I’m sure there’s a number of you out there who obsess over your analytics as much as I do. Watching my website statistics is much like watching the stock market go up and down while you’re investing. You’ve spent considerable amounts of time or money (or both) so you can’t help but watch your projects grow (hopefully!). If you’ve read my other articles or looked at my income reports, you’ll notice that I’ve been doing a bit of a case study on my headphone review site. One thing that I’ve noticed and has been frustrating the heck out of me is I’ll see that people come to my homepage and leave. Let’s explore what I THINK is going on here and what I’m going to do about it.
Why is My Bounce Rate so High?
That’s the question that was floating around in my head as I look at the statistics for my site. I have a decent amount of traffic to my headphone review site and it’s growing all the time (I took a step back due to the Penguin update from Google, but I’m crawling back up). One of the things that frustrates the heck out of me is that my bounce rate is way too high. I see that a number of people hit my home page, and then bam, they’re gone! What’s up with that?!?! So I started doing some digging and in my Youtube analytics, I found that I’m actually getting a decent number of views on my own website. And then I realized something…I’ve got the videos embedded in players on my main blog page. So what’s wrong with that?! Nothing, if all you care about is people watching your videos, but if you want Google to rank you higher in the search engine and you want to find out how much time people are truly spending on your site, then everything’s wrong with it!
Link to Your Video Post, Don’t Show it on the Front Page!
So that brings me to the crux of this whole situation. I just realized that I’ve been FAILING! What I need to do is remove the embedded Youtube players from my site’s homepage (which is currently a blog layout – I’ll be changing that in the near future, more on that in a future post) and instead just put a picture that links to the post with the actual embedded video. Why is this important? It’s easy – without user’s clicking to go to new pages on your website, Google thinks that people are hitting your page and leaving. If you have 10 videos embedded on the same page, people could spend an hour watching them all but Google won’t give you any credit for keeping people on the page – at least currently they don’t. Google needs at least TWO page views in order to determine how long people are spending on each page. Without leaving one page and going to another, they don’t have a true start/stop time for the first page. This is important for a few reasons
- If you’re trying to monetize your site with Adsense or some other ad network, you’re missing out on revenue by keeping people on one page
- Google (it is strongly believed) ranks sites with more pages views and longer times on page higher than sites with similar topics and lower values
- You want to encourage people to click around on your site and explore more of your content – by putting your videos all on the front page, you encourage them to check out a few things in one place and head on out
It’s not Just Youtube
If you get in the habit of putting your entire article on the main page of your blog, you too might be missing out on the extra juice that Google could throw your way by encouraging people not to click around. I would highly encourage you to put teasers on your blog pages and link to the full articles in order to engage your visitors and prompt them to get comfortable moving around your site. The key is to get them and keep them. There’s obviously nothing wrong with wanting to provide your consumers with the best information possible, but you need to get them to start exploring your site further and get your hook in them with every single opportunity. Once they’re gone, they may not be back, so you need to do everything you can to create a life-long reader.