Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors on a website or webpage who leave without accessing a second internal page. A bounce can occur when a visitor exits his or her web browser, clicks the “back” button, times out, or clicks an external link. Generally speaking, a high bounce rate is indicative of a more serious underlying problem, such as broken elements or lack of relevancy.
So, what steps can you take to lower your site’s bounce rate?
Limit External Links
Including external links in your site’s content can provide real value for the end user as well as building credibility for your own site. However, using too many links may have a negative impact by raising its bounce rate. You have to remember that each outbound link created is another doorway through which visitors can exit your site. So if you are trying to lower your bounce rate and retain more of your visitors, use external links sparingly.
Include More Internal Links
Remember, a “bounce” is triggered when a visitor fails to access a second page on a website. Therefore, conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that including more internal links on your site will lower its bounce rate. Try to get into the habit of linking relevant anchor text to existing articles and pages within your site.
Create More Content You Can Link To
The subject of internal links leads us directly into creating something relevant to link to. There is a direct correlation between the amount of content being published on your website and your site’s bounce rate. The more frequently you publish quality content to keep your website fresh, the more people will interact with multiple pages of your site, making your internal links all the more effective.
Yet Another Related Post Plugin
Assuming your site is running the WordPress content management system (which it should), you can lower your bounce rate by installing the Yet Another Related Post Plugin (YARRP). Once activated, YARRP will display links to related posts and pages at the bottom of your content (hence the name). Of course, you can include these links manually, but YARRP automates the process so you can focus on more attentive aspects of building and growing your web presence.
Reduce Load Times
Excessively long load times may also be contributing to your site’s low bounce rate. If visitors are forced to wait 5+ seconds for a page to load, some of them may choose to exit out. You can check your website’s load time and see how it matches up against other sites by using the free tool at Pingdom.com.
Set External Links to Open in New Window
Last but not least, you should set all external links to open in a new window. This is done by including the target=_”blank” attribute to your links, such as <a href=”http://www.outboundlink.com” target=”_blank”>Link Here</a>. Anytime a visitor clicks an outbound link, their web browser will open a new window; thus, preventing a bounce from occurring.