Concerned About Your Bounce Rate?

- June 30, 2009

You’ve worked extremely hard for months and have finally achieved first page positions in the search results for many of your important keywords, yet you’re still not happy with your site’s bounce rate. What could be wrong?    

Let’s first start out with a few definitions.   A bounce is a single page visit.   A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that arrive at one page and exit the site before viewing another page.   So the real question is not what is a bounce rate, but rather, what can I do to improve (decrease) my site’s bounce rate?

The first thing you should do is to check the coding of your site. Have all of your pages been tagged with the proper tracking code?   If not, this could be the problem. If only your homepage is tagged, your Analytics account will not be able to account for any other page views on the website.

Is the website’s design or usability a factor?   We all know about the importance of first impressions.   The same applies to your website. The presentation and design of the site can affect the bounce rate. Are the pages cluttered or do irritating pop-ups appear when a visitor arrives to the site?   Is there an intuitive navigation that enables someone to easily find what he or she is looking for? Take the time to address these questions and ensure that the design and navigation options are not creating obstacles, preventing your visitors from viewing other pages.

Do the page titles and descriptions correspond to the content on the page? Throughout the optimization process, you have crafted meta data so that the titles and descriptions are compelling and keyword-rich, but if the content on the page does not match up with those titles and description tags, you will be setting your pages up for failure.   Make sure that the titles and descriptions for all of your pages describe the content accurately.

The search engines have advanced algorithms and do a decent job of providing searchers relevant results.   However, if you have optimized pages for keywords that aren’t what the searcher is expecting to find, you are going to have a difficult time keeping the visitor on your site. Taking the time to conduct keyword research is crucial. All of the pages on the site need to be optimized for precisely what they are about. There are often variations of keywords that would make sense to optimize the content of a page around, and this is where keyword research is most important.

While there’s not a magic number that is good or bad, it’s never too late to review the above items to ensure that you’re providing the best experience for the visitor, which can reduce the bounce rate. It’s essential to know your visitors, why they are arriving to your site, and what they are looking for once they get there.

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