The bounce rate is a google analytics statistic that shows the percentage of users that bounce off your website. Generally speaking the lower the bounce rate is the better the site performs, although this also depends on the type of website which you have and the specific niche which you are targeting. A lot of people focus on reducing the bounce rate way too much and they are simply missing the big picture.
You can improve your bounce rate by interlinking your posts, speeding up your website, satisfying the user intent, opening links in a new tab, embedding youtube videos, easy navigation, adding related articles, using categories, allowing comments, formating your articles, increasing the size of your fonts, using colors and exit-intent popups.
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Although a lot of people will tell you that a bounce rate above 80% is is really bad, but the truth is that there are a lot of websites and blogs which perform and rank extremely well even with a bounce rate of 80%-90%. If you have an informational blog or an amazon affiliate website than odds are that your bounce rate is around 80% if not higher and that is normal. The main reason why the bounce rate is relatively high for these websites is that the user only comes to check out one piece of information and they most likely will never come back.
On the other hand, if you have a personality-driven blog like a cooking or a fashion blog then your bounce rate will be significantly lower as the users will check out more of your content. A lot of people claim that having a high bounce rate will negatively impact your rankings, which is true for the most part but a bounce rate of around 80% is not bad, in many industries that is a normal bounce rate.
If a user comes to your post and never clicks through to any other post than once the user leaves the bounce rate will be 100%, although this might look bad it really isn’t. What google takes as a negative signal is when the users pogo stick, which happens when a user comes to your site and then goes to another site to look for more information. One of the reasons for a high bounce rate is due to your actual WordPress theme, for more information check out my recent article How to choose a WordPress theme? ( In 15 Steps ).
Interlink your posts
One of the best ways to reduce bounce rate is by interlinking your posts, although most people do interlink their posts but the wast majority of them are doing it for the on-page optimization. A lot of people simply take a keyword as anchor text and link it to one of the relevant posts. The problem with this approach is that the user doesn’t know where the link goes if he clicks on it and odds are that the vast majority of users will never click the link.
The more pages or posts a user views the lower your bounce rate will be, and this is why it is extremely important to get your users to click through to other posts. Make it clear for the user that if they click on the link they will stay on your website and will not be sent to some random website. As you can see I have 3 interlinking pages on this post, all have the bold text and you clearly know where the link is going, and this is one of the main reasons why I have a low bounce rate.
Speed up your website
One of the main reasons why your website has a high bounce rate is that it takes a long time to load the post, this is especially true if you are also using ads and large images. The faster your website loads the lower the chances are of the user bouncing off your website. Make sure to check the loading speed of each of your posts, as the homepage will have a different loading speed then your posts.
I won’t go much into depth on how to speed up your website as I have already written a detailed post about it so you should check it out How to speed up my website for free? ( In 11 Steps ).
Satisfying the user intent
A lot of websites tend to hide the answer in the post this way the user has to look through the entire post to find the answer which means that the bounce rate will be lower and the time on page will be a lot higher. The problem with this approach is that most people do not have the patience to search an entire article for the answer, especially if you have an informational website. Ideally, you should give the answer right above the fold, this way you satisfy the user intent extremely fast.
Now you might think that if you give the answer to the user as fast as possible then they will just leave your website, the trick is to make the user want more. If the user sees the answer right on top of the article he most likely wants to find out more information about the question, and this can be answered in-depth in the post.
Open links in new tab
If you are interlinking correctly than you will notice that people start taking a look at some of your other posts. I personally always set every link to open in a new tab, this way the time-on-page will be fairly high for a lot of the articles. This method is especially useful if your website speed is not the best, and it will also increase your number of sessions and the session duration. In addition to this, if the user comes from a mobile device, he puts down the phone and when he picks it up and opens the internet browser you will basically have a new visitor who may or may not check out the other articles on your website.
Embed YouTube videos
Embedding YouTube videos does not only lower your bounce rate but also increases the time on page of your users. If you have a YouTube channel then you are basically getting free views for your videos which will help you grow your channel. A lot of people will say that if you do not have a YouTube channel then you should embed a relevant video, but be careful with this approach as you might end up sending traffic to your competitor.
