In our latest email newsletter I covered three important Internet marketing metrics doctors ignore. one of the metrics discussed was “bounce rate,” so today I thought I would dive into bounce rates a little bit more. Google defines bounce rate as the percentage of bounced visits to your site. “A bounce is calculated as a single-page view or single-event trigger in a session or visit.” in essence a bounce is when someone visits a single page on your site and then leaves.
There are a number of elements that can impact bounce rate, but two of the biggest are probably relevance and usability.
To assess relevance you have to look at how visitors are getting to your site from the search engines. Oftentimes high bounces come from queries that are related to a page on your website, but they may not always be that relevant to the page on your website. a common occurrence we see in the plastic surgery SEO realm is butt augmentation pages showing up for breast augmentation queries or vice versa. Obviously if I am looking for information on breast augmentation, and the page is all about butt augmentation, I am very likely going to leave because the page delivered was not relevant to my query.
Cleaning up messes like this are often as simple as assessing page titles and identifying the overuse of keywords in a title that may not be relevant to a page. in other instances it may simply be a problematic backlink anchor text or other site authority elements that may make the search engines believe the page is more relevant for the query than it is.
When it comes to usability there are a number of factors that come into play. Oftentimes page speed alone is enough to create a high bounce rate. If the page people are landing on takes too long to load, or elements cause lag time when viewing the page many users may leave. Ensuring your site loads quickly is an important facet of usability and can oftentimes cut down on bounce rate if this is the element that is, in fact, holding you back.
Another facet of usability is the actual navigation and call to action on the page. do users know what to do once they land on the page, or are you bombarding them with mixed messages? Navigation should be clear and concise. once on a page a user should know what you want them to do, if this isn’t clear or the site is not easy to navigate this can oftentimes generate high bounce rates.
When High Bounce Rates Make Sense
Not all instances of a high bounce rate mean there is something wrong with your website. when looking at bounce rate it’s also important to consider searcher intent. What was the searcher’s mindset when they visited your website? More generalized queries such as a procedure or symptom may deliver a high bounce rate simply because a person is researching a topic and not specifically looking for a doctor just yet. Searchers in this mindset are prone to visit multiple sites within a query to gather as much data as possible before they actually act.
Oftentimes procedure pages will suffer from this sort of behavior because of the type of content being delivered. that being said, this can oftentimes be remedied by bringing to light before and after photos or related content inside the page. by drawing attention to these elements you can often drive visitors deeper into your website before they leave. This can help reduce bounce rate and in many instances help to make your website more memorable to a searcher who may plan to act on their research in the future.
Bounce rates can sound like something scary or over your head, but at the end of the day they are pretty straightforward. in many cases a high bounce rate can be addressed, or at least better understood, with a little bit of research and testing.