In the previous blog post, we learned what bounce rate is, how to measure it, what the average bounce rate is and, finally, how bounce rate relates to your online revenue.
In today’s post I’ll be continuing our series on bounce rate and online revenue. Remember, a high bounce rate can be a sign of problems with your website that need to be fixed. Today we’ll start at the very beginning: how a user navigates to your website in the first place. Bounce rate can tell you a lot about the traffic you’re generating—and whether it’s the right traffic…or the kind of traffic you don’t want.
Why would your site be attracting the wrong kind of traffic? Let’s dive in and find out.
There are number of ways your website can be found by the outside world:
- Natural search engine results (aka SEO)
- Pay-per-click ads—the paid advertisements in search engine results
- Banner ad on another site
- Your social media profiles
- External link on another site—a mention in a blog post, for example, or your own guest post
Now let’s dig deeper into the things that could be driving up your bounce rate from these channels—and how to make sure they’re driving the right kind of traffic to your site instead.
Natural search engine ranking (SEO)
The most popular source of confusion for any visitor is a misleading title or description in search engine results. If the title or description contains a certain keyword that entices a visitor to click, but then your actual page content is not related to what they were looking for, the visitor will immediately leave your website. Such a visit would be counted as a bounce.
So make sure the pages of your website are ranked for keywords that mirror their actual content.
WordPress CMS (nowadays the most popular CMS) has a very popular SEO plugin called Yoast SEO. It allows you to easily review and update the meta tags on your site to make sure that when it shows up in Google search results, the text will correspond to the actual keywords and content on your site.
Occasionally your site may pop up in the results for a totally irrelevant search—and there’s not too much you can do about it. But you can find out which unrelated keywords are driving traffic to your site and investigate why search engines might be attaching those keywords to your page. Google Analytics will help you look for these kinds of issues and fix them.
Paid search engine ads
If you’re actively paying for ads but not seeing much return on your investment, and if your bounce rate is pretty high for visits via those ads, then that’s a pretty good sign you need to review your ad copy and images—maybe even overhaul your whole ad strategy.
First, come up with a few versions of your ad, then test them all. The one with the lowest resulting bounce rate is the one you should stick with—it may just take some experimenting to find the right one.
To avoid a high bounce rate, the ads you create should…
- Provide a clear and simple explanation of what you’re trying to sell
- Be as specific as possible so the clicker knows exactly where they can expect to land
- Have large text that’s easy to read and images that are easy to understand
- Be relevant to the pages that the ads link to
Ads and links on other sites
The other big reason you might attract the wrong kind of traffic (and thus a higher bounce rate) is that you’re placing ads, banners and other links to your website in the wrong places.
Before putting a link to your website on another site (be it through a guest post, paid banner ad or whatever else), make sure the other site is targeting the same audience you are. There’s no reason to waste money and energy putting your brand in front of the wrong people. They won’t buy, even if they do visit your site—but they will increase your bounce rate.
So as a rule of thumb, do not agree to any proposals to put your link on another website until you’ve reviewed the site to make sure it looks good for Google and that the key audience overlaps with yours. Only then should you consider making the deal. It’s better not to be linked at all than to be linked on an irrelevant (or sketchy) website. In addition to increasing your bounce rate, appearing on the wrong kind of site can also damage your SEO efforts and Google rankings.
What you should do now
Now you know the basics of (proper) traffic building, also known as lead generation. It’s better to spend your energy on a few good leads than on tons of visitors who have no use for your product.
So how do you make sure your time and effort are spent attracting the right kind of traffic, not the wrong kind? Here’s a short list of things you can do to analyze and improve your traffic building strategy:
- In Google Analytics, check to see which online traffic source is generating the highest bounce rate; this will signal what you should fix first.
- Investigate why your bounce rate is so high: Do your site’s meta tags not match the content? Paid advertising not doing so hot? Been mentioned on another site that’s not relevant to your niche?
- If you’re using WordPress for your website and you still don’t have Yoast SEO installed, give it a try and review your site’s global keywords.
Once you’ve done these three things, post a comment below and let me know the results! I will try to provide further suggestions and ideas for improving your traffic building strategy.
In the next post I’ll talk about enhancing your web content so that it’s less bounce-worthy and more likely to lead to conversions. Get ready!