Generally speaking, one embedded video should be enough, as video embeds also take a fairly long time to load. The more embedded videos you have the slower the post will load, so you should use a lazy load plugin which only loads a video if the user clicks on it.
Make sure that it is easy to navigate on your website, both on desktop and on mobile devices. Add a menu to your website and make sure that it has links to your categories, this way if the user is interested in a certain topic than he can access more information about the topic from the menu. Just keep in mind that most WordPress themes will not display the menu on mobile devices as this will take up too much space.
What you can do instead is to add the category and the recent posts widget to the sidebar of your website, this will be visible both on desktop and on mobile devices.
Add related articles
Most WordPress themes have the ability to add related articles, usually, the related articles are at the bottom of the article. The related articles usually show a couple of articles that are in the same category although if you are using a plugin for showing the related articles then you can customize what articles it will show. These plugins tend to slow down your website although you can simply add a related articles section to your post without any coding or plugins.
It is extremely important to add categories to your website, just don’t go overboard with them. Generally speaking, having categories will make navigating your website a lot easier. Make sure to set each article in one category, which is relevant to the article. Some would say that if you add the article in more categories than the better it is, in my experience, this can trigger the duplicate content penalty in certain cases.
The Google algorithm is always changing and logically if you have one article in several categories this should not be considered as duplicate content. From my personal experience, I never place an article into more categories, a couple of years ago when I have applied with one of my websites to AdSense it got rejected due to duplicate content. Now I knew that there was no chance that the website had any duplicate content as I have written all of the articles.
Turns out Adsense took a look at my categories and noticed several of my posts being in more than one category and it decided that it was duplicate content. After I made sure that every post is in just one category Adsense has approved my website.
Generally speaking I disable the comments on all of my websites, it isn’t worth the hassle of filtering out trough the spam just to have a couple of comments. On the other hand, if you have a social media following than you should turn on comments, as a lot of users will skip the entire article and will start reading the comments section. Just think of yourself when you watch a YouTube video, odds are that you instantly scroll down to the comments section.
There are a couple of plugins that do an excellent job at filtering out comments although you should keep in mind that the more comments you have the slower the page will load. If you want to know why I do not approve comments on my website then check out my recent article Should I disable comments on my blog? ( Top 10 Reasons ).
Format your articles
A lot of beginners make the mistake of writing content in massive chunks, as it kind of looks impressive with having soo much content. The problem is that big chunks of text are extremely hard to read on mobile devices and as the majority of online traffic is from mobile traffic you should probably keep this in mind. Just look at this article, every paragraph is no longer than 3 lines on desktop, which makes it on a mobile device around 7-8 lines.
This is especially important if you tend to write long-form content, so make sure you break up the text a bit with some space between them and most importantly add headers and subheaders to your articles.
Increase the size of the fonts
Depending on which niche you are targeting you should have clear and readable fonts, don’t go with anything fancy, simple fonts work the best. If your audience is older than you should increase the size of your fonts, especially if the majority of your users come from mobile devices. Once you have increased the size of the fonts make sure to check it out how it looks on mobile devices, as in some cases it could show up as big blocks of text.
There are a lot of websites that do not use any colors when it comes to the text of their articles. The truth is that people tend to respond to different colors, and if a headline with a certain color catches their interest it is mostly the color that will pop in their eyes and not the actual text. I personally use colors for the headings and the subheadings, this way they pop out from the article and it is a lot easier to read the entire article.
Use exit-intent popups
One way of reducing your bounce rate is by using an exit-intent popup. These popups will pop up when the user is having the pointer of their mouse pinter close to the closing tab, while others pop up once you want to close the tab. I personally do not use them, as they are a negative experience for the user, and as I often browse around websites I often get annoyed by these exit-intent popups. With that being said exit-intent popups do work and they will lower your bounce rate.
As you can see there are several things which you can do to lower your bounce rate. I did not add one method which is used by some website, basically forcing the user to click on different links in order to read the entire article. This is a fairly old method and google knows that it is only used to lower the bounce rate, big websites can get away with it but brand new websites can’t.