Lowering Your Bounce Rate: What to Analyze

Posted by Mark Thompson - June 20, 2008 - Analytics - 3 Comments

Clients always seem to ask what bounce rate is. I wanted to explain what bounce rate is, the factors that determine bounce rate, how you should analyze it, and in what cases you should take action to lower your bounce rate.

Defining Bounce Rate

A Bounce is simply a visitor coming to your site or page and leaving immediately, without visiting any other pages on your site. So Bounce Rate is just giving you a percentage of those people who only went to one page of your site. In other words:

Bounce Rate = single page visit/total entries to the site through that page

Factors That Determine Bounce Rate

There are many factors that go into your bounce rate. They can range from numerous on-site and off-site factors. There is no industry standard as to what a good or bad bounce rate is. There are some trends and assumptions that can be made for specific industries, but it depends on many factors. Steve Jackson, CEO of Aboavista wrote a post talking about the bounce rate averages for specific industries.

Onsite Factors

  • Your pages are not engaging enough for the user to stay on your site
  • The content is not relevant to what the user was searching for
  • Your offer, headline, content is not compelling enough
  • You are optimizing your site for the wrong search terms
  • You page takes too long to load
  • Users came to your site looking for something else
  • The user hit the back or refresh button

Offsite Factors

  • The keywords you are bidding on in your PPC campaigns are too broad
  • You are marketing on sites that are not relevant to what you do
  • You are marketing to the wrong target audience

How to Analyze Bounce Rate

Bounce Rate is a great way to measure the quality of traffic coming to your website. The data is great for determining how each page on your site is doing. There are a few different ways you want to look at the data.

Compare your bounce rate with each of your pages. This will give you an understanding of which pages users are more engaged with and which could need improvement.

Compare your bounce rate with your referring sites. This is especially useful if you are doing any other marketing programs online. You can get an idea of which websites are bringing you more qualified traffic. You may want to look at the average time on site as well. If you are seeing a low bounce rate and a high time on site, you may want to put more marketing dollars towards those sites.

Compare your bounce rate with your keywords, both organic and PPC. See which keywords are bringing you the most relevant traffic. Optimize your site for the keywords that are bringing you the most page views, lowest bounce rate, and highest time on site.

You may also want to look at the top exit pages. If you see a lot of people leaving on certain pages, maybe you need to focus on building better content for the user.

Taking Action

Luckily there are plenty of things you can do to fix your bounce rate.

PPC

For companies doing PPC campaigns it can be hard to improve your bounce rate if you are already bidding on qualified traffic. One argument against bounce rate for PPC campaigns is that you have the flexibility to land people on any page you would like, within your site. So technically you could say that because you are landing the people on the appropriate page, they can get everything they need from that one page. Overall, PPC campaigns generally have a higher bounce rate just because they are not trusted as much as the organic search results.

Make sure you are optimizing your campaigns for the long-tail keywords. These keywords are targeted towards consumers who know what they are looking for and are in most cases ready-to-buy.

Organically

If you do proper keyword research you will drive the most relevant traffic to your site, leading to more conversions.

Onsite

Implement some A/B or Multivariate testing to see which landing pages produce better results. Keep testing and refining to find the pages that bring you the best results. Test images, photos, content, videos, icons, buttons, colors, headlines, etc…

Create targeted landing pages for offers, products, and services.

Offsite

Try different third party website to see if they bring you more qualified traffic. Once you have found those sites, allocate more of your marketing dollars to those sites that bring you results.

About the Author

Mark Thompson

Mark is the creator of StayOnSearch and president of Search Creatively, a full-service Internet Marketing Company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also contributes to many industry related blogs including Search Engine Journal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Mark on Twitter
2 comments
webdrops
webdrops

I believe this is an excellent article... Thanks for sharing all the information

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