Visitor Value and Bounce Rates for Local SEO.
When it’s all said and done, the ultimate score card in a SEO program (or web visibility program) is quality visits on your site. Those being visits that result in some predetermined action on the visitors part.
Actions might include a request for an appointment, request for more information, to be added to your newsletter, downloading a free piece in exchange for their email address, and many other possible desired results from the visitor to your site.
This is where bounce rate can be a very interesting factor.
It’s clear that the higher the bounce rate on a site, the less valuable the overall visitor traffic is (with some exceptions). But you need to know how valuable your quality visitors are to understand how your site is performing.
That’s why we use a visitor value formula to determine the quality of traffic to a website, as well as the standard formula which is just actions as a percentage of total visitors.
The reason we look at it this way, is your site may be attracting a large number of visitors from searches or referral sites that are unintended traffic. You can’t control what odd terms Google may rank your site for if you didn’t pay very close attention from day one of the loading of your site online. So after a few years, you may be seeing a group of traffic that has low value, and is very difficult to manage.
An example of this is we have a client that ranked on the first page of Google for the term glass bar, and a third of the sites traffic came from searches for, you guessed it, “glass bar”. They don’t sell glass bars. They just happen to have a picture of one on the site that had that term in the alt. tag. So it’s not really fair to calculate those visits into a value visit. And because the vast majority of those visits end up as bounces, you will get a better picture of how a site is converting visitors (who find the site through the intended search terms or categories) by weeding the visitors who bounce out.
It’s pretty simple, and can change your perception of how your site is performing.
Calculate Value Visitors
Take your gross number of visitors in a given period (week, month, year). Reduce it by your bounce rate percentage, then use that number to calculate the conversion percentage for your site. That being the number of value visits that end up taking an action. This is the number that you want to see as high as possible, and will vary depending on the action you are calculating, and the industry you are in. For many of our clients we would like to see a 7% to 10% value conversion of the “value visitors” and for this purpose won’t pay much attention to the gross number of visitors or the conversion percentage associated with that group.
Lets use a simple and real example of two sites looking for the same result (A request for information) with the numbers adjusted to make the math easier but still reflective of the real numbers.
Visitors per month. 300
Bounce rate is 15%. Value visits = 255
Requests for Info is 20 which is 8% of value visits.
This site is hitting it’s goal of converting value visits into actions. And also has a very good over all bounce rate, indication that the content and web visibility program is doing it’s job. To be honest, we’d like to see a higher bounce rate with more traffic. Maybe the SEO is to focused and not casting a wide enough net.
Visitors per month 1000
Bounce rate is 60%. Value Visits = 400 or 40%
Requests for information is 16 which is 4% of value visits.
This site has good traffic numbers, but isn’t converting as well even for the “value visitors”. In this case you need to ask: why aren’t we getting visitors who stay on the site and view several pages, to take an action? There can be many causes, page design, no call to actions, content geared towards education and not conversions and many more.
With site number 2, the cause is actually pretty interesting. This site’s center piece is a fairly advanced cost calculator, that is intended to “weed out” prospects who don’t have the budget, or are looking for a low cost company. So in this case, even some of those “value visitors” are not the ones we want to take an action, and therefore a 4% conversion is doing it’s job.
Okay… I m started to feel like Vizzini in the Princess bride, so I will end this for the moment.
If you would like more information on how to determine how your website is performing give us a call, or feel out the contact form below. We offer free 30 minute consultations.