Take a little Bounce out of your Bounce Rate

slowing bounce rateWe all have high bounce rates. Even the people that say they don’t do. It is inevitable. We can’t control how or when the search engines will place us high on a page for a search. It might not be relevant to the search at all.

Write Relevant Posts

I once write about the start of the Oro Valley Real Estate site explaining how it was a blog with posts rather than a typical website with pages. I provided information on the location of our office in the sidebar. In less than a week my Hittail results were showing I was getting a lot of clicks for the search phrase “Oro Valley Post Office” There are a lot of people moving to Oro Valley some as winter visitors for part of the year and some as permanent residents.

Well you can imagine the bounce rate was really high, because I got the traffic but the content they were looking for wasn’t there. Until the next day when I wrote the post on “The Oro Valley Post Office” and put up a map, marking the location.

These are the ones you can track and realize “Hey, I should write a post about that”

How do you slow down the bounce rate when it isn’t that obvious.

Where is your Site Search

High placement on your blog of a search box saying, “DIDN’T FIND WHAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR” Search the site, it is probably here.

This grabs their attention and some will quickly enter their search and find what they are looking for “ON YOUR SITE”

Finally, Grab them with something they aren’t looking for. Huh?

This is the best reason for putting pictures on your blog post and doing so at the top not down in the context of the post. Why do you think so many sites have pictures in the sidebar, flickr photos flashing, or images in posts etc.

I try to have a photo that will catch the eye of the reader and keep them on the site longer even if this isn’t what they are looking for NOW. I want them to find the site interesting enough to tag it for future reading and investigation.

There you have it. A few simple ways to slow the bounce from your site when someone pops in for some information. After all that is why people search, they want to find information.

Don’t forget this simple equation. Search+Information=Results. Finding Results = Lower Bounce Rates.

Comments

  1. Quote: “We all have high bounce rates. Even the people that say they don’t do.”

    That my friend is the point of the week. Anyone with a site and traffic has this issue to contend with.

    Along those lines, using Google Analytics and some introspection, you can evaluate your site (by page / post and by traffic source) and tweak your bounce rate for the better.

    These seemingly small improvements yield BIG results IMO. You have already paid the price to have someone visit your site, why not make them happy and comfortable?

  2. “Until the next day when I wrote the post on “The Oro Valley Post Office” and put up a map, marking the location.”

    Good thinking Dave! I like that, I’m going to be watching for that opportunity.

  3. Thought it would be fun to publicly admit that my bounce rate is higher than what I would like it to be. I have looked at the searches and every word people are searching for is right there is the blog post but it still isn’t what they were looking for. Often the wrong context. Heck you can’t please everyone now can you?

    Do you only own one red shirt? I see you in it every day. 🙂

  4. I own several red shirts, but only one of them is a dress shirt for a tie. I have a red flannel shirt, two red T shirts one is the incredibles and one is Thing 1. Finally there is the red winter fleece shirt with a zipper at the neck for those cold Arizona days when it gets under 70 degrees.

  5. @Teresa (and the rest)…

    Eric: Hi, I’m Eric. I have a bounce rate problem….

    Everyone: Hi Eric!

    (grin)

  6. JBoyer Convent Station Guy says:

    Great advice, I will have to take that into account as I am fairly new with my new neighborhood blog. I am doing one call ConventNews for the Convent Station neighborhood of Morris Township New Jersey.

    Jim

  7. These are great suggestions. My highest bounced keywords are “Piggly Wiggly” (a grocery chain), the Bluffton Parkway and Lowcountry Architecture. I never really thought of a way to utilize these hits before. Thanks for the tip.

  8. Jim,

    Good luck with the local focus of your blog.

    Stacey,

    If you were selling real estate in Iowa I can think of ways you could use Piggly Wiggly even though I’ve never seen one of the grocery stores there.

    Yes, I used to live in Iowa and there are lots of piggly wiggly’s with curly tails and the smell of money.

  9. I have a few sites. My bounce rates vary from the low 20% range, all the way up to one with mid 70%. Most are probably in the high 30s, low 40s.

    I think the type of site, what market you are catering to, and how much content you have on the landing page can play a large role in how your percentages vary.

