We recently had an auto client experience a gradual increase in bounce rate over the last year. It wasn’t a dramatic increase, but we still wondered why it was creeping up. These are the steps we took to determine what was causing the increase, and why we decided it wasn’t such a bad thing.
1. Confirm which channels have increasing bounce rates.
The first thing I did was identify where the increase was happening. When I looked at traffic channels year over year, I saw that the increase was happening in organic traffic. Note that while their bounce rate is up, their overall sessions from organic traffic are up as well.
2. Look at individual pages for pageviews and bounce rate.
So this was interesting. I know we are developing content for this client. So why is their organic bounce rate increasing? Next I looked at their individual pages. When I do this, I see that they have a piece of content getting a ton of traffic. In fact, it’s their third most visited page. But look at the bounce rate for this page – it’s 70%.
3. Look at the data over the past year to understand the trend.
Traffic to this particular page is up substantially – 1800% over a year ago! Because of this growth, it is affecting their overall bounce rate.
4. Look at where the traffic is coming from.
This particular piece of content describes the towing and hauling capacity of the Chevy Silverado. The good ole’ boys in Texas like this content – Texas is the number 1 region hitting this page.
This client is located in the Chicago area, so I wasn’t surprised that these visitors from Texas, California, Florida, etc. were bouncing. They aren’t going to buy a vehicle from a dealership in Chicago. They are going to find the answer they were looking for though, which means we are providing a good user experience. The bottom line is this site is getting a ton of free organic traffic. t’s a trade off, because it’s also affecting their overall bounce rate.
So don’t be alarmed if you see a high bounce rate. First, determine the channel(s) where the bounce rate is increasing. If it’s in organic, dig in and see which pieces of content have a high bounce rate. You may just be providing a valuable service, giving users the answers they are looking for online. Which in Google’s eyes, is a very good thing indeed.