I ran across Bounce Rate articles on the web recently and see that many people are wasting their time with this metric. A high bounce rate can be because:
- The referring website is low quality. This happens a lot with social media sites
- The search engine is sending traffic through its images feature
- The keyword is not that relevant to your product offering but your web site ranks high on the search engine
- The traffic is coming directly. This could be from bookmarks but also from hackers, employees or robots that you web analysis software is not filtering out
- Loyal visitors may only come to see what is new (especially from a newsletter) and then leave
A high bounce rate in these cases is not something to worry about.
Bounce rate is almost meaningless unless you drill down
Avinash has put forward good ideas but in most cases we need to go further. Drill down to the:
- Keyword. This is obvious
- Page. This is not enough. When looking at the page drill down to the keywords and traffic sources
- See how the bounce rate changes over time. Map this to previous years to eliminate seasonal influences. Then map changes in bounce rate to changes made on the page, traffic source and keyword changes. This will provide further insights. You may find a change you made to a web page that you forgot to track that either caused much damage or increased success rate dramatically
- Cost of wasted money from Google Adwords and other PPC campaigns. Multiply the bounce rate by the spend for each page but don’t stop there. Analyze by keyword and ad too
After your analysis you will find website pages and/or traffic sources to optimize. Don’t forget to track the improvements you made to make sure your changes bring the desired results.