    Good suggestions all around. I particularly like the suggestion for making the SEARCH feature a big point on a site to make persons more likely to be able to find that which they are looking for.

  10. “Hi Eric”

    Good for you Eric. The first step is admitting you have a problem. Haaa

  11. I never really put much thought into Bounce Rate. Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t this simply measured by somebody coming to a page on my site, and then going away without visiting any of my other pages?

    This seems like the exact behavior I would expect from a regular reader. Since the latest posts are always on the homepage, a regular reader might not have much of a reason to visit beyond the home page.

  12. Todd,

    I thought bounce rate was based on the amount of time on the page. If it is less than a second or two then it is a bounce.

    I don’t think anyone reads that fast for a post. So coming to the home page reading the post would not be a bounce.

    Anybody know about this. Personally, I don’t even know what the bounce rates are on my sites but I’d say somewhere around 80 to 90%.

  13. Hi Dave,

    First time visitor to your blog here.

    I was wondering if the use of graphs depicting market conditions and/or pricing trends at the bottom of a blog post would have the same effect as a picture?

    Anybody can add their comments or thoughts.

  14. Glenn,

    I think it would have that effect, but I would put it close enough to the top of the post that it is visible above the fold, meaning the visitor doesn’t have to scroll down before they know there is a graph or images. It doesn’t have to be completely visible but at least enough the visitor knows it is there when opening the site or post.

    I’m working on a post now about how to display images and graphs and still keep the page size under control.

  15. Hi Dave,

    Thank you for your response.

    I went back and looked at my posts with graphs and noticed that I am using the tag (WordPress) prior to the graphs, so the graphs really do not show on the blog.

    The reason for the more tag is to prevent scraper sites from taking the content and then having duplicate content issues.

    In your opinion should I just do away with the more tag and then on my feeds use on the summary option?

    I am looking forward to your post on display images and graphs.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question.

  16. Glenn;

    Great question IMO…All I can offer is my own opinion on this…here goes:

    #1–What Dave said about keeping in above the fold is crucial. It gives the reader the impetus to continue scrolling down the page.

    #2–The more tag isn’t bad, but using it too early can (in some cases) stop the readers’ interest too soon

    I’d likely put the “more” below the photos OR not use it…but that’s just me.

    Also another way to prevent dup content issues is simply to make sure that your stuff gets indexed first…updating the sitemap and pinging Google (previous post on the bloglab about it) immediately after each post tends to beat scrapers to the punch and eliminate many of the typical problems. Does not fix it all, but nothing does..

    Best
    Eric

  17. Glenn,

    The best example I can show you is the Tucson AZ Real Estate blog.

    I use the more tag on almost every post unless it is very short. I put the image at the top and place the more tag just below it.

    I keep the image small in file size so it won’t bloat the size and load time of the home page.

    Everything Eric is saying is right on as well. Get indexed first and don’t worry about the scrapers. It won’t create a duplicate content issue for you. The real issue with scrapers are the stealing of your content and then putting google ads on the site to make money off your content.

  18. JBoyer Convent Station Guy says:

    What is this more tag you guys are talking about, how do you use it…

  19. The More Tag splits the post up into two pages. Only what is above the more tag is displayed on the home page. Clicking the post title will take you to the entire post. The more tag indicator is in the visual text editor and the code editor says MORE.

    You put your cursor where you want the tag. More Tag

  20. Eric & Dave – Want to thank you for your input.

    It my understanding that it might not be the first page that gets indexed, but the site that Google feels has the higher authority for the subject matter. Of course, I could be wrong – and it would not be the first time either. LOL

    I just back from the annual swamp buggy parade here and took a ton of pictures – 154 to be exact.

    Anybody have any suggestions regarding how I can get these loaded onto my site, blog or just put them on flickr and then link back to the album (or whatever it is called)?

    Thank you.

  21. Glenn,

    Save yourself the bandwidth and put them on flickr and link back.

    However, I would pick out 15 or 20 of your favorite and best shots and put them on your blog. as a separate page.

    Here is why. You get a link back and index to each of those images in google images.

    I get more than 1/3 of my hits from images.

  22. Dave,

    Do mean a static page when you say separate page? Or just a blog post?

