by, Jon Burgess, M.B.A.
Are you puzzled by what the word “Bounce” in your Analytics report actually means? Think of “bounces” as driving down a road in Boston, and being very late for a meeting, when you suddenly find the bridge you need to cross is on the map. However, when you arrive to your anticipated crossing, you learn that construction isn’t slated until next year. What do you do? You make a wild u-turn, slam you foot on the gas and make a quick dash towards an alternate route. You don’t have time to waste.
Similarly, bounces indicate that someone was seeking info they needed and, with a quick glance, realized they weren’t going to get the information they were seeking on your website. If your website is getting too many “bounces” then there is a strong likelihood that you are NOT communicating well to your potential customers.
It is that simple. When a web-surfer shows up to your site believing it contains the Mother Lode on the topic he is researching, you have only a few seconds to show them your stuff before they immediately turn around and leave.
This can mean your site does not have what the customer was looking for, or it could indicate that people were looking for something totally different. Worst-case scenario is that you are actually not a very great communicator. No one likes to feel like they were lured somewhere on a false pretense. “Just Kidding!” is very irritating to anyone who is looking to locate something they need.
Internet surfers are usually able to drive search engines towards the information they are seeking. During the dark ages of dial-up, there was a general rule-of-thumb that viewers would not wait more than eight seconds for a page to load. Page loading wait time has very little to do with communicating your product, it is simply a measure of efficiently. With the availability of high-speed Internet, impatience has mounted, and people want a confirmation of what they are looking for in under eight seconds. If they searched a keyword, they want confirmation NOW!
Common sense regarding online buyers
When was the last time someone walked up to Wal-Mart’s front door, walked in, looked around for 8 seconds and walked out? It doesn’t happen. People wanted “Wal-Mart”, they drove to Wal-Mart, and they shopped at Wal-Mart. Buyers generally know exactly what they are looking for online, they don’t window shop like they do when at their local mall.
Common sense about online Surfers
Surfers are like your mother-in-law who goes shopping with your wife on a Sunday, while you watch a football game. They drive to the mall and walk all around. They may walk into some shops (or all of the shops); and they may buy one or two things. Shopping is more about social interaction than buying.
Generally, online surfers will find your website, but they are not really your target buyer, so if your website does not show strong sales to visitors, then maybe you are inviting in the wrong buyers. Sometimes, visitors and views are a waste of your time.
For example, we have a great page on a local site about parks. We wrote the page’s content to include every single park in the Inland Empire of Southern California. The problem is that on the average, the is the 4th highest ranked page on this particular website, and it has about a 75% bounce rate. In simple terms, we too highly crafted the keywords on the site,using the word “park” for our market place. this resulting in getting a many views, with no return visits, since surfers for “parks” are not in Southern California.
If you say what you mean you may or may not get what you are looking for. The key to understanding is in routinely analyzing your web traffic’s bounces. If you observe a definite negative pattern, switch it around and see if anything changes. When true communication clicks, your sales will soar!