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.
Bounce Rate – the most popular two words in Web Analytics today. It’s become a cliche, a catch-phrase if you will. Everyone is talking about Bounce Rate and how good, how bad, how low or how high it is, and quite a number of folks have started to use Bounce Rate as an evaluation metric for success. I can safely speak for everyone involved with Google Analytics when I extend a huge “Thank You!” to all of you who have embraced it!
Interestingly, Bounce Rate is one of the only metrics in Web Analytics that we want less of. We want lower bounce rates, not higher, and fewer bounces, not more. A question I get asked at least three times a week by clients and co-workers alike is “How do we lower our Bounce Rate?” There are a lot of things that you can do, but there are only so many options that have proven to be effective over time. Today, let me share with you five different things that you can do – today – to start decreasing your bounce rate, by keeping your website’s visitors engaged with your website.
1. A “Higher” Call-To-Action
Have you ever heard the expression “Out of Sight, Out of Mind“? A persuasive and engaging call-to-action that is very low on a page, say, below the fold of a page, can cause visitors to lose focus and get distracted by your content / video / latest web 2.0 toy, which may cause the visitor to hit the back button or close their browser before visiting the next page on your site. No matter how nice of a call-to-action you have and no matter how attractive the offer or pitch may be, it needs to be highly visible to your website’s audience so that they can react (positively) to it and click on it, thereby lower the number of folks who bounce off of the page.
2. A Sync with your Ads and your Landing Pages
No, I’m not talking about N’Sync – I’m talking about a strong connection between the ads and the messaging you are using with the page that you are directing all of your future visitors to go to. One of the biggest factors that could be driving your Bounce Rates higher and higher is a mixed message that you are sending to your potential visitors. For example, if your ad copy says “15% Off!”, you need to make sure that “15% Off!” is the very first thing that a visitor sees when they hit your website. If you have “multiple sizes and colors available”, direct the visitor to a page where they can choose their favorite color and the right size. Using a promo code in your ad? Create a unique landing page and have the promo code appear right away on the page, so that visitors will feel the connection between your marketing message and what’s really happening on the website.
3. Improper Tagging on your Website Pages
A silent but very deadly killer, untagged pages of your website can only do your website harm. When some pages are missing the Google Analytics Tracking Code, visitors reaching those pages will have their referral cookie updated, thereby resetting information like “google / organic”, the campaign, and the keyword they used to reach you. At all times, when uploading a new page or section to your site, stop and make sure that the Google Analytics Tracking Code is present on your new page(s) first before uploading. This will save you a lot of head-scratching, unnecessary report ugliness, and will decrease your Bounce Rate, all at the same time!
4. Writing for your audience
Khrysti / SEO Team – I haven’t forgotten about you, because I am still writing “Content Is King!” That statement definitely translates to the Analytics side of things, and helps reduce your Bounce Rate. Use a combination of Google Insights for Search, Google Ad Planner and Google Trends for Websites to get an idea of the type of traffic that your website can receive, as well as valuable demographic information which could represent your future audience. Once you are comfortable with the type of audience and volume you expect to receive, write your website’s content appropriately and specifically targeted, so that visitors will feel a connection with what you’re saying. To use an exaggerated example, you wouldn’t want to talk about the fashion stylings of the cast of “The Hills” if your website sells motorcycle insurance (This, unfortunately, happens a lot on the web and it leads to a high number of bounces).
5. Testing, Testing, 1…2…3!
Finally, it’s essential that you incorporate some program of testing and experimentation on your website on a weekly or monthly basis. Each and every week (or few weeks), you should think about some element of your website or some element of an advertisement that you’ll want to experiment with, to see which version is the more profitable and successful one. Google Website Optimizer is a fantastic product where you can easily create as many experiments as you’d like, and see clear results in no time. You can also create a Website Optimizer experiment from start to finish in well under 10 minutes, which means you won’t have to be bogged down with hours of set-up and design time. Testing and experimentation with Google Website Optimizer is one of the best ways to decrease your Bounce Rate over the long-run, while sky-rocketing your conversion rates at the same time!
So there you have it – 5 great things that you can do today to start lowering your Bounce Rate, keeping your website’s visitors engaged, focused, and happy with you!
Late last week, I was speaking with a client about their campaign performance by using Google Analytics. Since this client only services one specific part of the country, I was able to show them a state view which indicated how many visitors arrived from each city in the area. It occurred to me that many advertisers are not getting as deep of a level of information as they could be.
Not only does Google Analytics allow advertisers to track both paid and non-paid search engine marketing efforts, but it also allows insight into user patterns and trends. For example, by comparing goal conversions to amount of visitors, an advertiser can see which days result in higher conversions. From this information, it is even possible to then determine which days may require a larger budget than others.
Google Analytics data is also helpful in assessing which countries, states or cities result in goal conversions and sales. For example, an advertiser who sees that specific states have significantly lower conversions and higher bounce rates compared to other performing states may use this information to exclude the non-performing states or cities.
I always recommend to my clients to use their Google Analytics or at least play around with it. The level of detailed information available with Google Analytics plays an important role in shaping your online efforts. There is more to look at than only the Google Analytics dashboard; try clicking around and see what types of campaign information you discover. Remember, you are not going to break it, so explore the wonderful world of Google Analytics for yourself.