    Thank you and sorry for being so full of questions.

  23. Glenn,

    I would use a static page. Make it like a gallery page. Using small images that are enlarged when you click on them.

    This requires you to save two images, a small and larger version. Small for on page larger for viewing.

  24. Dave – thank you for your time and suggestion. Now I have to review the pictures and make some choices.

    Have a great rest of the weekend.

  25. As far as knowing what your bounce rate is, Google analytics offers stats on your bounce rate(s). The stats are even broken down into keywords. My over-all bounce rate -which changes daily- is 47.39%, not bad, I guess. But my bounce rate for specific keywords can be as high as 100%. As I stated before, my highest bounce rate is for the keywords “Piggly Wiggly”. Other high bounce rates at my site are the keywords “oyster shell tabby” and “Bluffton Parkway”. My bounce rate for keywords “Bluffton, SC”, “Bluffton SC real estate” and “Bluffton, South Carolina real estate” are all less than 30%, with a low of 22%

    I like the suggestion of a static front page. I’ve been contemplating doing that, as well.

  26. Stacy,

    That sounds like a very good bounce rate for the keywords you are targeting. Of course the one we seem to accidentally rank for in the search engines will produce a higher bounce rate which is insignificant for what we are trying to accomplish.

  27. I love the idea of writing posts about things that people are searching for and not finding. What drives me crazy is when I see a phrase like “Search for Austin Homes” and the searcher comes to my site and then dont click on the search in huge letters. I want to reach out through the internet and be like why did you leave before searching.

  28. Late Night,

    Are you sure they didn’t click on the “Search for Austin Homes”?

    From what I can see you are using a frame for the search and no navigation tracking on the search page.

    If they do click on the search button it will look like a bounce without any tracking code.

  29. Thanks for the tip Dave and nice thinking with the next day post. I’m definitely going to use this strategy to help meet the needs of our visitors.

  30. I have a silly question: do bounce rates affect search engine positioning at all?

    I understand the benefit of a deep search on the site – but does this have any affect other than the browser losing interest in the site.

  31. Chantal,

    Some think the bounce rate does effect placement. I do not. There are so many search term that I end up bouncing on as do other sites that have nothing to do with real estate that it would make no sense to penalize a site for the bounce rate. Especially a blog. I get hits all the time for quji board, from a post where I said I wouldn’t trust Zillow for an estimate any more than I would a future decision based on a quji board.

    The benefit is people hitting what they are looking for a searching deeper.

    I don’t pay any attention to bounce rates at all. However, I do track my hittail searches constantly. That to me is a much better indicator of my traffic and where it is coming from.

  32. I am not using any tracking but I can see when they go to the search page because the url of the outside frame gets a hit. But after that I get a bit lost of how long they stay on a page.

    I dont think the bouce rate affects SE. What if you provide information that users can quickly glance at and then leave. For instance tax rates. It might look like a bounce but the user leaves with the information they were interested in. And then might go searching for something else.

  33. David, thank you for your info. That would make sense if it didn’t affect the positioning for the keywords. Though it is something I need to look into….I don’t want the right people bouncing from my website.

    It’s kind of creepy that you are getting people on your site looking for ouiji boards.

  34. Here’s a little something that you all might find interesting. As a test I did two voice recordings on two pages on my website. So when you open the page you will automatically hear my voice. The bounce rates on both of those pages are 40% less than other similar pages on my website. Not only that, the sign ups are a little over 300% compared to other similar pages on my website.

    It actually sounds a little cheezy listening to my voice on there. But if I’m getting more signups and less bounces…I’ll be adding cheezy voice to as many pages on my website as possible.

    Anyone have any similar experience or stats with adding voice wav files on their site?

  35. Chantal,

    Now you have gone and done it! You have amazed me. You must have a great voice : ).

    You ran your own little lab experiment and found out something very useful.

    Cheezy it might be, but not as cheezy as the sites where you walk on the bottom of the browser and start talking to me in person EVERY TIME I VISIT YOUR SITE! Now that’s cheezy and I make it a point never to go back there again.

