In my past life at Advertising.com/Platform-A, I worked with large retailers and big businesses that watched their web analytics
religiously. They looked at everything from conversions to keywords and in particular, the bounce rate. My assumption was that most businesses were keeping an eye on what is actually happening, if not daily, at least weekly on their website. But, in speaking with many small to mid-size companies, I discovered that really is not the case.
Your website, in its most basic format, is an intelligent interactive brochure for your business, no matter how a potential customer found you. A semi-social networking conduit. As we all know, analytics is a key part to understanding what is happening with your business and having analytics connected is simple and easy. It astounds me that so many businesses are not looking at data that is right at their fingertips.
Let's start with the home page. If a customer finds your website with a search engine query and they don't stick around that's an issue! This is called a "bounce" - Someone who visited your website and left for an undefined reason. You should try to determine WHY? Bounce Rate measurement determines the visit quality. A high bounce rate generally indicates that an entrance page/home page may be not relevant to the visitor. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bounce_Rate
Is your site content useful enough to capture that visitor and keep them? If not, there could be multiple reasons why.
- Poor design - Your site may be poorly designed and not captivating or compelling enough to make them want to stay. You have limited time to get a visitor to take a walk through!
- Improper SEO - So a visitor got to your site by using a highly ranked keyword/phrase in a search engine and when they arrive they feel your site was not what they were looking for. Maybe your site messaging and content, title tags, and meta information are optimized with the wrong goal in mind. You need to eliminate the stranglers and focus the page content to hit those searchers meant to make a conversion.
- Paid Search - Change your paid search campaign to eliminate those 100% bounce rate terms. Obviously you don't want to overspend and waste money in this economy. Focus on exact match and limit broad terms to improve overall bounce rate.
Bounce rates typically are not determined by length of time spent on the site with Google Analytics. So, if a site visit occurs and that visitor stays on the entry page for 10 minutes and does not go to any other part of the site; That technically is a bounce. Someone that might have come in and stayed on that page for 10 seconds and went to another page will not be categorized as a bounce. http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=81986
Your business needs to determine why a bounce occurs, and evaluate that rate on a page by page basis and a keyword by keyword basis. You need to direct them from start to finish and provide an easy to use solution for why they entered your site in the first place.
You should also be mindful of the entry points that are driving traffic. If it is a social networking site or link then don't worry about the bounce rate and be thankful that other sources are driving traffic. On the other hand, if you can determine the bounce is coming from a paid search campaign, especially in the content network, you should try to analyze whether that site should be part of your paid strategy.
Last but not least, if you are a business owner, CEO or CMO and you have marketing people on your staff be sure to set monthly site analytics review meeting! You can learn a lot about your business based on what is driving people to your website or in the case of the bounce rate scenario - what's driving them away.
President and Founder Local Roll Call.
Local Roll Call is a search listing provider and consulting firm dedicated to helping businesses get in front of consumers and understand the complexities of the local search landscape. Carberry formed the company after realizing that many businesses large and small don't understand the depth of local search optimization across the search engines and vertical/yellow page directories.
Dave has worked in Search Engine Marketing since 2000 and has worked with organizations ranging in size from small businesses to the Fortune 100. Dave is actively involved in the SEM Community. He speaks regularly at various search marketing and online focused conferences and is a member of SEMPO and the IAB.
A recognized expert and educator in online marketing, pay-per-click advertising, search optimization and local search. Prior to starting Local Roll Call Dave was Director of Feed Management and Search at Advertising.com and Platform-A, delivering new opportunities to clients on an ongoing basis with Consumer Shopping Engines, Paid Inclusion Programs and Cross Channel Feed dispersion.
Dave also served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The G3 Group. Dave has launched several successful start-up business ventures during his career, including WJFK-AM, Targetware.com and InstantPosition.com. He and his two children have also written and self published two children's travel books. Where Was I? New York and Where Was I? Washington D.C.