Are We Paying Attention to Our Google Analytics Bounce Rate?
So we finally got the attention of our target customer. Perhaps they saw our site from search results, or they got intrigued with an offer we made on social media, or someone referred our business. Whatever the reason, the important thing now is they’re heading off to our website. They came, they saw… but now they’re clicking the exit button.
What made them leave? They took the time to visit, so there’s a good chance that we may have a product, service or solution that they are looking for. But instead of further exploring (to get to know the business and hopefully take our call to action), they decided to go away. They’ve landed on our site, but now they’ve bounced off…it could be that they couldn’t find the information they were looking for and are now looking somewhere else, in all likelihood on a competitor’s website.
Google defines bounce rate as the percentage of single-page visits to a website. When a person reaches a landing page and then goes away without interacting with the content or the page, it adds to the bounce rate.
Google Analytics identifies a number of factors why visitors leave after landing on just one page on a site. Obviously, if our site has only one page, then we will most likely have a high bounce rate. If our site has multiple pages, then something may be wrong with our Web tracking code setup.
Google say that they pay no attention to bounce rates when ranking websites and their pages. It would be unfair if all one-page sites were punished purely based on their choice of design. However, it does make sense that Google acknowledge the number of people who perform a search, click though and then immediately hit the back button, clicking another search result within a short space of time. This would be an indication that your content did not suit the needs of that particular searcher. If Google were to notice this happening regularly, it could indicate to them that your webpage is not particularly relevant to that key-phrase or search term.
The Analytics Help Centre also recommends taking a good look at the site design. The ads you are displaying on the site may be turning people off. The layout may be confusing and unintuitive. You may be using keywords that don’t accurately reflect the content of your pages. Based on these factors, a high bounce rate is commonly caused by poor user experience, and ineffective SEO and content strategy. If your customers can’t find what they are looking for quickly and easily, there is a good chance they won’t stick around.
Where would you click on this website?
So what can we do to reduce your bounce rate?
Here are some tried and tested methods we can try to improve your results:
- Make the page load faster. People will leave for the simple reason that it’s taking them too long to access what they are looking for. Thankfully, we’re no longer in the days of 56k dial up and getting images downloading one excruciating line after another, but make people wait for anything and they’ll soon give up an leave.
- Make the site easy to use. Use visual elements such as colour contrasts and white spaces to make the page more engaging. Space can be a wonderful thing and really focus the user’s attention on what you want them to look at. Give them too many options and the confusion can lead to many giving up on you and your business.
- Deliver the information promised. A simple rule really, but a site which promises life changing information then delivers a poorly disguised sales pitch isn’t giving the value Google wants. Be useful, but be truthful in what your page is aiming to achieve.
- Make content more engaging. Cut content into short blocks, bullets, lists, bold headlines and call-out quotes. The clearer the layout, the more likely your customer will find what they are looking for.
- Make the website mobile-friendly. This is pretty much a given now. Not only does it make it easier for your customers to find information on whichever device they choose, but increases your chances of being ranked in mobile searches.
- Post a clear call to action. Tell your customer what you would like them to do next. Whether it is joining your mailing list, viewing another blog post, or even checking out your sales pages, giving them direction on how they should move around your site will often improve the customer experience.
The bounce rate is one of the most misunderstood and most ignored website metrics. Pay attention to it. Monitor, measure and understand it. The insights gained from the bounce rate will be a priceless tool that can be used to improve a site and make visitors stay for the long haul.
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