In our last segment: About Search Engine Optimization III, we left off with a discussion about analytics and promised to help you understand what you can do with all this SEO information.
Traffic is what we are looking for when we talk about search engine optimization. But it’s more than just traffic to your website that we need to concern ourselves with; we want our internet marketing campaign to drive QUALIFIED traffic.
If you activated Google analytics, you will see a nifty little statistic called “bounce rate.” Basically, a bounce occurs when a visitor to your website lands on a page and then immediately leaves, without viewing anymore content on your site. Obviously, the lower this number is, the better. If 80% of visitors are leaving your site immediately then that means only 20% are sticking around to read/view what you have to offer.
If we are going to be doing all of this tedious, search engine optimization stuff, then we want our visitors to stick around for a bit. If our bounces are high (over 50%), then we need to take a look at a few things:
• What traffic is bouncing the most, what source?
• Which pages have the highest bounce rate?
• What keywords are visitors who bounce using the most?
There are probably other things we can look at as well, but this should give us a pretty good idea where to start.
In Google analytics, the first page you see is usually an overview of your website traffic. The default time period is for one month, i.e.: number of visitors, etc. for the most current 30 days. In the middle of the page you will see: Visits, Unique Visitors, Pageviews, Pages/Visit, Avg. Time on Site, Bounce Rate, and % New Visits.
These stats are a high level view of how the site is performing. For our purposes, we want to drill down a little deeper.
Click on Demographics and then on location (top left sidebar).
When you scroll down the page, you can see the country/territory that people are visiting from. Google also gives us number of visits etc., at this level. Don’t concern yourself too much with the foreign bounces, unless you are selling a product or service internationally.
Take a look at the summary bounces for the country in which your site is located. If the bounce rate is less than 40%, you might want to pat yourself on the back and resume the series with our next article: About Search Engine Optimization V.
Ok, so I guess your site is kinda bouncy and you want some answers.
Click on the Country that your site resides in.
Now you see the states, or regions and their specific traffic information. Pay attention here; if your site is optimized for local search, i.e.: ‘Orlando Internet Marketing,’ it might have higher bounce rates in states that aren’t local to that area.
Connecticut, New York, and California will likely have a much higher incidence of bouncing than Florida, if the site keywords and related internet marketing are optimized as above for ‘Orlando Internet Marketing.’
If we use the example above and we have a lot of bounces in Florida, then we have some work to do, since that is obviously the market that we are targeting, and somehow visitors aren’t finding what they are looking for.
We got more clicking to do:
Click on the state or region.
Now let’s take a look at a ‘Secondary Dimension,’ sounds scary right?
It’s not so bad,
Click on the secondary dimension button just above City.
Click Traffic Sources.
We’ve drilled down even deeper and now we can see bounce statistics, etc. for each source:
• Direct – visitor came to your site via bookmark or typing in your URL in a browser window.
• Google or Google.com – Visitor is either from a search result or paid advertisement with Adwords.
• Website name – This is a direct referral from another website. Note: if you have a high bounce rate for a particular source like this, it might be that the referring site isn’t using good anchor text on the link.
Again, we need to take a look at the bounce rates. Looking at the sources we might begin to see a pattern. If we are getting high bounces on any source other than ‘Direct visitors’ (People who have visited the site before), then we need to find out what they were looking for and why they didn’t find it.
Since we are already here, go back to the secondary dimension button, this time Click ‘Keyword’ under ‘Traffic Sources.’
Amazing isn’t it? We can see exactly how people found us. If the keyword indicated is “(not set),” this just means that it was from either a direct visit or a referral from another website with no keyword used.
So, now what? Well, if you see keywords that don’t make sense for your website, it is likely the cause of bounces.
Waterfordmedia.com does a lot of search engine optimization for the terms ‘Orlando Internet Marketing’ and ‘Florida SEO Service’; as a result we also rank for other terms like ‘SEO service’. And we will get visitors that bounce using search terms like:
‘SEO Services Portland Oregon’.
Obviously, some of this can’t be helped, and we will just have to live with the bounce, but someone searching for SEO services in a different state probably wants someone local to do their SEO.
There’s more to cover on this topic, but it will need to wait for the next article:
About Search Engine Optimization V – Optimizing Pages and Working with Keywords
Thanks for reading