Bounce Rate and Average Time on Page are two of the most important SEO metrics to monitor for any ecommerce webmaster. These two metrics are essential for understanding how customers are interacting with your website and just how engaging your content is. Today we’ll look at what these two metrics mean and how you can improve them.
Bounce Rate is the percentage of users who arrive on a page and then leave without going to another page or interacting with the initial page. Most analytics tracking solutions will allow you to track Bounce Rate for overall site traffic, specific pages, device type, and many other traffic segments. Analyzing your Bounce Rate data can give you many insights into how different users are interacting with your ecommerce site. According to a study by ConversionXL ecommerce sites on average have a bounce rate of 45.68%. If your site bounce rate is much higher than average then you will need to take actions to minimize the amount of bounces on your site.
Average Time on Page
Average Time on Page is a straight forward metric—it measures the average amount of time that users spend on a specific page. This metric is a great way to identify problem pages. While average time on page will vary by the type of page, identifying very low times can lead you to discover problems with a page. For example, if you write an in-depth blog article but the average time on page is only 5 seconds then there may be an underlying issue with the page or content.
Improving Site Retention Metrics
Once you have reviewed your Average Time on Page and Bounce rate metrics you should have an idea of a few pages or audiences that you would like to see improved site retention metrics. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to improving these metrics, the following actions are a great place to start:
- Write Good Content – If you stuff keywords, use sloppy writing, or use little to no content on a page then users will notice and potentially leave to find something better. Ensure that you’re putting out quality content and not just phoning it in. Keeping the user engaged is one key to improving site retention metrics.
- Set and Meet User Expectations – If the title of your page is “Winter Deals” and all of your link text for the page says “Winter Deals” but the page contains nothing but summer products then customers will most likely bounce or spend minimal time on the page. It’s important that you meet the customers’ expectations for your page. Market the page appropriately and make sure that the on-page content matches how you market the page.
- Consider All Devices – Mobile device traffic share has increased exponentially over the past ten years, but many sites are still primarily focused on the desktop experience. Be sure to pay close attention to the mobile experience for your ecommerce store—if your mobile site is hard to use or slow, visitors will not want to use it.
- Avoid Large Bodies of Text – Large walls of text can be intimidating, hard to read, and ultimately unengaging. Be sure to break up your text into clearly formatted, easy-to-follow sections to encourage readers to stay on page.
- Direct Users to Another Action – Whether you want users to purchase an item, refine a search, or read another blog article, it is of the utmost importance that you guide the user to the next action. For an ecommerce site, this action will most likely be adding a product to cart or checking out. Be sure to use clear, eye-catching call-to-actions—otherwise, your users may end up stranded on a page with no indication of what to do next.
- Test Your Site – If your site or products change frequently you’ll want to make sure that you test every change before it goes live. If your site isn’t functioning properly, or your products have incorrect information, it’s likely that customers will not view your site as a safe place to checkout and may leave quickly. Even if you don’t change your site frequently it is always good to test periodically to ensure customers have a good experience.