Don’t Bounce (Rate) Along in Website Analytics

  May 30, 2013   Category :     Search Engine Optimization | SEO,   SEO Analytics   Philip O'Hara

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Most of Directory One’s Houston clients pay close attention to the traffic their website generates. They focus on how many visits their website gets every month. After all, a high number of unique visits mean that potential customers see you and know you’re there. The thinking is that the larger the number of unique visitors a site receives, the greater the chance of conversions and sales.

Are you guilty of tunnel vision and ignoring another important metric?

Bounce rate is a critical website analytic

All the really good SEO companies in Houston also pay close attention to a website’s bounce rate in the monthly analytics. It’s one of the many analytic tools SEO experts use to improve your chances of conversion.

A website’s bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who find your webpage and immediately give you a hello-goodbye. They arrive and leave within seconds. In other words, as far as your visitor is concerned, the party’s over.

For those of you left-brainers fixated on calculations, just divide the number of visitors who viewed only one page by your total number of visitors.

What Causes Bounce Rate?

According to Google, there are many causes for a high bounce rate, including

  • Your site is only one page
  • You site loads slowly
  • All your pages do not have tracking code
  • Your webpages might not be optimized so that they correlate
  • You are using the wrong keywords on each webpage
  • Your landing page is not appealing or user friendly
  • User behavior such as bookmarking for later leisurely exploring or finding your phone number and then leaving

In other words, bounce rate can be caused by mechanical errors such as:

  • coding
  • wrong keywords
  • a slow-loading site

or by the human factors of

  • writing style
  • user preference and habit including individual intuition or reading and information gathering styles

Bounce Rate’s Importance

Your website’s bounce rate can be important. If your visitors are interested, a low bounce rate means that they stick around and explore your website. Your site is relevant to their search. High bounce rates can mean that you were irrelevant to what they were looking for and they were disappointed.

High conversion rates are generally associated with low bounce rates.

Although your site’s bounce rate can reflect customer engagement, there’s a caveat. If you have a high number of visitors who come to your site, find what they are looking for within a few seconds, and then leave, your site will have a high bounce rate. Also, the “acceptable” bounce rate will vary between industries or the type of page that is viewed. If a visitor follows a link on your page, and the link doesn’t open in a separate window, following the link bounces your visitor.

Fixing High Bounce Rates

“Fixing” high bounce rates requires determining the source of the problem. If the problem is mechanical, you might need a site redesign, minor code adjustment, or a host with a faster server (usually a hosting plan upgrade).

Human factors are a little more difficult. SEO companies will start by reviewing content for appropriate quality content, linking, and keyword usage. There’s not much that you can do about bounce rates due to visitor habits such as bookmarking, quick scanning for information, finding it and then leaving, or broad keyword searches when the visitor is looking for a particular topic.

So don’t go bouncing a long when you look at your website’s analytics. Figure out why your bounce rate is high. If it’s something mechanical with your site, fix it. If the visitor is finding exactly what he or she needs, there’s no reason to worry about your bounce rate. If your phone is ringing or you are getting more emails than you can handle from your contact us forms, you really don’t need to worry about your site’s bounce rate, do you?

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