Bounce rate is a term used to measure the percentage of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site. Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. As an indicator of how visitors find the quality of yoru page to their search relevancy, a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and move to conversion. Landing pages should provide the information and services that are relevant to the search term used.
There are many elements that will affect the bounce rate. The main idea is that people coming to your site are on the trail of a scent, following a scent, as Bryan Eisenberg mentioned at SES 2008. If they arrive on your site and have no trace of the scent or a taste they were following, they will immediately leave. They key to this is to provide strong scent on your landing pages relevant to their keyword search.
Bounce rates can be used to help determine the effectiveness or performance of an entry page. An entry page with a low bounce rate means that the page effectively causes visitors to view more pages and continue on deeper into the web site.
Some page elements you may want to consider testing to improve or lower your bounce rate might include:
- Search terms used and the relevancy of the page to the keyword that drives the traffic to the page. Any disconnection between keyword search and page content will break the searcher off as scent is lost.
- More keyword prominence in the headline or header of the page so that visitors clearly see the connection between their want – their scent – and the satiation of that desire.
- Page relevancy and content as it relates to the uniqueness of your offering. In other words, don’t provide a reason for someone to leave the page because of too little information or too much information. Be a concise, authoritative source for search term fulfillment.
As an added opportunity to reduce bounce rate and increase conversions, Google also offers Google Website Optimizer. Google Website Optimizer offers the ability to do simple A/B split testing along with multivariate split testing. The results can then be measures using Google Website Optimizer and Google Analytics to identify more relevancy to searchers with a higher conversion rate and lower bounce rate. Need more help? Click here for further reading and more information on Google Analytics Management.