Marketing Questions - fix high bounce rate

How can I fix high bounce rate?

I have been asked this question many times over the years, and it’s not as simple as you might think. The question should read “WHY do I have a high bounce rate?” Only when we understand “why” can we address “how”.

So, lets start with the basics.

What is bounce rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of people that arrive on your website and leave without taking any action or reading any further pages.

Google defines it here like this:

A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.

Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.

What is a normal bounce rate?

That’s a trick question. There is only “normal” for your website – and ideally you work towards reducing it.

What are the causes of high bounce rate?

There are many possible reasons you may have a high bounce rate – and one of those is simply that the user did not need to take any other action than read the information on the page in front of them. If they were searching for a definition or a translation, and you provided it, it is quite logical that they took no further action and left. However, most websites exist to generate pageviews, leads and sales, so we want people to engage with our website.

You forgot your ABC…

The building blocks to SEO, paid search and any other form of inbound marketing is to start with understanding who you are trying to target and how. If your website sells snow and you have focussed your campaign on attracting Eskimos to your site, they may come, but they won’t stay to buy.

A more real-life example? If you are selling supply chain management software to large organisations, you can easily attract large amounts of consumer traffic (and university students) to your site through supply chain definitions and mentions of known transporters, but none of those consumers will contact you for a demo of your software.

How to fix it:

Go back to the beginning. Create user stories of success and using those personas think about how they might find your business, and what tools and what language they would use. Back up those findings with keyword research. Good quality data will ensure your success.

Pro tip: Check out the competition and don’t be afraid to look at how they are trying to attract the same audience, you might get some great ideas (and probably a list of things to avoid at all costs too!).

You misled the visitor

You may have done this unintentionally, but your PPC ads, meta data or call to action in your email may have led them to believe that they were going to get something that you weren’t offering. If you PPC ad says “Buy Online Today and save 25%” and they arrive to find the item at full price, they’ll hit the back button. Equally if your meta title says “Everything you need to know about the North Pole” and your page has two lines of content, it’s “game over”.

How to fix it:

Align your message with the landing page. Or your landing page with the message. Make a clear connection between them.

You forgot to invite them to do anything else

I see this a lot. A company sells a service. They tell the visitor what that service is, and maybe even why they should use it.


How to fix it:

Tell your visitors what you’d like them to do next – that might be further reading, contact or buy, but make sure they have a path to follow. They won’t all follow the path – but at least you’ve given them a chance.

You made the next action too hard

Sometimes I see websites that have gone a bit overboard on the above technique. There are 30 “read more” links, 10 buttons, 2 different forms, and a pop up that you just can’t get rid of. That’s enough to make even the most determined of buyers hit the back button.

How to fix it:

Keep the analogy of a path in mind. There are always options depending where you want to go, but ultimately, you’re being drawn forwards – towards a destination. Go back the user stories we created in step 1 and encourage the user to take the next step with simple choices.

Bounce rate is influenced by too many factors to cover everything here, but these are certainly the most common. If you are experiencing issues please feel free to contact us for a free, no-obligation chat.

Why do I need SEO?

Why do I need SEO?

People often ask me, but why do I need SEO?

Because the search engines said so. That’s the sad truth of it. Without SEO your site won’t rank on the search engines, which means no-one will find you, meaning your site is as much use as a chocolate tea-pot.

(If you’re not sure what is SEO, check out this post!)

So, what does ranking on the search engines do for you?

Brand Visibility

By just appearing on the SERPs (before anyone actually clicks) people start to see you name associated with the search term they used. If they are early in the buying process this may just be enough to sow the seed. The more terms you rank for, the more frequently your visitors will see your name and the more you are connected to that business area.


Not quite the same thing as above, through optimisation you can appear for selected phrases, tags lines, and of course your brand name. You can build pages that reflect a particular campaign message for particular terms.

Increased relevant visitors to your site

Note I use the phrase ‘relevant visitors’. I’ll talk more the difference between visitors and relevant visitors elsewhere, but the difference is key. With good optimisation you are going to get more of the right people on the website, at the moment that they are looking for information, and at the very moment they are ready to engage.

