In Part 1 of our series on bounce rates, we explored how to drill down into your metrics to find the numbers that really matter. But that left us with an unsettling question. For the users that do bounce but shouldn’t…what is missing that would pull them into your site?
Look at where your traffic is coming from and where it is landing
Many people think that a high bounce rate means there is a problem strictly with the content on the page. While that can be the case in part, you should take a step back and look at where people are coming from and the messages they see before arriving to your site to fully diagnosis a high bounce rate. For example, let’s look at the following user interaction…I’ll be the guinea pig.
I’m thinking of buying a new turbocharger for the Subaru WRX I race on the weekends. So I search for turbochargers.
Then I click on a PPC ad that mentions the following items:
- Unbeatable prices
- Turbochargers in stock
- Free shipping
I think to myself, “Great! This is exactly that I am looking for.” I initiate a click and this is the page I am greeted with:
Where is free shipping?
Where are the in-stock items?
And most importantly… WHERE ARE THE TURBOCHARGERS?!
If you just looked at the content of the site in a vacuum, you would find it acceptable. But users being directed to this site from that PPC ad have expectations that this page isn’t fulfilling.
I have seen many people in this situation look at their site metrics and when they see the high-bounce rate, just keep radically changing the page without any real regard to the user’s thought sequence. They get frustrated when the page continues to underperform.
And remember, I am just using my quest to break the local time trial record in my tuned-up WRX as an example. These principles do not only apply to landing pages or companies running paid traffic.
Text links (on other sites directing traffic to your pages), emails, and newsletters set just as much expectation as paid search banners. For external links, use a research tool like Yahoo Site Explorer to investigate the links to your pages along with the messages being communicated. Then evaluate if your page connects with those messages (If you’re uncomfortable with how your page is presented, contact the owner of the page to edit the links. You will be surprised how willing people are to make those edits if you ask nicely.)
Of course, giving customers the information they need is only the beginning. If we really want to address the bounce rates of key segments we are concerned about, we must get them to act…
On Wednesday, Part 3 will examine how you get visitors to act by giving them a clear path for what to do next.
Have additional questions? Other metrics you’d like to look at? Use the comments section below or shoot me a tweet me at: @ctrentmarketing