Ten Strategies for Reducing Bounce Rate

bouncing ballUnique Visitors are the number of inferred individual people (filtered for spiders and robots), within a designated reporting timeframe, with activity consisting of one or more visits to a site. Each individual is counted only once in the unique visitor measure for the reporting period.

Bounce rate is the percentage of  visitors who enter and exit on the same page without visiting any other pages on the same site.  Consequently visitors reading your post on the front page without clicking to open the comments  is a bounce.

It’s important to comprehend that visitors who bounce out of a site immediately after arrival  do ratchet up the unique visitor count, but do not make no contribution to long-term value. That’s why a high bounce rate is not desirable.

Bloggers use bounce rate to measure visit quality as  a high bounce rate generally indicates that  their landing pages aren’t relevant to their visitors.  If you use Google analytics you can view the bounce rates for your blog in the  Bounce Rate report under Visitors > Visitor Trending > Bounce Rate.

There’s no such thing as a single bounce rate; you must analyze bounce rates separately for the four sources of visitors (ordering the segments by their level of commitment to your site).

  • Loyal readers who return repeatedly to your site have already read most of the earlier articles so it’s not reasonable to expect them to click deeper into the site every time they visit.
  • Low-value referrers, such as Digg, stumbleupon, twitter, etc. always produce a high bounce rate;
  • Direct links from other websites will deliver visitors who do have some degree of interest so a high bounce rate is a symptom of a user experience problem;
  • Search engine traffic producing a high bounce rate is a sign that something is seriously wrong with your landing pages.

Understanding targeted traffic

The main factor for increasing relevancy, authority  and PageRank of your blog is obtaining targeted traffic. Targeted traffic is comprised of readers, who are already interested in the subject matter in content you create. They  tend to arrive on your blog following searches and are far more likely to:

  • read more than one post when they visit ;
  • become regular readers who return time and again;
  • leave meaningful comments that expand your blog’s knowledge base;
  • become subscribers;
  • recommend your blog to their friends.

The more compelling the landing pages are, the more likely it is that visitors will stay on the site and look deeper for more content of interest to them. The lower the bounce rate,  the better job the blogger  is doing to keep their readers  engaged.  If you’re not getting an increasing  flow of targeted traffic and your bounce rates are high, then visitors are  are leaving your blog because the page they landed on isn’t relevant to what they’ve searched for. That means  you must act to reduce the bounce rate.

Ten strategies for reducing bounce rate
(1) Re-evaluate your theme and replace it if required.

(2) Remove distracting gadgets, widgets, images and other “tat” from your sidebars.

(3)  Remove autoplay music, streaming videos, and pop-ups of every kind as they may be annoying to some visitors and cause them to bounce out.

(4)  Employ page loading time reduction strategies.

(5) Target the right audience and improve your branding.

(6) Publish high quality, fresh content frequently to draw previous readers back to your blog and entice new readers to visit.

(7) Publish series of posts and be sure to add “Related Posts”  pointing visitors to the other posts in the series, so  incoming readers will follow the trail through all the posts to get the whole story.

(8) Improve  SEO by making make more effective use of keywords and key word phrases in your blog title, tagline, post titles, sub-titles,   in the text in the body of your posts, in the alternative text for images, in categories and in sidebar titles.

(9) Truncate the posts on your front page by using the read more tag which will increase page views and reduce bounce rate.

(10) Install widgets such as  “Recent Posts” or “Popular Posts” and/or “Recent Comments”  widgets in your sidebar, and manually add “Related Posts”  (or use a plugin or the linkwithin widget) to the end of your posts in order to entice your readers to click onward.

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43 thoughts on “Ten Strategies for Reducing Bounce Rate

    • @Justin
      Thanks for the compliment. I do the best I can to revive and refresh and interest in older posts that contain but still relevant content. I also update all older posts as new information becomes available. Doing so means that one’s blog contains informative and timely contents, rather than many posts containing outdated and irrelevant material that isn’t helpful in the here and now.

  1. I had been trying to use the Read More in my blog. It is not working for me. Is there any other alternative to truncate the blog before it is published.

  2. Timethief,

    1) Is there any way to measure bounce rate if we have a wordpress.com site and therefore do not have Google Analytics?

    2) I am glad Colorado Life Lessons posted their question in the wrong place. That led me to verify my blogs, which I had no idea I was supposed to do.

    Thanks in advance (as always)!

    Bo

    • @bocraw
      Yikes! You didn’t know about verifying your blogs. I’m so glad you do know now.

