Bounce Rates Identify Web Site Optimization Problems

Beach-Ball-ShutterstockSloppy paid-search ads, Web site speed load times, and content optimization are several factors leading to higher landing-page bounce rates, according to a white paper that San Diego-based search agency Covario will release this week.

The white paper focuses on the need to reduce bounce rates, and ways to do this -- as companies continue to pay Google, Bing and other search engines for the entire click, but get nothing or little in return on their investments. Many marketers do not rely on this metric when optimizing paid-search ads or a Web site landing page, but Marcos Richardson, EMEA senior SEO strategist and business director at Covario, believes this is a mistake.

Richardson suggests that marketers start by calculating an accurate bounce rate that is partly determined by Web site speed load times. He said that creating a more accurate benchmark from page speed provides a good baseline to work from when preparing to invest in creative designs, marketing targeting, and conver­sion analysis.

The white paper provides a calculation to determine bounce rates -- which Richardson believes are partially influenced by slow page load times. The bounce rate equals the total number of visits viewing one page divided by the total number of Web site visits. Flash, coding, images and tags on a page all contribute to slow load speeds.

Richardson cites the first step as understanding the page load information and configuring the output for an accurate reflection of a real user’s online experience. Once an SEO expert uses the calculation to determine the click-through rate to any other section of the Web site through the landing page, he explains how to create an advanced segment and calculates that a visit should occur in three seconds or less. The third step benchmarks the baseline. The process determines whether bots, suboptimal analyt­ics setup, click fraud, and back-button or short click are responsible for the clicks.

He also suggests implementing the Google Adjusted bounce rate code on pages as a long-term strategy. "The 'set­Timeout' function can be set up to the desired delay in accordance to page load speed," he writes.

Image by Shutterstock

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