Written by Attorney Charlotte Christian
One common measurement of Google Analytics is Bounce Rate. Per Wikipedia, “Bounce rate (sometimes confused with exit rate)  is an Internet marketing term used in web traffic analysis. It represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and “bounce” (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site.” Bounce rates basically measure if you site is worth reading. The Bounce Rate measures how many visitors click on a site, arrive on a landing page and immediately leave.
DO SEARCH ENGINES CARE ABOUT BOUNCE RATES?
Google, the Big G, measures what it deems as important. The adage “What is measured is managed” comes to mind when I consider whether or not search engines “care about bounce rates.” If they did not care, why would they measure? If Google measures, I want to manage what they are measuring. Search engines understand and compensate for a visitor entering a site, reading and article and then leaving, however, Search Engines have the ability to distinguish between sticking around to read an article and entering and exiting quickly.
Duane Forrester from Bing penned the following:
“Your goal should be that when a visitor lands on your page, the content answers all of their needs, encouraging their next action to remain with you. If your content does not encourage them to remain with you, they will leave. The search engines can get a sense of this by watching the dwell time. The time between when a user clicks on our search result and when they come back from your website tells a potential story. A minute or two is good as it can easily indicate the visitor consumed your content. Less than a couple of seconds can be viewed as a poor result. And while that’s not the only factor we review when helping to determine quality, it’s a signal we watch.”
My main site at www.northalabamadivorce.com is a relatively young site, so my number of visitors is low compared to the more seasoned sites. However, for the sake of “bounce rate,” I wanted to exhibit my analytics for the month of December, 2012:
At a Bounce Rate of 51.09%, my bounce rate would be considered about average. I am not personally comfortable with a 50% bounce rate as this is the highest rate since the inception of my website. I could attribute this to the fact that my site is for domestic cases and folks are sometimes just looking around during the holidays to determine what is involved in getting a divorce, but I cannot use that thought as a crutch. I will analyze the site to determine which individual pages are getting the largest bounce rate and make some changes to make the pages more reader friendly, change my titles, try to add a more dynamic look to the landing page itself.
HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY BOUNCE RATES?
There are so many schools of thought on correction of bounce rates, but I find the following to be the most helpful tips:
- Get more traffic to the site.
- Use better graphics
- Make your page user friendly (easy navigation, bite sized chunks of information)
- Use testing – Ask a group of people to look at your landing pages and give you feedback
- Split testing can also be considered especially on specific call to action pages.
- Remove distractions from your site
- Make sure your Content and SEO is specific for the visitor you want to reach
- Add Video when and wherever possible.
- If the article / content is ‘engaging’ leave the comments open and interact with readers’ comments, ie discuss issues and encourage engagement.
Resources for tracking site visitors, engagement, bounce rates and more
The above represent only a handful of some of the analytics options available, what are your favorite tools?