      The answer is “no “we cannot measure bounce rate without using Clicky (notgetclicky) or other javascript analytics programs like Ggogele Analytics. But there’s enough information to “get a feel” for what’s going on in that regard from the stats we have at wpcom , third party tracking programs, and from examining our Google webmasters information.

      • Well–Hopefully my stats will improve now. I was pleasantly surprised last month. But like you said in a different post–much of that is due to me having a wordpress.com blog as opposed to a wordpress.org blog.

        • Yes the SEO at wordpress.com is excellent. I’m wondering if you have set up a Google webmasters’ account now because I derive a lot of information from mine.

          • I do have access to Google Webmaster Tools now. Surprisingly, it has already started populating with information. I can’t wait to play with it in a few weeks. What should I pay attention to? Maybe that is a new post waiting to happen if you haven’t written it already.

          • Google Webmasters Central has useful information. There’ is also an There is also a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide published last November. Here’s the PDF download link

            Learn the webmaster guidelines. Know what terms your audience is going to be searching for from your Google Webmasters’ account keywords and searches data. Publish articles that target your key audience. Link to the most authoritative sources in all new posts. Write pillar posts and series of articles, and always deep link using relevant anchor text to your earlier related articles in your new posts.

            That will be all for tonight. I’ll think up more for you to do tomorrow. ;)

  3. Excellent post! I did not realize that when someone goes to my site and find out what they needed to know on the 1st page and leave, that it counts as a bounce. I am also taken your advice and redesigning my landing page.

    If I was to place a video on the website, would the amount of time the visitor spends on the site help with the bounce rate?

    Kenn

    • Hello there. Adding videos to get an additional clicks is a no go. This is why. The count depends on how many pages are “called” (clicked on). If a visitor clicks into a post on your front page that has a video in it (entry page) and clicks out from the same post (exit page) without visiting another page on your blog the count is one (1). That’s a bounce.

      If a visitor clicks into a post with the video in it (entry page) and then and clicks out from that post (exit page) and into another post (entry page) and then clicks out from the second second post (exit page) the count is two (2). No bounce.

  4. Great post TT,

    Social traffic usually does come with the high bounce rates and is not as profitable as search traffic (if you blog for money), sites like stumble, twitter, digg simply allow the maximum amount people to associate with your brand, even if it is only for seconds.

    Another great way to interlink deep pages is by using a ‘related posts’ widget, this links up pages which are similar in content and this produces higher deep page rankings and can help to achieve a double listing or a cache listing.

  5. it is pretty hot here, outside is cool though. Being resourceful is never wrong and always, I appreciate your efforts.

  6. Just today I was trying to figure out what was the meaning of bounce rate and lo behold you wrote a post on it! :) My bounce rate on my blog is about 62% from google analytics but I think as mine is a niche blog which will not interest too many people this is bound to be. Isn’t the average time spent on the blog also related? I mean, I have some vistors who stay for 10 minutes or more and read over 10 pages and then I have some who vanish within 0 seconds!
    About the read more tag, I have been thinking of it. I think I need to do it as page views are important to me. I just want to know, does google penalise you for it?

    • @Nita
      Question: Isn’t the average time spent on the blog also related?
      Answer: Any reader who clicks in on any url and clicks out from the same url without clicking to call any additional pages is a bounce. How long any reader takes to read the single page they entered and exited on isn’t relevant in terms of bounce rate.

      Question: About the read more tag, I have been thinking of it. I think I need to do it as page views are important to me. I just want to know, does google penalise you for it?
      Answer: Google does not penalize sites for use of the read more tag. There’s more to be said about this as well. Take a close look at your front page. Count all the links on that page including links to static pages, links in widgets in your sidebar, titles links, comments links, and the links in the posts. We ought to be aiming to have less than 100 links on any page as some search spiders stop indexing at around 100. By using the “read more” tag in posts on your front page you can reduce the number of links on the front page.

  7. @Michelle
    I’d like to give you some links that will be helpful when it comes to using images in wordpress and applying proper SEO techniques to them so they do bring search engine traffic to your blog. The Google crawler cannot read image scripts and therefore using the ALT attribute (providing alternative text and description) will allow you to tell the crawler what the image is referring to. If you want your images to be indexed by the search spiders then give your images the full treatment (TITLE tag, ALT tag Description). http://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/blogging-images-enhance-your-posts/ This post provides all the basic SEO elements we bloggers ought to become aware of and adept at using http://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/basic-seo-elements-for-bloggers/

