I have been asked by many clients ‘how can I be sure my search engine marketing campaign is performing?’ While there are a number of ways to determine the success of an internet campaign; one important metric to pay attention to is the bounce rate. The bounce rate refers to visitors who get to your page, but quickly leave with little to no interaction.
There are many factors that can contribute to bounce rate. Some visitors may click on the ads accidently; we are all guilty of this. These accidental clicks do not necessarily reflect on the effectiveness of the ads, due to the fact that it is attributed to human error. However, confusing or misleading ads can lead to many visitors clicking on ads, but a large abandonment rate. Another cause of a high bounce rate can be searchers who do not find what they are seeking. According to FutureNow, it is necessary for a website to have relevant content in order for a user to ‘move forward until found’ and visit additional site pages. For example, if you are an advertiser selling T-shirts, you may not want to use slang keywords such as ‘tees.’ By utilizing this keyword, you run a great of risk of having your ads associated with golf-related search results. The Google content network can be a valuable resource when used correctly; however, when general keywords are used and targeted across all relevant search pages, you may see your bounce rate rise exponentially.
So, how can the bounce rate be lowered? Here are some suggestions to not only decrease the campaign bounce rate, but also improve the quality of your visitors.
– Review your ad copy to ensure that your ads are not misleading or confusing to potential searchers
– Utilize Google Analytics to determine trends in which the bounce rate has increased or decreased
– Identify individual keywords that have an exceptionally high bounce rate. According to Blogsessive, a bounce rate between 20% and 50% is acceptable.
– Consider adding negative keywords to your cost per click campaign to reduce the amount superfluous clicks and irrelevant searches
– If using the Google Content Network, select specific topics and sites of interest pertinent to your product or services
By paying attention to your bounce rate, you can not only improve the quality of visitors to your site, but also the amount of conversions generated.
Every Wednesday, I sit down and interview different metrics or report sections from Google Analytics. I ask the tough questions – and I expect straight answers! (This, obviously, is a fictional interview. However, if metrics or reports could talk and be interviewed, this is how I imagine their personalities being and how they would answer my questions. Hopefully this will be a fresh, interesting way to learn about the wonderful world of Google Analytics in a unique way).
Joe Teixeira – “Hey there Bounce Rate, how’s it going?”
Bounce Rate – “Hey Joe! Right now I’m doing great and flying low…but tomorrow I may be down on my luck…”
JT – “Well, why do you say that?”
BR – “There’s a reason my name is “Bounce” Rate – sometimes I’m very low and loved by everyone – other times, when I’m a bit higher, I’m scrutinized and examined like a Wall Street executive on Capitol Hill.”
JT – “Well, you’re a very important metric, Bounce Rate. People really seem to love you when you’re low…”
BR – “I know, I know…it’s just…why can’t they always love me, even when I’m high? I mean, I’m just a metric…why can’t more people look at other things, too?”
JT – “Are there any other places that you want people to start paying attention to?”
BR – “Yeah – and I hate to put him on the spot, because we go way back – but people should look at me when they’re looking at Top Landing Pages. I mean, it’s a great place for everyone to find out how effective each one of the pages of their website are as an entry point, as a landing page.”
JT – “So you feel as if people may be looking at you in a way that you feel is not necessarily the best?”
BR – “Oh yeah, absolutely! When people look at me on the Dashboard, they either love me or hate me – there’s never any middle ground. Well, I think people should really go beyond the Dashboard and see me when I’m broken down by each individual landing page or keyword!”
JT – “Have you talked to Top Landing Pages or Keywords about this?”
BR – I talked to Top Landing Pages – he agrees with me. It’s hard to get a hold of Keywords now a days, though. A lot of requests for him, you know…”
JT – “Sure, I bet.”
JT – “Let’s move on. What percentage makes you happy? 25%? 30%? 50%?”
BR – “See, there you go. You’re just like everyone else; you want a fixed percentage for me. Why can’t anyone accept me for who I am? Sometimes I can’t be 25% – but that doesn’t mean 25% is too high. Other times I can’t get lower than 60%, but – in a lot of industries – 60% is really good! Yet so many people tell me “I want you to be 15% across the board”, and depending on the site and the industry, I just can’t get that low…I just can’t…”
JT – “I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. But you’re so great at pointing out to [most] of us the pages, keywords, and even the site search terms that we need to focus our optimization efforts on…sometimes we get greedy and we want you as low as possible!”
BR – “It’s not like I’m not trying to be low, Joe…I DO try…but there’s nothing I can do when sometimes there are just so many bounces that have to be divided into the number of entrances…if people just focused more on helping me be lower, rather than yelling and cursing at me for not being low enough, I probably would be much lower over time!”
JT – “I agree with you. One final question before I let you go: recently, Google Analytics has decided that your long-time friend, setVar, would no longer be counted as an interaction hit. Have you spoken to setVar at all since the announcement?”
BR – “Yeah, I talked to setVar a few times – he’s sorrier for me than I am for him, because now that he’s not an interaction hit, I’m going to go up at least a few percentage points here and there. But I’m OK – and I’m happy for setVar, you know. I think it’s important that he’s classified and tabulated properly from now on.”
JT – “Thank you, Bounce Rate. Hang in there…”
BR – “OK, thank you…I will…”
Tune in next Wednesday, where my special guest will be the notorious Average Time on Site. You won’t want to miss it!
We have all heard the clichÃ©’s by now: perception is reality or you only get one chance to make a good first impression. In my opinion, clichÃ©s become just, that because they are so true. When it comes to search engine marketing, these clichÃ©s apply across the board. If you build a nice looking site, have great search engine rankings in both the natural and paid listings, then you can position your business no matter how small, as the big player in the market because perception is reality. If you are managing a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign and drive traffic to a poor landing page with no relevancy, little or no content and no action items for the visitor, most likely they will bounce from that page. You only get one chance to make a good first impression with that visitor, so make sure it is engaging and memorable.
Next time you are developing an online strategy for marketing your business, think about those concepts. In the online arena, you do not have to be intimidated by the 800 lb gorilla in your industry. In fact, some of those large, “well established” companies make the biggest mistakes in online marketing. They may have the huge TV budget and the 50,000 square foot showroom, 20 VP’s and 1000 sales people…but in online marketing, and PPC campaigns in particular, every business is fighting for the same limited space. If you build it they will come is a great line from the movie Field of Dreams, but in online marketing that is not true. In reality, if you build it and build it well, make sure you drive relevant traffic to your site and you can compete with any other business online.
In addition, be sure to think about what “face” you want to put on when a visitor arrives, because as I mentioned, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Your landing page should be relevant to the keywords you used in the ads that generated that visitor. Make sure the page loads quickly, has optimized, keyword rich content, and most importantly a clear call to action. This is your chance to make a good first impression, so don’t blow it by haphazardly choosing a landing page with a poor design, slow load time, and no calls to action. The downside could be huge if you don’t make a good first impression with your landing page. For years to come those previous visitors may be searching online and possibly pass you by, because their impression of your business was uninspiring.