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20 Proven Ways To Reduce Your Bounce Rate

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20 Proven Ways To Reduce Your Bounce Rate

Properly diagnosing high bounce rates to identify areas of improvement is a useful way to increase user engagement, improve site rankings, and put more money in your pocket.

There are many misconceptions about bounce rates, so let’s define what it is and explore why it’s sometimes a good thing but other times needs improvement.

Google defines bounce rate as:

“…is a single-page session on your site.

In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.”

Essentially, this means that when a visitor “bounces” from a webpage, they have left not just that webpage; they’ve also exited the entire website after only viewing one page.

While this definition is clear and easy to understand, the underlying cause of a bounce is generally more complex.

What Causes A High Bounce Rate?

Sometimes a high bounce rate can be an indication of a poor user experience.

A site visitor hit the page and either the page didn’t deliver the content they were expecting or they were underwhelmed by something else, like a non-responsive webpage.

On the other hand, a high bounce rate can also be the result of a positive user experience.

For example, let’s imagine a user is searching for a recipe’s ingredient measurements.

They click through the search result and land on a site where they immediately see the ingredients list need. They get it and leave the site.

That high bounce rate is an example of a great user experience. The visitor instantly found the information that they were looking for, then left.

Ideally, some of those high bounce rate site visitors will bookmark the page for future reference, and some other visitors may remember the site another day and return to it, seeking it out by name on Google.

When Google Causes A High Bounce Rate

Google’s algorithm exceeds at identifying what a page of content is about and what a search query is about.

However, there may be some rare edge cases where Google may show a website that does not have the correct answer.

This can happen when a searcher uses a poor choice of keywords (like vague words) or the search phrase is rare.

In that situation, Google sent the visitor to the incorrect webpage.

The visitor did not find the content they needed.

The high bounce rate in that situation is not a poor reflection on the website itself, as there’s nothing wrong with the content.

The source of the problem could be with Google’s algorithm or, more likely, with the search phrase a user typed in.

A high bounce rate is not always a sign of problems with the webpage itself.

Nevertheless, it’s still important to keep an eye on bounce rates to make sure there is not something there that might be driving website visitors away.

Here are 20 proven ways to reduce your bounce rate when needed.

1. Pay Attention To Page Load Time

When a user has to wait an excessive amount of time (and by excessive I mean more than three seconds) for a page load, it creates an incredibly poor user experience.

The content on the page does not matter if a visitor cannot even see it immediately.

Page load time is even more crucial on mobile devices because users are more likely to become frustrated with slow load times and bounce.

2. Make Site Search Easy

Some websites neglect adding a site search functionality or make it difficult to see.

If a user is searching for something specific that they do not instantly see on a page, this is an extremely useful tool that they can use to search with instead of possibly leaving the page or site entirely.

3. Provide Easy Navigation

Navigation should be easy and effortless for visitors.

When a user gets to a site, they need a clear direction of where the content that they are looking for lives.

If this is not simplistic and clearly laid out in an intuitive navigation, they will most likely bounce from the site.

4. Focus On A Great Design

Good website design is intuitive and builds trust with a user. A good website design is also a signal of quality.

Visitors will not spend a large amount of time a site that is unpleasant, unattractive, or have difficulty trusting.

Provide an appealing user experience by starting with a great design is not just about aesthetics. It’s about creating a functional, intuitive, and pleasant overall website experience.

5. Keep Mobile Top-Of-Mind

Mobile users have even less patience than desktop users.

A website should have a responsive design in order to provide users on mobile devices with a solid user experience.

6. Make Webpages Easy To Read

Content on a webpage should be clearly and effectively formatted.

This is crucial from a user experience standpoint, as no visitor to a website wants to see large chunks of disorganized text.

When this happens, users will usually skip over crucial content.

However, if that content was formatted into smaller blocks, including bullet points or also image or video content, a user will have a much easier time understanding the content and sharing it with others.

7. Write Shorter Paragraphs

One of the primary things that help with the overall readability of a site is the length of the content.

Create content within short paragraphs so that your visitors can quickly read the content on the small mobile devices most people use these days when consuming content.

8. Use Various Types Of Content

Another focus area when it comes to website readability is to use multiple forms of content in order to engage site visitors more effectively.

