Thursday, October 4, 2012

How to Use Bounce Rate as a Quality Guide

What Is a Bounce Rate?
A bounce occurs when a user visits a website and exits the page from which they came without having moved to another page on the same website.
A higher bounce rate means users leave your website without viewing any additional pages. A lower bounce rate means users stay on your website and have moved to a different page within your website.
Keeping track of your bounce rate is a fantastic quality indicator to determine which pages are working for you. Before you become alarmed, know this: a high bounce rate does not indicate failure! A high bounce rate might be the nature of your website.
Referential vs. Content-Driven Websites
A referential-driven page or website presents information solely for the purpose of providing an authoritative and unbiased resource. Online referential resources may include dictionaries, glossaries, timelines, encyclopedias, etc., and these pages are often static (i.e., they do not require new material to stay fresh). Referential-driven websites typically have higher bounce rates because that's the nature of the website - readers search for the reference material, find the website, and leave.
Content-driven websites must stay fresh and constantly provide relevant material. Examples of content-driven websites include article directories, blogs, and news pages. A higher bounce rate on this type of site may be an indicator of poor quality, irrelevant content, poor navigation, and more.
Expert Authors Should Aim for a Low Bounce Rate
As content providers, Expert Authors who provide high quality content should aim for a low bounce rate (50% or less) and focus on increasing the average time the visitor spends on the site. Unlike referential-driven website providers, content-driven websites want visitors to stay on the website and continue clicking through to different articles or areas of informative content on the website.
Using tools like Google Analytics, gather your pageviews, visitors, visitor duration, and bounce rate. Compare pages and determine why one page may be performing poorly and why one page may be performing well. How was the quality of writing? Navigation issues? Keyword selection? Ads on the page? Length of the article?
To reduce your website's bounce rate and increase the time on the page/site, use the pages that performed well as a template or theme to emulate on other pages while still providing original content. Additionally, try the following strategies:
  • Update your website with quality content frequently
  • Try out features important to your audience
  • Create interactivity (i.e., two-way flow of information between you and your audience)
  • Give your audience a reason to stick around (e.g., resources, quizzes, games, etc.)
  • Routinely check your links to ensure they are working properly
  • Continue driving traffic to your website via quality articles, social media, etc.
Please note: Don't be discouraged by a high bounce rate if visitors stay on the page longer than average (approximately 2 minutes). It could indicate the reader found their information, read the article, and left. However, if a content-driven page is clocking under a minute with a high-bounce rate - let these be key indicators that improvement is needed.
Understanding the dynamics and performance of your website is the key to success. Not only will you be able to target your audience by providing the content they want both in your articles and on your website, you will save yourself from the agony of wondering what is wrong with your website and your articles.
A National Repository on  Maternal Child Health developed my me has a very good average Bounce Rate of 16%.
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