Tackling a High Bounce Rate- Part One

Tackling a High Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is determined to be high if it is over 75%, however there can be acceptable reasons for a high bounce rate, but a high bounce rate does  require careful review.

What is the Bounce Rate?

The bounce rate is recorded for you in Google Analytics by page in the Behavior section > Site Content section, and as a site average on the overview page.


Several years ago the average and target bounce rate for a good website was 46.9%. Now with more users on mobile devices, the bounce rate has skyrocketed.

Google states that this drastic change to bounce rate is due in part to the fact that mobile users may start a search on your site and move to a desktop to finish up a review or purchase. Page views have also decreased in this same time period from over 3 or so pages viewed per session to now about 1.5 pages per session – all driven by mobile activity.

Identifying a High Bounce Rate

To address a website’s high bounce rate, knowledge is power.  First, it is important to understand what causes a high bounce rate.

  1. You’ll get a high bounce rate if the page content does not engage the reader. This is a good flag to review your page and consider additions, video, additional links to other information.
  2. You’ll get a high bounce rate if the content is not what the reader was looking for. This is a good flag to review your content, your meta tags, and your paid advertising.
  3. You’ll get a high bounce rate if you supplied the content the reader wanted and they had no need to go further. It is not uncommon to see how bounce rates on articles and blog posts.

What Should You Do Next?

You’ll want to look at the pages that have a high bounce rate score and identify if changes should be done to the content. Check out my Wednesday post this week for the continuation of this art


Insights on Why Your Website Has Dropped Organic Placement

I found this terrific article and wanted to share it with you. It is “10 Reasons Your Site’s Search Engine Ranking Dropped
by Paul M Ventura on SitePro News. You can read the full article by clicking the  article title above. Paul shows some terrific insight into why your site may  have dropped organic placement on Google in light of some of Google’s recent  algorithm changes.

In a nutshell here are his reasons interspersed with some of my own  comments:

  • The Google Honeymoon Ended
    I’ve seen this before, new  sites start out strong and then after about four weeks fall to their more  realistic organic placement on Google. If you evaluate the site in the first  several weeks that the site has been added to the index you may be placed well,  but check again in about 8 to 10 weeks for more realistic expectations on where  your site will normally reside so you can start improvements.

  • Google Sandbox Effect Started
    This isn’t talked about  much, but I have seen in highly competitive industries such as real estate  site’s not even get listed in the Google index until other sites have started to  link to it. They can sit in the sandbox all alone for as long as six months
    while Google evaluates where they belong organically. A good plan is to do  article writing for links during this period to start building links. Another  recommendation is to do press releases during this period to start building  legitimate links as well.

  • Algorithm Updates/Link Juice Lost
    With the Panda/Farmer  update having penalized many article syndication sites, I feel that Paul has  some good insight here in that your site may have had links from these sites  that were penalized and so your site dropped in placement as well.

  • Malware
    Don’t think you have it? Well if you have a  WordPress blog on-domain, you’d better be monitoring. Why wait until Google has  you banned or blocked in the organic results. It is better to proactively scan  your site and WordPress files on a regular basis. I was even hacked and never  had been before. It can happen to the best of us with serious consequences.

  • Server Issues
    Has your site been down? We have several  clients where they are hosted on small no name companies and on their Google
    Webmaster Control Panel the robot is constantly reporting it cannot find or  access files. Move to a new host when possible if you are seeing this problem.

  • Robot.txt File Problems
    Webmasters can get carried away  with permissions to the Google spider. I’ve seen two situations where the  webmaster inadvertently disallowed access in this important file that all search  engine indexing spiders access before they spider your website. Make sure you  have the correct permissions and block only the files you need to block.

  • Penalization
    Did your last SEO firm or webmaster use  “black hat” techniques, hidden links, and keyword stuffing to get you organic
    placement before? How about keyword dense text the same color as your page  background? Think you are clean? Think again. I saw hidden text on a large  attorney website that had been installed by their website designer to scam the
    system. Don’t get your website penalized by these tactics. Google will not be  mocked.

  • Broken Links
    Check and check again. For blogs you can  use a plugin. For other sites use Dreamweaver to scan for broken links.

  • Duplicate Content
    I install on my site meta tags that  show me to be the content owner. Make sure when you add new content pages that
    you tag yourself in the code as the owner. Google is getting pretty smart on  this one, but there are still scrapper sites that may grab your content. When I  find them I send a cease and desist notice to the webmaster and if they don’t  remove my content I report them and the page to Google’s spam department and if  I get really made to their web host with a take down notice. Don’t make yourself  crazy over this, but it is a good idea to check your top trafficked pages with  online scanning tools. I use Copyscape and Dustball for this.

  • The Google Dance
    Grab your partner right? No, the  Google Dance is a phenomena where your search results will fluctuate wildly the  first week and sometime two weeks after Google does a big algorithm update. Hang  on and don’t freak out the first time you check your placement. Check again in  one week and then in a second before you start remediation just to make sure you
    aren’t dancing with Google. If you are your site will pop back up at the end of  the dance. Maybe not in the exact position, but nearly where you were before.

I think Paul nailed the ten topics in the article, the comments on each topic  are mine garnered from years of experience.


Blogging Off-Domain Does It Work for SEO?

I used to feel that blogging anywhere was great, just get blogging. Now I have to say I really feel that blogging under your own domain name is the only workable SEO strategy.

First, let me explain a few things. When I say blogging off-domain I mean that your blog posts reside at Blogspot.com, WordPress.com or at a domain name you have set up separate from your website parent domain. The key is that the actual files that are your blog posts reside some where other than your real website.

Second, blogging on-domain means that you have WordPress installed in a directory that is part of your own website. The URL for your blog would be something like www.mydomain.com/blog. Here the actual files that are your blog posts are spiderable by search engine robots under your parent domain.

It is important to understand that subdirectory blog sites typically are not hosted at the parent domain, but are set up to look like they are, but the files do not typically reside at the parent domain. Blogspot allows you to do this with a bit of massaging of your domain name records. If your blog URL looks like this: blog.yourdomain.com most likely your website files do not reside at your parent location.

So, why is on-site domain blogging so important? There are a few reasons why you should only consider blogging on-domain.

  • You get search engine capital for blogging on-domain. That means each blog post is considered by search engines as if they were new pages in your parent domain.
  • Search engine spiders will index the blog posts that are created in on-domain blogging.
  • You will build “web authority” and create keyword density on your topic for your parent domain when you blog on-domain for your parent domain.
  • Links to your on-domain blog will help your parent domain place better on search engines and therefore help you place organically.

Don’t be confused if you have an off-domain blog and programmatically send the content in an iframe or with JavaScript to your parent domain pages, you do not get the search engine capital for your parent domain that you do with on-domain blogging.

Equally, if you have an off-domain blog and point to it in the navigation in your parent website, you get no search engine capital from it for your parent domain. You may get traffic, but not SEO juice.

Make sure to read Wednesday’s and Friday’s posts this week as I discuss more about on- and off-domain blogging and share with you a case study I have done for a company recently that illustrates these issues.