Concerning important metrics that point to a site’s effectiveness and performance, few are more telling than the bounce rate.
A site’s bounce rate refers to the number of visitors who leave a site after viewing only a single page. While they tend to vary from site to site, a high bounce rate (typically from 55 to 70 percent and above) indicates that a site likely has issues that prevent users from exploring other pages.
Some of the most common reasons a visitor might leave a site include:
- Failure to find or understand navigation options
- The appearance of a website or unappealing content
- The time it takes a site to load
- Popups and other intrusive ads that interfere with the user experience
- Poor rendering on specific devices
- No call-to-action (CTA)
These are just a few reasons why visitors leave a site. Fortunately, there is a myriad of ways that eCommerce merchants can lower their bounce rates and entice visitors to click around the store. By learning a few critical tactics, online brands can improve their SEO performance and conversion rates.
With that said, here are eight effective strategies for reducing a site’s bounce rate.
Optimize Page Load Times
Of all the potential issues that increase a site’s bounce rate, slow load times is possibly the most damaging. Not only will 40 percent of desktop users bounce from a site that takes more than three seconds to load, but 53 percent of mobile users will also do the same.
This trend can be quite troublesome considering that site speed is a ranking factor on Google. This means that it doesn’t matter how great a store’s products or content is if those offerings are not delivered quickly.
Moreover, when speaking to eCommerce destinations, pages that are slow to load are one of the most prominent reasons of shopping cart abandonment, causing a 7 percent decrease in engagement for every one-second delay in load times.
This drop in engagement is actually a significant problem in the eCommerce industry as only two percent of the top 100 sites have mobile load times of less than five seconds.
Given these stats, there is a clear link between page speeds and bounce rates.
The first step to resolving such issues is to use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and mobile speed test tool. These platforms will provide merchants with information on problematic areas along with actionable steps to remedy speed issues.
Other methods that sellers might employ include:
- Reducing image sizes
- Streamlining a site’s checkout process
- Removing unnecessary plugins
Enhance Content Offerings
An effective strategy for reducing bounce rates on specific pages and across the entirety of a site is to improve the quality of the site’s copy and content. The bottom line is that the more interesting, informative, useful and entertaining the content is, the more likely it is to engage visitors.
For eCommerce websites, this means producing compelling copy for landing pages, informative product listings and useful blog content that comprehensively covers a topic.
Not only can content help an eCommerce brand reduce bounce rates, but it will also enhance its SEO efforts via better rankings, more quality backlinks, increased time-on-page, repeat visitors and more.
The key to producing great content is addressing a user’s needs in a concise and comprehensive manner. While it inevitably requires a decent amount of planning and forethought, it is worth the added effort.
Introduce a Clear Call-to-Action
In addition to crafting content that speaks to a user’s wants, merchants should also consider what action they want them to take on the page and employ a clear call-to-action that drives consumers in that direction.
Some merchants might be tempted to send visitors to various parts of a website from a single landing page using a variety of CTAs. However, this strategy is a mistake as multiple CTAs can overwhelm consumers, ultimately giving rise to a phenomenon known as the “paradox of choice.” This idea dictates that the more options a consumer has, the more likely they are to feel overwhelmed and the less likely they are to make any decision.
Therefore, limiting the number of pathways a user can take increases the chances of them taking a specific action. For this reason, retailers should include a single, yet ultra-clear CTA. With a single CTA in place, consumers clearly understand the next step to take.
When employing CTAs on your site, consider the user intent of each page, what the visitor wants and what you want them to do next.
Revamp Product Pages
Striking the right balance on product pages can be a tricky endeavor, and many merchants struggle with this aspect of their site.
If a retailer provides too much information, it bogs down the user experience and could send a prospect to another site for more concise details. If a product page doesn’t contain enough information, then consumers are just as likely to seek knowledge elsewhere.
Assess your site’s product pages to ensure they include pertinent details about the product, manufacturer information, user reviews that speak to the product’s effectiveness or customer satisfaction, along with anything else potential buyers might want to know about an item before making a purchase.
Augment Internal Linking
Internal linking is how eCommerce sites link pages to other pages within the same website. Internal links help guide users through a website and pass SEO “juice” from one page to another. However, for the purposes of lowering bounce rates, merchants should pay particular attention to two different areas:
- The relevancy of anchor text
- Older content that still receives traffic
Naturally, linking anchor text should be highly relevant to the page’s content. As for older content that still drives clicks, revisit these pages to update them (if necessary) and include links to newer pages to encourage visitors to click around your site.
Moreover, ensure that your site has employed internal links strategically in the header and footer of the site because this is where visitors anticipate finding the site’s most important pages.
Ensure Navigation Is Intuitive
When a user can’t figure out a site’s navigation scheme or how to get where they want to go, they will almost certainly bounce. For this reason, navigation elements should be as clear and intuitive as possible. This is particularly important for eCommerce sites that often boast a vast number of pages.
Users should be capable of immediately understanding a site’s navigation structure to have a seamless experience for exploring other pages. Consumers should never have to guess where to go or be forced through a sales funnel in an unnatural way.
Retailers should analyze their current navigation structure to designate opportunities for simplification.
Improve Your Mobile Experience
Even with Google’s mobile-first index and mobile eCommerce sales skyrocketing, there are still a staggering number of retail websites that have not been optimized for small screen devices.
In 2017, nearly 35 percent of all eCommerce sales in the U.S. were made using a mobile device, which accounted for $157 billion in revenue. This incredible sum clearly indicates that mobile is not an option, but a necessity.
When looking to bounce rates, eCommerce stores that have failed to provide a top-notch mobile experience are needlessly harming their SEO performance and sales figures.
Unfortunately, creating a genuinely mobile-friendly site can be a costly, painstaking process for many larger websites. While responsive designs have helped to simplify the process, this approach does not equate to mobile optimization.
That’s where the Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool comes into play. Additionally, retailers should also consider a site’s load time (as mentioned earlier).
Outside of these basic necessities, eCommerce mobile experiences should tout a flawlessly intuitive checkout process with guest checkout options, no popups or intrusive adverts, as well as other mobile eCommerce optimization best practices.
A/B Test Everything
When aiming to reduce bounce rates, retailers should not tweak things based on “hunches” or “gut feelings”– only cold, hard data should guide this process.
eCommerce stores can sift through Google Analytics to gain insights into user behaviors so that they can evaluate the data for essential takeaways about where they are losing visitors. Split testing various page elements will help improve the user experience
Try testing copy, call-to-action, headlines, types of offers, button text and font, images and anything else you see fit.
Be sure to really drill down into the site’s data. The better a seller understands their audience, the more effective they will be at creating an experience that keeps consumers on their website.
Reducing an eCommerce site’s bounce rate is critical to scaling a business with SEO, generating a broader and more loyal audience and increasing conversions and sales. To amplify your site’s performance and lower the number of users that bounce from your site, employ these eight strategies, experiment with various elements via A/B testing and reap the rewards of your efforts with fewer lost visitors.