Video content can communicate certain kinds of information (like how-to instructions) more efficiently than text.

High-quality images can also help to break up the text, improve communication of big ideas, and help to reduce bounce rates.

9. Use Relevant Keywords

Use relevant keywords that are appropriate for the content topic.

The accurate use of words, sentences, paragraphs, and headings will help to communicate to Google what the page is about.

Stay on topic, do not stray.

The closer on topic the webpage is, the more likely the visitors Google sends will also be on-topic with what they expect to find on the page, thereby reducing the bounce rate.

10. Target Relevant Audience

Similar to relevant keywords, relevant content, on the whole, should be used across the site, and the right users should be targeted.

Identify the core target audience of the site and create niche content around that audience.

Targeting should not be too broad, as there is a greater chance of getting users who are not looking for what your site features.

Honing in and focusing on a specific group of users helps to ensure that you are finding people who want to find what your site offers.

These users will be more engaged and apt to spend a great amount of time exploring your site.

11. Stay Away From Popups

Users generally do not enjoy intrusive interstitials that prevent them from getting to the content.

There are better ways to show interstitials that will not impact users or your webpage rankings.

The rule of thumb is to not get in the way of a site visitor and the content they expect to see.

Allowing them to scroll and enjoy the content first is a better user experience.

If you can avoid using interstitial popups then give it a try.

12. Limit Distracting Ads

Similar to avoiding interstitials and popups, distracting ads should be avoided as well.

A horizontal rectangular ad unit at the top of the page generally performs well, followed by ads within the content and along the sides.

Large ads that make it difficult to read the content can be a poor user experience.

Be aware of the kinds of ads shown on your site in order to catch and block annoying ads.

Listen to site visitors if they complain about specific ads, and follow up with them to understand why they’re having a problem with those ads.

13. Add A Convincing Call-To-Action

A call-to-action (CTA) should be clearly visible on a website.

The user should be able to locate this within the first few seconds of being on a page.

A CTA should also be compelling so that a user is enticed to click on it.

The colors used, the fonts, the verbiage, etc. are all elements that can make a large impact on whether a person clicks.

14. Limit Broken Links

A large number of broken links will only create a poor user experience, leaving a visitor to a website dissatisfied and frustrated if they cannot locate the content that they want to find.

There are a few different ways to locate all of the broken links on a website, such as through Google Search Console or through a site auditing tool such as Screaming Frog.

15. Focus On An Internal Link Strategy

Focus on increasing the likelihood of a user staying on your site by using internal links to keep a user there.

This helps to let users easily navigate to what section of a website they are looking for, and keep their overall user experience enjoyable.

16. Ensure That Links Open On A New Tab

When creating a sound internal linking strategy and linking to other pages on a site, it is important to remember to ensure that those links open in a tab.

This helps to potentially increase the time a user spends on a site since they will have multiple pages open at once.

17. Create A 404 Page That Is Helpful

A 404 page should communicate that a page was not found and also provide alternative webpages for a user to navigate to.

This will help to lower the bounce rate by helping users find what they are looking for.

18. Publish New Content Frequently

Creating fresh content consistently that can offer users a wide variety of topics to explore can be helpful in order to convince people to visit and stay on a site.

19. Display Credibility

Visitors are always looking for how trustworthy a site seems.

When visitors land on your website, they are going through an examination of the content and assessing how reliable it seems.

As a way to help build credibility and increase trust with visitors, it is a good idea to include positive reviews of whatever products and/or services your site features.

Showcase any special seals, and make the site secure in order to help a user trust a site, and thus, decrease the likelihood of them bouncing.

20. Utilize Google Analytics & Other Tools

Several tools can help you when tracking user engagement.

Google Analytics can track:

  • Time on site.
  • Bounce rate.
  • Pages per session.
  • Most frequently and least frequently visited pages.
  • And much more.

Track User Experience with Microsoft Clarity

Other tools like the free Microsoft Clarity can provide heat mapping and visitor recording so that you can see exactly what a user did during a session.

You can view how users react to pages and then adjust and test changes on those pages accordingly.

Increase User Satisfaction

Increase site visitor engagement by diagnosing the reason for high bounce rates then using those insights to improve the site visitor’s user experience.

