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Digital Spark LLC
What Bounce Rates Tell You About Your Website
Boing, boing, boing…. No, that’s not a kangaroo hopping across your monitor. It’s the sound of people leaping from your website immediately upon landing. In more formal parlance, it’s known as a bounce rate. In technical terms, a bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your website and leave without viewing any other pages on your website.
What does this mean in the grand scheme of things?
It means your website isn’t holding on to its visitors. And when you don’t hold on to your visitors, your conversion rate goes down the tubes. And when your conversion rate goes down the tubes, you have to talk to your boss. And when you have to talk to your boss, you say the wrong thing and you get fired.
If you’re going to get fired, it should be because you brought a kangaroo to the office, not because of your website’s bounce rate.
What Does a High Bounce Rate Say About Your Content?
A high bounce rate can tell you several things about your webpage specifically or your website in general. These things usually fall into 1 of 3 categories:
- Visitors aren’t finding what they expected to find: Are you seeing very high bounce rates on a campaign landing page? If so, that probably means there’s a disconnect between the content of your marketing message and the content of the landing page. If you offered a free download and how to get that free download is buried in the page’s content somewhere far down so people have to scroll to find it, they’re probably going to leave.
- Visitors aren’t finding what they wanted to find: Bounce rates can be an indicator that visitors who have come to your site looking for something specific can’t find it. Sometimes this is because it’s not there and other times because the site is too hard to navigate to the content they want.
- Visitors aren’t finding anything of interest at all: Even if 1 and 2 above are true, a visitor to your site may still hang around if they find something else that interests them.
How Do You Fix the Problem(s)?
While there are many factors you can adjust to reduce bounce rates, there are a few key ones we’ll look at here.
The Best Content: Most analytics programs will show you the pages on your website that have received the most pageviews within your chosen time period. You can then sort the bounce rate by clicking on that column to see pages with the highest to lowest bounce rate. This information can help you determine:
- Which pages are successful in leading visitors to more pages and which aren’t;
- Which pages are in need of critical attention – you will typically want to improve the bounce rate of pages with a high volume of pageviews first;
- Which pages can serve as models for other pages; the lower the bounce rate the better the quality of leads generated from those pages.
The Best Source of Traffic: Find the place in your analytics program that shows you the traffic sources that brought the most visitors to your site. Look at the relative bounce rate of the various pages visitors from those sources entered on. What does this information tell you?
- Which traffic sources bring visitors to your site that hang out the longest;
- Which segment of your site’s visitors you’re actually satisfying – if visitors from Facebook stick around while Reddit users jump away, you can work to tailor your content to better suit Reddit users or focus your time and money on Facebook.
The Best Keywords to Use: Filter to see the keywords that brought people to your site and their relative bounce rates. You can also filter this data to see which keywords were successful in leading to the most page views, higher amount of time spent on each page, and more. This information will help you determine:
- Which keywords to focus on in advertising or promotional campaigns
- Which keywords are actually hurting your website traffic or business
- Which keywords lead to further browsing and more page views per visit
Is a High Bounce Rate Always a Bad Thing?
Not always, but it depends on the company and the end goal. On websites, the key is usually to make sure that once visitors land on a page, they either perform a desired action (conversion) or are drawn to visiting even more pages throughout your site. But what if you’re desired goal is to get them to go somewhere else or to call your business? In these instances, a high bounce rate might indicate you’re actually doing a really good job or you see increased business offline. You’ll just need to make sure you have the adequate means of capturing those alternative forms of conversion.
- Tags: Analytics