    Richard has done several guest posts for onecoolsite on the subject of image treatment in wordpress and he’s also a Safari user. Here are links to them as I think they will be useful as well:

    http://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/uploading-and-inserting-image-with-the-new-wordpresscom/

    http://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/inserting-images-full-sized-in-new-wordpresscom/

    http://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/more-on-inserting-images-full-sized-at-wordpresscom/

    http://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/2008/04/22/image-editing-and-preparation-tips-part-1/

    http://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/image-editing-and-preparation-tips-part-2/

    Best wishes for working well with wordpress. :)

  8. Time Thief – Thank you for the explanation on how to wrap text around images. I recently switched from an IE to a Safari browser and have a difficult time inserting photos, let alone getting them to wrap. I will play with your tutorial and hope for the best. Speaking of images, I’m in a quandary about how frequently to include photos. Pictures showcase Denver like no written word, yet I’m wondering in this is adversely effecting my SEO efforts. I’m clearly doing something wrong and wondering if this could be the culprit. Thank you again for sharing your wealth of knowledge.

  9. TimeThief, I see you checked out my blog site to see how well I followed your helpful suggestion for downsizing that photo that needed to be upright….. I’m sure you agree that it’s much better being upright. :) Thank you again!

    Now, I need to get busy on Thanksgiving preparations….. Later on I’ll try to glean more from all the tips on this site…. It’s rather heavy laden with all sorts of ideas — like a heavy laden Thanksgiving table — more than anyone can possibly eat (in one sitting)…. Do think I’ll “pig out” a little at a time, though.

    Margaret

    • @maragret
      I think the images in your latest post look lovely. Did you know that after you upload and image you can click the image in the visual editor and align it (left or center or right) so the text wraps around it? That means you can get rid of the large white spaces beside images. Here’s the link to the support documentation entry instructions for doing that http://en.support.wordpress.com/images/image-alignment/
      Happy blogging :)

      • timethief,

        Thank you again….. I’ll have to try that some time….. I should have tried that when I posted a submission for the October WordPress logo contest….. I had a few pictures challenges at that time.

        Most of the time I just post one centered picture at the top of the post, just to add color….. I need to get out and take more pictures suitable for posting. :) Life is interesting.

        Margaret

  10. Thanks for the tips. After reading this post, I reviewed my blog and decided to remove some cluttering widgets and may get rid of a couple more. In fact, I’m contemplating changing my theme altogether, but I feel pretty attached to this theme at the moment. I need to reflect on this for a moment. After looking at a few ‘clean-looking’ blogs, I think my theme’s two side bars create a cluttering effect.

    • @H
      I appreciate you taking the time to provide me with some feedback. The rule of thumb I use when it comes to anything I place in my sidebars is: Does it enhance the reader’s experience of my blog? If not, then I don’t add it.

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  12. Wow!…. Since I really appreciated your help on the forum today, I thought I’d take a moment to check out your web site before working on Thanksgiving preparations….. I NEED to be coming back here to learn more…..

    After reading this post, my head is swimming with more concepts than I can absorb in one reading…. This will take some serious learning efforts for me to fully comprehend….. Thank you for all your efforts in providing much needed help.

    Margaret

  13. Thank you Timethief for sharing wonderful information like always.

    Each time I read your articles am forced to make changes to my blog.
    Your valuable tips help me improve my hand at blogging with each passing day.

    Keep up the wonderful work.

    Cheers!!

    • @chatterbox
      I appreciate your feedback. It’s always good to hear that what I’m creating and publishing is useful to other bloggers because that’s why I do this. :)

    • @Minty Dervish
      I’m not surprised about the black to white theme switch reduced your bounce rate. Most people over 35 have trouble with their eyesight. Dark background themes and low contrast fonts make it a struggle to read, so the temptation to click out is a strong one.

        • Hello again,
          I just visited your site and it’s charcoal gray and silver IMHO. I like it and have no trouble at all reading the text. Why is that a factor? I’m visually challenged but not color blind and I’m an artist so I know something about colors and their emotional effects on people as well, so some bloggers get me to test their sites for accessibility. Quite aside from making your site accessible to colorblind readers did you know that:
          1. An accessible website is more likely to be ranked well with the search engines than an inaccessible website;
          2. By designing a colorblind accessible website, you are also targeting PDAs, 3G phones, and similar technological devices that are used for web access.

          If you are really interested in this I’ve blogged on it here http://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/blog-design-which-colors-do-you-use-and-why/

          Also note that when I visited your blog I thought of 4 more reasons I would choose Firefox over IE as a browser but when I attempted to leave a comment it disappeared into thin air … arraggghh!

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