Reducing High Bounce Rates - Identifying Problem Areas
If you are concerned about your site's bounce rate you first need to identify where the problem is arising. There are a number of factors that could be at fault - most importantly these are likely to be:
- a poorly designed online marketing programme driving low quality traffic to your site
- a marketing programme sending people to poorly designed or inappropriate landing pages
- issues with your site design, layout, content or the structure of your site ("information architecture")
Identifying the cause of a website's high bounce rate
Most Web Analytics packages have a number of reports that you can use to help you understand the main causes of a high bounce rate. The overall bounce rate you are often presented with when you first log in relates to your entire site. Bear in mind that most people tend not to arrive at your home page and so this overall figure is a cumulative statistic based upon the bounce rate for each of the landing pages on your site.
Landing Page Bounce Rates
One of the first things to look at is the bounce rates for each landing page on your site. If you have a very large site then it may not be appropriate to analyse every single entry point to your site and instead focus on those pages that send the most traffic to you. Of these landing pages with a higher than average bounce rate (compared to the rest of your site or industry sector) may require further investigation. A high bounce rate for a particular landing page either indicates a problem with the page OR with your marketing for it.
Traffic Sources Bounce Rates
If you have paid to advertise on a site or for your inclusion in a directory check the bounce rates for different traffic sources to your site. If the bounce rate is high for a particular source then it may be that the referring site simply doesn't capture traffic that is relevant enough to the services you provide. Alternatively it may be that the link from the referring site isn't taking people to the right page on your site.
Keyword Bounce Rates
If you are actively targeting keywords either through SEO or paying for them through e.g. Google Adwords it's very important to know whether these keywords are actually working for you. If a keyword is driving a reasonable level of traffic to you but the bounce rate is high then you are probably either targeting it inappropriately, are directing people to the wrong page on your site or the quality of your landing page needs to be addressed - perhaps to tie in better with your associated PPC advert.
Having identified where the problems are likely to lie the next steps are to modify your marketing campaigns and engage in a landing page optimisation exercise.