your landing page is likely irrelevant to your visitors. As a result, conversions are likely to be lower. Ideally, you want visitors to stay long enough to learn about your products and services before moving on to another page or leaving your site altogether. The longer they stay on your site, the more likely they are to complete the actions and goals you set for your website.

The inverse proportion relationship between the two only applies in ideal situations, ones where the bounce rate you track is accurate. However, some visits counted as bounced traffic actually lead to conversions. This is where proper tracking comes in.

Tracking Bounce Rates Accurately

To determine whether you need to optimize your bounce rate, you need to adjust your analytics tool first to make your tracked bounce rate more accurate. First, go to your Engagement Report section in Google Analytics, and set it to the last four months. Next, apply the ‘visits with conversions’ segment to your report. Here, you will see where majority of conversions happen on your site. This is the minimum time it takes your visitors to profitably engage with your site. You need this figure to adjust your bounce rate.

Use this time when adding the following code to your Google Analytics Tracking code on each of your website’s pages:

Syntax: setTimeout(“javascript function“,milliseconds);

Replace the “javascript function” with your chosen set timeout method, and use _trackEvent() as your parameter. Get your profitable engagement time and convert it into milliseconds, and add this at the end of your code. This will be the delay time before the code tracks activity on your site and sends this information to the Google Analytics server.

Next, set up a goal indicating the parameters you used on your Google Analytics Tracking code. This way, you can see whether a visit you received was a bounce or was a profitable engagement more accurately. Expect your bounce rate to change in a few days, and once it stabilizes, you can take that value as your true bounce rate. If your bounce rate remains high after the adjustment, you need to optimize.

Reducing Your Bounce Rate

Set a main goal and three secondary goals for your website. Reducing your bounce rate doesn’t have to be your primary goal – it could be a secondary goal that supports something bigger, like increasing your new signups, your sales, or your generated leads.

Check the layout of your website. Make sure all the pages of your site contain conversion elements that support your main goal. You’ll need the following:

    • a good, strong headline;
    • authorship tags in your HTML, and an author section with your picture, a non-biased biography, and links to personal social media profiles (this is mainly for blogs);
    • primary and site-wide calls to action;
    • social media, newsletter and community boxes;
    • a featured post section that features your most important post (mainly for blogs, but could also be used for websites;
    • a top blog posts section;
    • and tags and comments.

Make sure to arrange everything in a way that follows your visitors’ natural way of thinking. Lead them from one element of your web page to another. Make calls to action stand out from the rest of the text, encouraging your visitors to click.

Put your content in the right context. We’ve discussed the importance of context in a previous blog post. Fine-tune and change your content until you find a strategy that effectively lowers your bounce rate and increases conversions. Don’t be afraid to test your content strategies even after you find success – keep in mind that the Internet changes at a fast pace, and you need to stay ahead if you want to maintain high conversion rates. Make your message direct, honest and simple for readers to understand.

Get seasoned professionals to do it for you. If you’re unsure of your conversion optimization methodology, leave it to more experienced professionals to do the job. Call your account manager today or log into your dashboard to get started. Sign up for a  free account if you’re not yet our partner!

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Clayton Wood

Clayton is the Marketing Director of SEOReseller.com and managing partner of numerous successful online brands offering white label SEO and other online marketing services.