While I like this post on bounce rate, I disagree with the author’s statement that bounce rate is simply, “…the most basic expression of dissatisfaction with your site users can give you.”
No headline relevance
The author missed one reason for bounce rate that may be the most common cause, but few SEO pros write about it: What the user sees on your site may not match the expectation given by the ad banner they clicked on.
In other words, they aren’t dissatisfied with your site per se; they are dissatisfied with the advertising they clicked on. As an example, I recently read an ad for a retail product that was all about price and comparison to the competition. I clicked on it, expecting to learn more why this product was superior to its competition. Instead, I was sent to a microsite that had no mention of price or competition. It was more of an immersive experience type of site and not at all what I expected to land on.
The fix is simple: Ensure that your online advertising messages are in sync with the page it is linking to. The payoff must be there for the user or the user will be confused, frustrated and have a lower opinion of your brand.
No content relevance
Another way the ad banner can increase bounce rate (which is bad), is by not sending to the proper page in the site. Too many times, a company will spend countless hours creating thoughtful and helpful landing pages that go unnoticed because the ad sent everyone to the homepage instead of directly to that relevant content.
The fix for this is also simple: Ensure whomever purchases your online media knows about landing pages. It’s perfectly OK to send a user 3-5 levels deep in the site from an ad. Better still, make the landing page into a subdomain and purchase a domain name for it.