Most of my clients are using Google Analytics, and if they aren’t I make sure they start. But even for the ones that are using it, they really don’t understand how to navigate to what’s important for them to know. bounce ball

For example, if you have a bounce rate of 96%, what does that mean?

Bounce rate is the rate at which visitors leave your page before a time specified by a search engine expires. They figure that the people come to your web page and just “bounce” off it. They didn’t take the time to read or shop, they just left.

Without even going very much further, you can see why it’s important, I’m guessing. Your visitors aren’t satisfied when they get to the page. It’s important to Google because a high bounce rate tells them that they’re not serving their clients well. When people are leaving your page in a hurry, Google isn’t providing relevant search results for them, which means your page will drop in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

If you’re inviting people to come to your page — be it your home page, a blog post page, or a shopping cart page — if they’re not sticking, there could be one of two things wrong.

1. Your content isn’t what they were searching for

Think about the keyword that those people typed in to get to your page. Is your content relevant for that keyword? Do you even carry a product that meets their expectations for the keyword they typed in?

2. Your content just sucks.

You’re not engaging visitors with what you’re writing. If it’s dry and boring, if there are no images to accompany the text, not enough “white space” to make it look easy to read, or if you’re just not grabbing their attention at ALL… they’re going to leave the page.

Lay the groundwork

It’s very important that you do some diligent keyword research (or have an SEO like me do it for you). It’s not just about low competition and high search volume. You have to consider the searcher’s intent.

For example, if someone types in driver, what comes to mind?

  • Someone who drives a car
  • a golf club
  • computer code that drives a peripheral

Right? So, if you’re selling cars, you might use the keyword to talk about driver experience. If your page is about that, the keyword might be right for your business. Or, if you’re selling golf clubs or if you are a computer or peripheral manufacturer, the keyword might also work for you.

But what do you think the person who types that word into a search engine is thinking? I doubt that it is about being a driver of a car. It could be a golf club, but usually you’ll see driver included with other keywords, such as golf or the product manufacturer, so like “HP driver” or “golf driver.” So, the bottom line is that the very generic “driver” is probably a bad keyword for anyone, unless it takes on a longtail version, such as “HP Photosmart Plus Printer Driver.”  And yet, you’ll see that just plain “driver” gets 124,000,000 searches and the competition is low.

It’s still a bad keyword. If you’re optimizing for “driver” alone, you’re probably going to get a high bounce rate.

What Else Can Be Done?

Bounce rate can also improve if your traffic sticks. Using the right keywords is important, so you also have to be sure that the page your visitor is landing on is applicable. You wouldn’t send someone to your home page, if you’re talking about a particular item you carry.

Let’s say you’re selling wallets. And let’s also say that someone typed that in and found your result at the top of the page. Unless that page is a place where they can see the wallet and perhaps even buy it, they’re going to bounce. They may keep looking, but that’s iffy.

What you have to remember about the Internet is that everyone on it is busy. There’s a lot of work to be done, but even people who are on the Internet for pleasure want to move on to the next thing because there’s just so very much that’s interesting out there. You have to give people a reason to stay.

The big reasons to stay?

1. Give people information that is useful. Solve some problem that people are having in your niche.

2. Entertain them. Show them a funny video or tell them a story.

3. Teach people something.

When you do any of these things, it’s probably going to help you with bounce rate.

What’s Good/Bad?

It’s not 100% accurate to say that there is a good or a bad bounce rate. Some niches just have higher bounce rates than others, and nobody knows what Google’s algorithm thinks. So, I’d say that above 50%, you should be concerned. You’re losing half the visitors that come to your site. Something needs fixing.

Under 50% is good, but you have to decide what a good bounce rate is for you. Do some testing. See if your bounce rate goes up or down.  Also check Engagement in Google Analytics (Audience/Behavior/Engagement) to see how long people are staying on your site before bouncing. You may need to change your keyword strategy or produce some more engaging content.

Figuring that out is all up to you!

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