By Rick Kranz
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An optimized website requires constant supervision. Tracking metrics that let you know what’s going and what needs to be tweaked. But are you interpreting the metrics accurately? Surface numbers can be misleading.
If you’re keeping an eye on your homepage – and you should be – you may see metrics like a high bounce rate or low time on page and start to worry. Don’t. There may reasons why those are actually signs that your homepage is working.
Why a High Homepage Bounce Rate May Be Good News
First, let’s clarify what a bounce rate is. The bounce rate is the percentage of viewers who never navigate off the first page they arrived at. Often, this will be your homepage. The common wisdom is that a high bounce rate off your homepage means your homepage isn’t doing its job. But it could be just the opposite.
Start with your headline. A quality homepage headline needs to achieve to three things: it must immediately get a visitor’s attention. Then, the copy must clearly and concisely tell people who the site is for and what it offers. You already know that what you’re selling isn’t for everyone, and you don’t want to waste resources cultivating prospects that aren’t leads.
An effective headline lets people who arrive on your site answer their most pressing question quickly: “Am I on a site that’s useful to me”? If the answer is “no,” you want them to bounce as quickly as possible. If bad matches have to rummage through your site to figure that out, their activity pollutes the rest of your site metrics.
To help figure out what’s going on here, look at your bounce rate by traffic sources. If high value traffic sources have a low bounce rate, while more generic or bad traffic sources are pushing the numbers up – you’re good.
There’s a sneakier reason a high homepage bounce rate could be okay. First, we need to dig into how Google measures a couple metrics for this one.
As mentioned, a bounce occurs when the visitor never leaves the homepage. Google measures time on the page by counting the interval between arriving on the first page and then the second page. If there is no second page (and it wouldn’t be a bounce if there were), the time on page registers as zero, nothing. No time. Fortunately, the opposite may be true.
Your homepage may be so rich in valuable content, some visitors are getting all the information they need in that visit right from your homepage. A high-value homepage has:
- Informative, compelling descriptions of features and benefits, especially when they’re framed in the language of the needs and concerns of your target market.
- Engaging visuals and images that attract and hold people’s attention.
- Multiple examples of social proof that validate your claims. Your homepage can show social proof by publishing testimonials (bonus points if you include photos of the people giving the testimonials), reviews, and social media content streams. You can also show social proof through images from awards you’ve Go to the full article.
Source:: Business 2 Community