More On High Bounce Rates

Since I wrote about watching your website with Google Analytics and monitoring your bounce rate there have been a few questions from readers and customers that I felt I needed to address.

First, Google Analytics gives you an overall website bounce rate as well as a bounce rate by page. The higher the number the less relevant your page content is to your readers’ search queries and for that matter to your main website theme.

What causes a high bounce rate?

There are a few factors that can bump up your bounce rate. They are:

  • Your site is attracting the wrong type of readers
  • Your site is not user friendly and needs improved navigation
  • Your website has a long page load time and visitors are not waiting and leaving
  • You may be driving poorly targeted pay per click traffic to your website

I’ve see a few instances recently where there is great informational content on a site, but the content is driving up the site’s overall bounce rate. I can think of an example on my own website. I provide how-to’s as a courtesy on Outlook, email signatures, and other questions and topics from my newsletters over the years that clients have repeatedly asked for help with. Although this content is not about my services or even what I provide, it is archived on my site. I frequently point clients to pages of this informational content when they ask for how to fix a computer or email issue. As a result, these pages have been widely linked to around the web, and they drive traffic to my site. However, they typically have a very high bounce rate as the readers are not interested in my services just the information or how to. This could be a good reason for a high bounce rate.

If Google starts penalizing me for this content, these pages will be the very first I will delete. You may have similar types of pages on your site. Now, if you don’t have pages like this, and all your pages are about your own services, then a careful review of my list above may help you to isolate the issue causing your own high bounce rate.

If it makes sense to your business, you want to lower your bounce rate when possible but without hurting your overall traffic or reason you have content in place. Think carefully about your own situation and what your needs are for traffic before you start deleting files or dropping content blocks. You want to build on the things you do right not screw things up for yourself.