Sometimes, less is more. Sometimes, fewer words can speak at a higher volume than lots of words. Sometimes, a simple, neat, and easy to read report can have a greater effect than a report filled with endless columns and rows of data. This is the case with the Top Landing Pages report in Google Analytics.
Tucked away quietly in the middle of the Content section of your Google Analytics profile, the Top Landing Pages report won’t dazzle you with an AJAX-based, “do-it-yourself” module like the Custom Advanced Segments area or fancy click-data on top of your web site like the Site Overlay report. In fact, the Top Landing Pages report has only three quantitative columns – most reports start out with at least five or six.
The report even has an evil twin – the Top Exit Pages report, which for the few folks who discover Top Landing Pages, can confound the two reports and even go as far as thinking that one is the continuation of the other (ouch!).
So what is it about Top Landing Pages that is so valuable, and such a hidden gem? Two words: Bounce Rate. The sole purpose of the Top Landing Pages report is to compare Bounce Rates against the entry pages that your visitors used to reach your web site. And, as we all know, Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page visits to your web site. High bounce rates are bad, because they suggest that your Landing Pages are either broken, unattractive, or did not meet visitor expectations. Low bounce rates are very good, because they suggest that your Landing Page content was interesting and persuasive enough to entice a visitor to go to another one of your site pages.
When you bring up the Top Landing Pages report, you’ll immediately see your top 10 Landing Pages (or, entry points) of your web site, and three metrics for each Landing Page: Entrances, Bounces, and Bounce Rate. You can use the “Rows” drop-down at the bottom-right of your report table to see more Landing Pages if you choose, and the “Filter” tool on the bottom-left of your report table to include or exclude certain pages from the report.
I mentioned two paragraphs ago that a high bounce rate is bad, and a low bounce rate is good. However, I won’t give you a percentage and say whether or not that figure is good or bad. A Bounce Rate of 35% may be very high for your web site, or it may be very low, which depends on several factors, such as visitor demographics and your web site’s industry vertical. Comparing your Bounce Rate against a static number will not give you an accurate measure of performance. However, Comparing your Bounce Rate against your site’s average will allow you to provide a backdrop of context for each individual Landing Page, as shown in the following image, with the Comparison to Site Average view enabled:
After you’ve used Top Landing Pages for your own web site, determine which pages are in need of some optimization work. Is a Landing Page that you’re using for your pay per click campaigns suffering from a really high bounce rate? Now would be the time to possibly re-write that page’s content, make it more conversion-oriented, or fix any technical errors that may be present. Is one of your category-level pages a rock-star with a minuscule bounce rate? You may want to give Kudos to your SEO team, as their copywriting and keyword-matching optimization work is paying off.
Now that the best-kept Google Analytics secret has been exposed, add this report to your dashboard, or set-up a scheduled email report so that you can stay ahead of the curve and begin lowering those Bounce Rates!
I cannot stress enough the importance of having a solid landing page to direct website visitors to. This is especially true when you are running a Cost Per Click (CPC) Campaign. If you are going to pay to drive a visitor to your site, you ought to make sure the visitor is sent to a page that clearly and concisely represents not only your offerings, but more importantly the offering that this particular visitor was searching for. In other words, it is rather frustrating for a searcher to click on an ad for a pair of Nike shoes and instead be sent to a page for Nike shirts. If you’re lucky, your visitor will be patient enough to go through your navigation and locate the Nike shoes page they should have been sent to in the first place. More than likely, however, the searcher you already paid for will just click on the back browser and find another ad. So how can online retailers prevent bounces like this from occurring? Although there is no way to guarantee a low bounce rate, there are steps you can take to improve it and your landing pages are a great place to start.
A good landing page will possess a clear cut call to action. What do you want your visitors to do? Examples: Click here to receive your coupon, Fill out this form to generate your free report, Enter your email address to be added to our monthly newsletter, etc.
In addition and beyond just the importance of user experience, Google very specifically factors in landing page quality and relevance as part of their algorithm. This algorithm determines where your ads will appear and how much you will have to bid. Therefore, having an effective landing page will not only improve the experience for your searchers, but also afford you the ability to garner better online real estate and at a lower CPC.
What are you waiting for? Get busy and start to improve your landing pages!
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.