If your Analytics are regularly showing a higher than average bounce rate for one or more of your landing pages, there is probably a good reason for it.

All Internet marketers know that website visitors are notoriously difficult to please – and there are several factors that could explain why they are hitting the back button.

Timing

The biggest cause of a high bounce rate is time. Internet users expect everything to happen very quickly and, having clicked on a link, the average visitor will expect the chosen page to load almost instantly and to be able to see the expected content within three to four seconds.

PPC Landing Page Layout

When a visitor chooses to click through to a landing page, they do not expect to have to search for the content they requested. Ideally, they should land at the top of the article, image or information and never have to scroll below the fold to locate it.

Multimedia

Contrary to the belief of some Internet marketers, visitors do not appreciate being distracted by an alarming array of animations, flashing ads and, especially, videos or soundtracks that start automatically as soon as the page opens.

Pop-Ups

There may be a time and a place for pop-ups, but landing pages are not one of them. It is incredibly annoying to have one appear unexpectedly over the top of the text you are trying to read, yet there are numerous websites that continue to do this.

The most annoying ones are social media buttons, a request for an opinion on the website which appears within seconds of arriving there and the worse one of all, an interactive ‘person’ who wants to chat.

Internal Links

Links to further content are a great way to retain visitors and keep them engaged with your website, but if the links do not work or lead to content that is not relevant, a high percentage of visitors are likely to leave the site for good.

On a slightly less serious note (because it is more about personal preference), links that open in the same window rather than in a new one can cause immense frustration. Some users find it annoying to have to navigate back to where they started rather than just closing the window and returning to the original content.

Site Content

There are a few content-related factors that can cause visitors to leave more quickly than you would like and they should not exist if you have been following Google’s quality guidelines:

• Poorly written or keyword-stuffed text

• Too much use of industry jargon

• Irrelevant, generic or slow loading images

Conclusion

Sometimes it is difficult, as a webmaster or Internet marketer, to remain objective – and you may fail to see something obvious.

As well as carrying out your own regular SEO page audits, ask a colleague or friend for their honest opinion.

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About the author:

Alistair Harris is ClickThrough’s head of content. A double-award-winning senior journalist, Ali holds both the NCTJ and NCE qualifications and has more than ten years of experience in traditional press and PR. He has worked in digital marketing and SEO for the past three years and is passionate, enthusiastic and committed to quality.