Optimize based on findings identified by Google Analytics and Microsoft Clarity so that avoidable high bounce rates can be avoided.

The end result will be a website that users enjoy which is exactly what Google prefers to rank.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Bakhtiar Zein/Shutterstock




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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

Google removed the Covid-era structured data associated with the Home Activities rich results that allowed online events to be surfaced in search since August 2020, publishing a mention of the removal in the search documentation changelog.

Home Activities Rich Results

The structured data for the Home Activities rich results allowed providers of online livestreams, pre-recorded events and online events to be findable in Google Search.

The original documentation has been completely removed from the Google Search Central webpages and now redirects to a changelog notation that explains that the Home Activity rich results is no longer available for display.

The original purpose was to allow people to discover things to do from home while in quarantine, particularly online classes and events. Google’s rich results surfaced details of how to watch, description of the activities and registration information.

Providers of online events were required to use Event or Video structured data. Publishers and businesses who have this kind of structured data should be aware that this kind of rich result is no longer surfaced but it’s not necessary to remove the structured data if it’s a burden, it’s not going to hurt anything to publish structured data that isn’t used for rich results.

The changelog for Google’s official documentation explains:

“Removing home activity documentation
What: Removed documentation on home activity structured data.

Why: The home activity feature no longer appears in Google Search results.”

Read more about Google’s Home Activities rich results:

Google Announces Home Activities Rich Results

Read the Wayback Machine’s archive of Google’s original announcement from 2020:

Home activities

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Olga Strel

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Google’s Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

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Google's Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

In a recent LinkedIn discussion, Gary Illyes, Analyst at Google, revealed that the search engine takes a binary approach when assessing a website’s lastmod signal from sitemaps.

The revelation came as Illyes encouraged website owners to upgrade to WordPress 6.5, which now natively supports the lastmod element in sitemaps.

When Mark Williams-Cook asked if Google has a “reputation system” to gauge how much to trust a site’s reported lastmod dates, Illyes stated, “It’s binary: we either trust it or we don’t.”

No Shades Of Gray For Lastmod

The lastmod tag indicates the date of the most recent significant update to a webpage, helping search engines prioritize crawling and indexing.

Illyes’ response suggests Google doesn’t factor in a website’s history or gradually build trust in the lastmod values being reported.

Google either accepts the lastmod dates provided in a site’s sitemap as accurate, or it disregards them.

This binary approach reinforces the need to implement the lastmod tag correctly and only specify dates when making meaningful changes.

Illyes commends the WordPress developer community for their work on version 6.5, which automatically populates the lastmod field without extra configuration.

Accurate Lastmod Essential For Crawl Prioritization

While convenient for WordPress users, the native lastmod support is only beneficial if Google trusts you’re using it correctly.

Inaccurate lastmod tags could lead to Google ignoring the signal when scheduling crawls.

With Illyes confirming Google’s stance, it shows there’s no room for error when using this tag.

Why SEJ Cares

Understanding how Google acts on lastmod can help ensure Google displays new publish dates in search results when you update your content.

It’s an all-or-nothing situation – if the dates are deemed untrustworthy, the signal could be disregarded sitewide.

With the information revealed by Illyes, you can ensure your implementation follows best practices to the letter.


Featured Image: Danishch/Shutterstock

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

There’s one thing standing between you and several days of SEO, socializing, and Singaporean sunshine: your boss (and their Q4 budget 😅).

But don’t worry—we’ve got your back. Here are 5 arguments (and an example message) you can use to persuade your boss to send you to Ahrefs Evolve.

About Ahrefs Evolve

  • 2 days in sunny Singapore (Oct 24–25)
  • 500 digital marketing enthusiasts
  • 18 top speakers from around the world

Learn more and buy tickets.

SEO is changing at a breakneck pace. Between AI Overviews, Google’s rolling update schedule, their huge API leak, and all the documents released during their antitrust trial, it’s hard to keep up. What works in SEO today?

You could watch a YouTube video or two, maybe even attend an hour-long webinar. Or, much more effective: you could spend two full days learning from a panel of 18 international SEO experts, discussing your takeaways live with other attendees.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve speakers from around the world.

