Tracking and reducing bounce rate is a vital part of running a social content strategy for a client and Beacon’s tracking capabilities help make that an easier task.

As those working within digital marketing know, a bounce is a single-page visit on a website. Beacon gives more clarity on this by dividing into Hard Bounces (where the visitor leaves after a single visit) or Soft Bounces (where they may spend time on the page before leaving or where they leave to visit another page within the same website). Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits compared to all sessions on your website.

There has also been lots of debate over whether Bounce Rate is one of the measurements used in Search Engine Optimisation, although back in February 2010 Google webmaster Matt Cutts addressed this in a video and point blank said Google Analytics data was not used for SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings, so don’t lose too much sleep over how Bounce Rate will affect the website’s place in the SERPs ranking.

But what we can say with reasonable certainty, is that lower quality web pages tend to have higher Bounce Rates as Google sees visitor lack of “user engagement” as an indication that the content isn’t relevant for those landing and leaving instantly.

Is a high Bounce Rate bad?

According to Google themselves, it depends. If your client’s site relies on users viewing more than one page, then a high Bounce Rate is bad. If people are not moving on from the home page to other sections like product pages or a checkout, then you need to be taking action on your client’s behalf. However, if the client is running a single-page site or is offering other types of content for where single-page visits are expected (a landing page with an opt-in form for example), a high Bounce Rate would be normal. For great examples of one-page websites, take a look at https://onepagelove.com/

Clearing up some misconceptions

  1. Don’t confuse website bounce rate with that used in email marketing where it denotes a failed delivery.
  2. Bounce rate also has nothing to do with time a visitor may spend on any specific web page. Whether they spend 30 seconds or 30 minutes on a page, if they then fail to visit another one on your website they are considered to have bounced.
  3. It’s also different to exit rate. This is the proportion of visitors who land on a web page as the final destination within a website before leaving. They are not bouncers as they may have visited several other pages before leaving.

So what can you do to differentiate and measure the time visitors spend on a client’s website in a way which is meaningful?

Back in 2011 Bing’s Duane Forrester wrote a post called How to Build Quality Content and in it he referenced something called dwell time:

“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.”

In its simplest terms, dwell time is the actual length of time a visitor spends on a page before returning to SERPs and, therefore, the longer the better as hopefully this indicates the visitor has read the content on a page before either moving elsewhere via a link or closing the browser or tab to go back to their SERPs listing.

How Beacon can help

Beacon has a unique measurement metric – Hard Bounce = visitor landed and exited without taking further action, while a Soft Bounce = visitor landed, scrolled a bit, then left your website. This means you can accurately track your client’s customer journeys through their website and see what landing pages are working and where there are areas for improvement.   Here are four key areas to work on

1 – Produce better content

Whether you’re producing blog posts, infographics or videos, good content should be:

  • Useful (actionable or educational)
  • Entertaining (funny, unusual/offbeat, surprising)
  • Accessible (skimmable, conversational, well-designed)

2 – Have clear internal links

Make sure the customer journeys are easy by having clear signposted links to where they should go next. Provide users with additional actions to take when they’ve finished reading a piece of content.

You’re in effect pre-empting the visitor’s next query or you can create a specific action by asking them to answer a question or direct them to a particular page using a clear link.

Think about other pages that people interested in that piece of content will want to see, and link to them throughout the content and at the end in a “if you liked this, you’ll love this” kind of way.

3 – Have more than just product pages If your client has a product they’re selling, make sure you have associated “how to” landing pages which also give information which lets them learn more about it. Include downloadable manuals in PDF or text form, have a guide on how to use the product for a specific purpose or provide testimonials from other customers who have used the product.

All of these can help keep a customer on the site long enough for them to decide to process through with a sale.

4 – Have a clear Menu or Sidebar which contains useful links

Make sure there is either a static top Menu or a Sidebar which remains visible throughout the website and include links on it which any visitor would find useful.

This helps to get around those visitors who land somewhere on the website, possibly through a “dark social” link, but who may know nothing about the client. One of the easiest things to do here is to have an About Us/About the Company page linked to the Menu or Sidebar.

A guide to your site, where to go next, useful landing pages, links to testimonials or free assets, are also other good links to keep permanently visible.

What to do next

Beacon gives you unparalleled insights into the effectiveness of your social media activity and content; gain valuable insights and knowledge into what really interests your audience and learn exactly which of your posts result in website traffic.

If you are planning on reducing bounce rate on your website, Beacon allows you to set targets against it which will help you achieve this, Our blog on Social Media Campaign Targets – goes into this in more detail.