Bounce Rate is one of the SEO key success factors that are always under the close radar for web analytics professionals and there are enough reasons for webmasters and Internet marketing professionals to be concerned about high bounce rates. With the increasing awareness about web analytics and businesses taking their web presence more seriously people are now interested to look into more than just the unique visitors and page views and I can vouch for the fact that this would contribute highly towards the overall improvement in the quality of WWW.
What is Bounce Rate?
Bounce Rate can be simply defined as the percentage of website visitors that leave the website directly from the page they enter without clicking through to any other page of the website.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that can be identified as possible causes of high bounce rate:
Internal Factors Affecting Bounce Rate
- Web Design and Usability: Presentation is important. If your web design is cluttered, have some colors that really hurt the eyes, full of jumping flash animations or has some other design flaw that makes your visitors feel uncomfortable you can be sure that the page would experience a high bounce rate. On similar note if your users need to spend time trying to understand your website or comprehend the features you provide, even if your content is the best in the world your bounce rate would tend to be on the higher side. Here are some site usability checking tools.Provide easy to use interface with a nice design and good content your visitors will stick.
- Website Content: Make sure your content adds some value to your visitors and also the content and information flow is good enough to carry your visitors from one page to the other. You might have good content but if there is no spontaneity in writing and if the information flow is not proper, after reading the first page your user would think “what next?” This is the point they bounce off your site. Ensure that your content is written well and give prominent clues to your visitors as to what is the next step .Your website is like your home, if you want your guest to see the entire house you need to take them around, when your visitors come to the door and you don’t invite them in they are likely to leave from the door itself. So use your content wisely to invite them in and keep them entertained.
- Website Navigation: Somewhat similar to the point we discussed above. Navigational issues are one of the key factors that contribute to the bounce rate. If you want your visitors to move around your website provide them with a clear intuitive navigation structure. Don’t leave anything to their guess work.
- Technical Issues: There can be a wide range of factors under this. Think if you land up on a page part of which shows some PHP code instead of the data that it was supposed to pull from the database. Aren’t you likely to feel bad about it? If you have got a fancy ActiveX component on your webpage that requires your viewers to download some other file to get it to render properly, how many of them do you think would do that? Most of these visitors would add to your Bounce rate figure.
Marketing Factors Affecting Bounce Rate
- Wrong Keyword Selection: Search marketing is one of the key avenues through which any website gets a large chunk of their traffic and the entire search marketing game is based on keywords. What happens if you chose the wrong keywords?Well if you choose the wrong keywords and start optimizing your website for the non relevant keywords (which is tad difficult with modern day search engines) or show up on search ads for non relevant keywords ( which is very much possible) all you get are some non targeted visitors who are looking for something different from what your website has to offer. Result: High Bounce Rate.
- Ad Copy: Ad copies represent your website in the paid search results. If this representation is not aligned to what your website has to offer it is definitely going to boost up your bounce rate. At times novice search marketers would create alluring ad copies to boost CTR and increase the number of visitors but if the communication in your ad copies is not in line with the content on your page you can’t retain them.
- Page Title and Meta Description: You can say this is the organic counterpart of Ad Copies. Search Engines typically display the Page Title and Meta description in the organic search result snippets. If the message in page Title and Meta description is not in line with the content of the page, high bounce rate is a big possibility.
External Factors contributing to High Bounce Rate
- Occasional Irrelevant Results from Search Engines – Well, irrespective of all the advancement that the search engines have done at times they still throw in a few irrelevant results and if your site is one of those results you will definitely get a few extra visitors but they will definitely be bouncing off.There is not much that you can do about this. You can still find out those unrelated keywords that are driving traffic and investigate the reason on how search engines are relating to your site for those terms and then try to eradicate the cause.
- Improper External Link: A very rare situation, but might happen. If an external site links to your site using an anchor text that’s not related to your website, this link would drive traffic that come to your website with some expectations but would find different content – Result: bounce off. Here are some tools to explore and validate outbound links
Author Bio: Saptarshi Roy Chaudhury is a SEO Consultant from India. He has 7 years of experience in the Internet marketing industry and works as a SEO consultant for various US and UK based clients. Check his Internet Marketing blog for other interesting posts.