Our world-class speakers are tackling the hardest problems and best opportunities in SEO today. The talk agenda covers topics like:

  • Responding to AI Overviews: Amanda King will teach you how to respond to AI Overviews, Google Gemini, and other AI search functions.
  • Surviving (and thriving) Google’s algo updates: Lily Ray will talk through Google’s recent updates, and share data-driven recommendations for what’s working in search today.
  • Planning for the future of SEO: Bernard Huang will talk through the failures of AI content and the path to better results.

(And attendees will get video recordings of each session, so you can share the knowledge with your teammates too.)

View the full talk agenda here.

There’s no substitute for meeting with influencers, peers, and partners in real life. 

Conferences create serendipity: chance encounters and conversations that can have a huge positive impact on you and your business. By way of example, these are some of the real benefits that have come my way from attending conferences:

  • Conversations that lead to new customers for our business,
  • Invitations to speak at events,
  • New business partnerships and co-marketing opportunities, and
  • Meeting people that we went on to hire.

There’s a “halo” effect that lingers long after the event is over: the people you meet will remember you for longer, think more highly of you, and be more likely to help you out, should you ask.

(And let’s not forget: there’s a lot of information, particularly in SEO, that only gets shared in person.)

The “international” part of Evolve matters too. Evolve is a different crowd to your local run-of-the-mill conference. It’s a chance to meet with people from markets you wouldn’t normally meet—from Australia to Indonesia and beyond.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve attendees by home country.

If you’re an Ahrefs customer (thank you!), you’ll learn tons of tips, tricks and workflow improvements from attending Evolve. You’ll have opportunities to:

  • Attend talks from the Ahrefs team, showcasing advanced features and strategies that you can use in your own business.
  • Pick our brains at the Ahrefs booth, where we’ll offer informal 1:1 coaching sessions and previews of up-coming releases (like our new content optimization tool 🤫).
  • Join dedicated Ahrefs training workshops, hosted by the Ahrefs team and Ahrefs power users (tickets for these workshops will sold separately).

As a manager myself, there are two questions I need answered when approving expenses:

  • Is this a reasonable cost?
  • Will we see a return on this investment?

To answer those questions: early bird tickets for Evolve start at $570. For context, “super early bird” tickets for MozCon (another popular SEO conference) this year were almost twice as much: $999.

There’s a lot included in the ticket price too:

  • World-class international speakers,
  • 5-star hotel venue,
  • 5-star hotel food (two tea breaks with snacks & lunch),
  • Networking afterparty, and
  • Full talk recordings to later share with your team.

SEO is a crucial growth channel for most businesses. If you can improve your company’s SEO performance after attending Evolve (and we think you will), you’ll very easily see a positive return on the investment.

Traveling to tropical Singapore (and eating tons of satay) is great for you, but it’s also great for your team. Attending Evolve is a chance to break with routine, reignite your passion for marketing, and come back to your job reinvigorated.

This would be true for any international conference, but it goes double for Singapore. It’s a truly unique place: an ultra-safe, high-tech city that brings together dozens of different cultures.

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Little India in Singapore

You’ll discover different beliefs, working practices, and ways of business—and if you’re anything like me, come back a richer, wiser person for the experience.

If you’re nervous about pitching your boss on attending Evolve, remember: the worst that can happen is a polite “not this time”, and you’ll find yourself in the same position you are now.

So here goes: take this message template, tweak it to your liking, and send it to your boss over email or Slack… and I’ll see you in Singapore 😉

Email template

Hi [your boss’ name],

Our SEO tool provider, Ahrefs, is holding an SEO and digital marketing conference in Singapore in October. I’d like to attend, and I think it’s in the company’s interest:

  • The talks will help us respond to all the changes happening in SEO today. I’m particularly interested in the talks about AI and recent Google updates. 
  • I can network with my peers. I can discover what’s working at other companies, and explore opportunities for partnerships and co-marketing.
  • I can learn how we can use Ahrefs better across the organization.
  • I’ll come back reinvigorated with new ideas and motivation, and I can share my top takeaways and talk recordings with my team after the event.

Early bird tickets are $570. Given how important SEO is to the growth of our business, I think we’ll easily see a return from the spend.

Can we set up time to chat in more detail? Thanks!

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