If I ask what’s the common metrics that the organic search experts (SEO) and the paid search marketers (SEM) have common as a goal? Well, the answers are varied starting from ROI, revenue, leads etc. However, it all starts with the fact that, getting traffic to a page or a website is one goal for sure, while the other and most important task to achieve is making the visitor do what you except. Let me be clear, if you don’t have a good product and /or force the user, bounce rates won’t come down!
All said, first up, let me explain what a bounce rate is. It is defined as a percentage ratio of people coming to a particular page and leaving the ‘website’ without navigating any other page on the domain.Bounce rate is slightly different from Exit rate as the later means a visitor coming from any page leaves the website after navigation (atleast one click involved in between). Both the phrases spell bad, while Bounce rate in particular is a big concern as it shows the ‘expectation mismatch’.
This means if many people whom you brought through optimization efforts go to some other site by simply clicking the x button on the top right, it adds to the cost and frustration.
The ways to reduce bounce rate are many. In this case the problem itself has an answer. Don’t believe? Check your analytics data, see the last visited page before getting off. You can easily analyze and identify bottlenecks in navigation for sure.
Adding a Searchbox or search functionality:
There are different views on adding searchbox, my observation and experience says: Adding a search functionality increases the on-page visit time and reduces bounce rate. However saying that, there might be a chance that user may want to know more about your product or service and navigate further enlarging the ‘sales cycle’.
To use a company video, something interesting has to be shown. The aim should be to showcase the innovations, USP, whats so special about you or your company and so on. Product demonstrations, company offsite, media coverage can be a few ideas to choose from. At times videos which start on load can be too irritating and the user’s interest has to be taken care with common sense here.
Chat on demand or auto-invite
Helping conversions and directing people who are not getting any ‘decisive’ directions on the website or page can be achieved by intelligent use of chat tool. Many experiments and reports claim that using Chat the sales have improved multifold. Please take these report with a pinch of salt, however is an option to test and confirm yourself.
Polls and knowledge tickers
Polls are an easy to start engagement and interaction medium. Can help in getting more ‘interest’ level data if effectively used. Polls and knowledge bits ads freshness, increases engagement and adds more ‘spice’ to the communication. Point to be noted here is Google loves ‘Freshness’ if you believe the updates (first noticed in Nov’11 and 3 more bundled under Google Panda in 2012).
Text experimentation and Clarity in Message
Do you have a Header saying what the page is all about? If the answer is No, you know you have got the priority task!
I would recommend you to have clarity in the message. You can add contrasting colours, bullets, font styles, smaller paragraphs, highlights, call to action whichever suits the usability for making better decisions after doing a trial and error.
For SEO, themed page around a topic or group of keywords is recommended. IF you have unique and relevant content – Excellent. For Pay Per Click (PPC) or paid search marketing pages, less Gyan (too much content) is not recommended as it affects the decision adversely and if you are aiming at lead generation, too much information might work negatively.
Does a visitor know how he can search for more information, buy or subscribe or contact you from the page he has landed upon? Don’t make it complex move and keeping the navigational structure simple will work for you in the long run. Prominently placed (in the first fold and with every message block) call to action button or links can encourage the visitor to make the decision. Responsive design approach for display issues on PC, Tablets and phones can be an important criteria as well.
Google suggests that each landing page should help the user understand what will happen on his next click.
To add more, channel-wise segmentation will tell you what is working and what is giving you more bounce rates. Unique URLs is the key to identify and optimize pages for better conversions.