    Now the $64,000 question, (you probably aren’t old enough to know about that show). What do you say that gets this repsonse of listening and then signing up? Of course I could go there and find it and listen myself. Hey! I might just do that, but then it would skew your bounce rate.

    Oh, well in the interest of science. . .

  36. @Chantal-Very cool! Thanks for sharing! I have debated the concept of does it affect search rankings both ways and (currently) do not think it does either. A good example is Ki Gray’s site (BTW-Hi Ki!)…due to the fact that the IDX is “framed”, the bounce rate is gonna be through the roof. And if you Google Austin Real Estate…well, Ki kinda speaks for himself (grin). Good hanging out with you @ Pubcon, Ki.

    Back to audio…you’ve tempted me beyond the ability to resist…grin…I am off to check out your site! Have a great weekend.

  37. Eric,

    If you find it let me know. I couldn’t find it, but then again, I’m not very tech savvy.

    I’m a better writer than surfer, but that’s not saying much either.

  38. Just about to ask you the same, Dave??? Can you help us Chantal?

    Thanks

    Eric

  39. Sorry, I have it hidden deep within the website. Here is one of the test pages:
    http://www.orlando-real-estate.biz/Distress_Sales/page_1973854.html

    The sign on rates have been incredible.

    It’s a little cheezy…but hey, if it works, it works.

  40. Chantal,

    Never would have found it. I know this much, the sound file doesn’t play in my FF browser on IE.

  41. That makes sense Firefox must be blocking it. I tried to use a Java program to load it with play and pause buttons – but I use P2 agent and they would allow me to load it. So I used an embed code to link it to another website where the wav file is stored. Anyway, not a big deal. I was just fascinated that the bounce rates were reduced and the sign ups increased.

  42. At the risk of bumping and old thread, I did a search in Google for “good bounce rate for real estate” and this post came up.

    I realize the longer a person visits the better, so that should be the goal. However, I’m curious if anyone has a range that is normal or average for a real estate website.

    Colleen ´s last blog post..The Rest Of The Story…

  43. @Colleen – I don’t think there is a normal range or rate. I say this because it depends on what kind of real estate site you have.

    If your site has IDX search which is a subdomain on the IDX search provider you will get a bounce as soon as they go to search for homes.

    If you have a site that provides a lot of local event information you will have a high bounce rate because often it only takes a few seconds to find out what you want (often that is time, date and cost of the event).

    Therefore, there is not general rule. For me, I don’t care about the bounce rate. I do try and provide enough information that someone coming to the site will find what they are after. A bounce rate based on someone coming to your site for information and not finding so they leave is the typical “standard” for even measuring bounce rate.

    So I don’t care how long they are on the site. I do care that they find what they came for. When that happens they are satisfied. The result, they remember your site, they bookmark your site, they link back to your site.

    I have all of the above happen on a regular basis.

  44. Thanks Dave,

    Your answer provides some peace of mind! 🙂

    We too have several hundred pages of content, so we are getting our fair share of local non real estate related traffic.

    We generally rank well for the type terms, but per Hittails we get 94.6% of our traffic from longtail searches.

    Colleen ´s last blog post..The Rest Of The Story…

  45. Colleen,

    If you haven’t read the post on the plugin “Search engine query for WordPress” you should. I love this plugin and it has really helped our readers find what they are looking for while helping the bounce rate. If the results they get aren’t what they were looking for this little plugin shows other results for their search that might be exactly what they were looking for. Even if they did find what they were looking for it will provide additional information to them which could supplement the results.

  46. I’ll will take another look at it Dave. I did a cursory read of the plugin post when you first posted, but I need to revisit it again. Most of my content is not is a blog, however.

    Colleen ´s last blog post..The Rest Of The Story…

  47. My own hypothesis has been / is much like Dave’s. It is kind of like the saying you hear at church…if you find yourself further away from God, who moved?
    It really doesn’t matter where you are at, which direction you are going matters.
    Because of some of the very factors you guys are mentioning, I don’t think bounce rate is much (if any) of a factor in search results..I do think it is hugely important in the overall user experience.and FWIW, I really like the plug in you mentioned, Dave. Works well…thx

    Eric Blackwell ´s last blog post..WordPress launches WordPress.tv

  48. @Eric Blackwell – Ditto on all points.