What is the bounce rate and how does it affect my ranking?

In an era of digital transformation like the one we are experiencing, the importance of having a website that conveys the brand, culture and values of the entire organisation has become crucial.  

Over the past two decades, Ireland has grown from one of Europe’s poorest economies to becoming the technological capital of the continent. This has been possible mainly because of its taxation, with corporate tax rates low enough for more than 1,000 technology multinationals from around the globe to have their European headquarters in Ireland. This produced a pull effect that has motivated small entrepreneurs to take a more digital approach to their organisations. Being more cost-efficient while making ourselves known anywhere in the world where there is access to the network is an advantage for any company that ventures to make that decision. 

However, the creation and management of our website depends on many factors and using bad practices can lead to negative consequences, one of the most common being the bounce rate.

What is the bounce rate?

Have you decided to take the step of creating a website for your business and, seeing the statistics, you have found that users who enter your website do not continue browsing? They may have only visited one of the many pages you have.

That ratio of visitors who access a page and leave without interacting with anything else is what we call bounce rate. This usually indicates that the user has not found what they were looking for or that the site has not generated enough confidence to stay, although it may also be due to other factors that we will explain later.

It is essential to keep in mind that the optimal bounce rate depends on the website, since it will not be the same for a single page site as for an online store. As explained by Google Analytics support, the bounce occurs when, in a single session, the user has only visited a single page of the site and leaves without visiting any other. So, if your site only has one page (what we call a landing page), logic tells us that it is perfectly normal for your bounce rate to be high. On the other hand, if you have a lot of pages and you have a very high bounce rate, it is possible that your website needs a facelift or an improvement in the design or the content.

How does the bounce rate affect SEO or organic ranking?

To explain the impact that bounce percentage has on the positioning that we "naturally" get in search engines (also called SEO), we need to know that Google cannot determine whether the content of a website has the necessary quality for users or whether it provides value. 

So what does Google do to determine the quality of a site and its content? 

The search engine relies on the behavior of the user when accessing that website. If a person leaves the page without interacting, it is interpreted that the content was not what they were looking for and therefore the keywords that the website is using may be being used fraudulently. This can be subject to penalty, reducing our position in the ranking. 

Of course, there are many more factors and, as we mentioned before, if it is a single page, other elements will be taken into account in addition to the bounce. Consequently, Google attributes the quality of a website through the interaction of users, also taking into account the CTR (Click Through Rate) and the time they spend on the page.

What can you do to lower your bounce rate? The first thing will be to identify the reason why users do not want to interact with your website. Here are some reasons why this may be happening and a possible solution.

Reasons for the bounce and how to stop (as much as possible) the user from leaving the site

    1. Unclear message

If a user comes to your website and does not understand what you are trying to say or what you are offering, they are likely to decide to leave instead of trying to figure out what you are trying to convey. 

To prevent this from happening, we suggest that you take advantage of the titles, so that each of them offers the user a quick description of what they will find on the page. Moreover, you must keep in mind that your visitor wants the information quickly, so you will have to give it to them as soon as they arrive and in the easiest way possible.

    2. Pop ups

These types of elements are rarely beneficial, as they can be annoying, intrusive and disrupt navigation. 

If you do not want to quit them, try not to let them appear just when the user lands on your site. On the other hand, do not occupy the entire screen or block the view of the rest of the page: you can place them in a corner and in a smaller size. 

    3. Inadequate design

If the design of your website is outdated or unattractive, the visitor will feel distrustful towards your page, so they will be more inclined to abandon it. 

Some tips to avoid it are to use soft colors and do not saturate the website elements: giving them some oxygen through something as simple as leaving white spaces can make a difference. However, the simplest solution is to hire a professional web designer, since, with their experience, you will make the most of your site. 

Furthermore, if your website looks perfect on a computer, but on other devices it does not get to be viewed correctly, the user will not spend time browsing. After all, if you cannot see the content correctly, how will you be able to navigate properly?

    4. Lack of usability

Although at first it may seem like a good idea to innovate with the structure of our page, the truth is that the user is already used to find the elements in specific places.  

That is why it is considered advisable to leave each element where the person expects to find it, otherwise navigation can be difficult and slow. 

    5. Misuse of audiovisual content

Today, most websites use audio and video resources to capture customer attention. However, not all websites make proper use of them. Often, either by not paying attention to this detail or by forcing it to be so, we see how the playback of a video or audio starts automatically. This is annoying for many users, plus it takes away the sense of control (or decision-making power). 

Avoiding these automatic reproductions, especially of sound, will allow the user neither to be forced nor saturated, eliminating the feeling of rejection. If we want a video to play itself, it should lack audio, be in a "background" position and not have too much movement.

    6. The site takes a long time to load

One of the things that generates more frustration in users and, therefore, tends to generate higher percentages of bounce, is the loading time. We live in a digital age where we want everything at the moment and this entails collateral damage for those websites that take several seconds to show up fully, especially when our competitors have pages that load instantly. In case this penalty was not already a serious problem, Google takes this factor into account when granting positions in the ranking. 

Solving this problem can be a difficult task, because sometimes the problem lies in the optimisation of the images or in technical aspects of the site or the code itself. We recommend that you always take into account the sizes of the images and the weight, as well as that you do not add too many animations or functionalities that you do not really need and, if it is something essential for you, contact a professional.

Reducing the bounce rate as much as possible is not an easy task, as it is necessary to detect what is the cause. However, the content management system (CMS) of Odoo can help us in this task. To give an example: the system itself favors a responsive design, so it is visualised on mobile devices properly. It also offers the possibility to see in real time how the design looks, giving us the possibility to check if it is attractive enough before it is published. In addition to this (and among other things) it also helps with optimising the code, reducing loading times and preventing the user from becoming desperate and leaving the page.

At Bakata Solutions we have a large experience and we will help you create your new website from scratch or renew what you already have so that it has the best possible impact. Do not hesitate to  contact us

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Bakata Solutions
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