If you are doing business in this day and age, you must have a website – isn’t that why you are here after all? Well, the performance of your website has a direct impact on your revenue and ROI, didn’t you know that? That’s right, it’s not there just for show, it actually benefits or damages your business – the way your website visitors act while on your website. Here is how.
1) Bounces back to Google
If a website visitor comes to your website from a search engine – for example, Google – and then immediately returns to the SERP (search engine results page) and navigates to another result, this is considered a negative signal.
However, as much as 20% of all visits of this kind is just too quick for the Google Analytics script on their site even records the visit. Since this is clearly a negative signal for/from Google, it’s also part of the motivation for them adding a speed signal to their ranking algorithm.
The content publishers themselves have 2 ways of safeguarding against this:
– Leverage additional analytics that record visits at the CDN-level (allowing them to see all visits, bounces and load times)
– Improve time to interactive load times.
Collecting CDN-level analytics is a way of recording visitor information in the same way that someone like Google does – beyond the page-level, while, time to interactive is how quickly the content loads for the visitors. At the end of the day, it’s what visitors actually care about – how quickly they can see and interact with your page. All the other stuff can lazy-load or load as they browse.
One easy way this can be done quickly is by simply optimizing images. Publishers often rely on WordPress plugins for this and that will not work.
Why? Because WordPress plugins are not compressing your images enough.
2) Internal bounces
Navigation bounces are similar to a regular bounce where it tracks a user exiting quickly, but takes a more internally targeted approach. A navigation bounce tracks internal bounces over different pageviews. It looks at pageviews during a user session in which a user may go to the next page, only to quickly exit the website or navigate quickly to another page.
Navigation bounces are essentially internal bounces. It means website visitors are clicking, swiping or scrolling to pages they didn’t mean to visit. This loads pages – and ads – with very low time on page. This means that page engagement is very low for these pageviews. These low-quality pageviews result in lowered ad rates over time on these pages.
Think about it, as an advertiser bidding on inventory, do you want to bid more or less for ads with low viewability, low CTR and low engagement? The answer is less. In fact, if these metrics are bad enough, advertisers will blacklist publishers that produce a lot of these types of pageviews.
What’s more, Google is measuring the site visitor’s experience when they visit a publisher’s website. This is what the Google core algorithm about relevance was largely directed at. If your site is filled with pageviews with low engagement and low time on page, it is likely Google is seeing this as an unsatisfactory experience – because it is.
3) Engagement times
What is engagement time in a nutshell?
Engagement time is the time recorded when website visitors are actively looking at a web page and interacting with it, but it excludes when users are quickly scrolling, waiting for a page to load, searching through navigation or in other windows or tabs. It’s the time spent reading, watching video, filling out a form or actively consuming content during a user session.
This is what advertisers want to bid on. They want to buy inventory on pages where site visitors are actively engaged in the content. That’s why we commonly see ad rates connected to engagement time. As sites improve page engagement rates and total engagement time, they typically increase page RPMs and total session earnings.
Additionally, we have seen in multiple case studies that engagement time has a strong correlation to SEO as well, and we know Google is actively measuring things like dwell time to better assess the satisfaction of the visitor.
Therefore, engagement time is one of those metrics publishers should be optimizing around – for both ROI and organic traffic growth.
4) Which pages visitors visit
Understanding how deep your site visitors are going can be really helpful. Do your most engaged visitors visit 2 pages on average or 10? Do the sessions that produce the most ad revenue end after 3 pageviews or 5? How often do visitors reach the optimal depth and what types of visitors are they?
Comprehending these visit depth metrics can give you a lot of valuable information about how website visitors interact with your content. You can see what types of site visitors are generating the most revenue for you. For example, the highest session earnings on the site above came from organic visitors that visited 7 pages. This is information you can use to customize existing content, and future content, to increase total engagement time, ad earnings and more.
Visit depth can be a bit of a secret weapon that publishers can use to better understand their site visitors. See what might be causing this behavior and replicate it in future content. This can help improve search rankings and ad rates.
However, in the end, the most important thing is that publishers that focus on objectively improving visitor experiences are the ones most poised to accelerate the growth of their ROI and traffic. So everything you do must be with the website visitor in mind.