Exposure to customers at different stages of the buying process

You can optimise for terms that reflect different areas of the buying process. If you sell umbrellas, you may think you only want visitors who search for ‘buy umbrella’ or ‘cheap umbrella’. But what those people that don’t yet know that it’s an umbrella they need? What those people searching for ‘how do I keep my hair dry when it’s raining?’. And what those people that are convinced they want a completely different product, let’s say they are actually looking for a “hooded rain coat” but we present them with our “10 reasons your hooded rain coat is so last year” guide. Actually, we have an opportunity to influence people at all stages, with careful planning and preparation.

Of course, in a real life example we’re going to way up the cost/benefit of writing a whitepaper on hooded raincoats when you sell umbrellas. But you get the idea.

Exposure on a wide range of search terms

Similar to the above, although not the same. As you start to build up authority and content you’ll find a natural progression in the opportunities that open up. We can analyse these to find even more high ROI areas to exploit. We can of course engineer these to move in the right direction for your business goals. With more visibility comes more relevant visitors, with more relevant visitors you’ll gain more authority. With more authority, you’ll get greater exposure and opportunities, and so they positive cycle perpetuates.

A cost effective marketing channel

SEO isn’t just effective in the above areas, it’s also a really cost effective marketing. SEO has a great ROI compared to other marketing activities because you’re driving relevant visitors over an extended period of time.

Long term vision

SEO offers a long term strategy to bring in customers and leads, vs most online marketing that is time limited.

So, hopefully you can see the plus side to having a great SEO strategy. The next question I’m almost guaranteed to be asked is “so what do you actually do?”.

You’ll have to wait for that blog post to find out!

If you’d like to get started with SEO for your business then feel free to contact us for a no obligation chat. We offer a range of SEO packages if you’d like a tried and tested formula to get going, or we’ll build you a bespoke, competitively priced SEO service if you need something extra special.


How long does it take to rank on Google?

This is a question that I am asked very frequently – and to be honest its a tough one to answer without knowing a lot more facts about the website, the business and the industry. Sadly, there is no sure way to answer this question, and there are no guarantees and anyone that makes them is either using black hat techniques that will result in your sites penalisation, or they’re just plain dishonest. I prefer to offer honest, educated guidelines to my clients.

How does it take to rank #1 on Google?

So back to the question, the answer is of course, “It Depends”. But what does it depend on? There are a lot of factors that determine how fast we can get a site showing for a term or set of terms, but here are a few to get you started:

  • The competitiveness of your market – if you’re selling car insurance then getting seen on page 1 for ‘car insurance’ is going to be hard work and you have to prepare yourself for a long term, significant effort. If you’re exclusively selling zebra striped beans to hamsters in New Zealand, I can get you to the top really fast!
  • The keywords we agree to target – I’ll always recommend we look at a three-stage plan. We start with the long tail niche terms. For this example we’ll assume that you sell all sorts of beans, not just zebra striped beans. We’ll start with the niche terms, let say that’s ‘buy zebra striped beans’ and a handful of similar terms. That’s the short term. For the medium term we’ll aim for ‘buy striped beans’. But the long term goal is actually to rank highly for ‘buy beans’. But notice, ‘buy beans’ was in the original targeting, so although we categorised as long term, we’ve already started the optimisation from the outset. The moral of the story is its all about planning, and we just love that bit!
  • The quality of your site infrastructure and what has already been done – yes, if you’ve already had a good SEO team, or have been reasonably proactive yourself, you may already have a great structure and tons of authority – and this will kick start the campaign. Authority comes from a range of sources but inbound links and social signals are the big talking points here.
  • Penalisations – the flip side of the above point is that if you have had a bad SEO and you’ve ended up with penalisations, then you have a long way to go. Of course, penalisations aren’t always the fault of inappropriate SEO strategy, sometimes they occur through attack or misguided efforts. Whatever the cause, undoing the damage requires a special, and careful effort. Again, you need to see the long-term goal in this instance.
  • Content – you’ve heard the expression “content is king”? Modern SEO is based around providing a solid, engaging, relevant experience on your site, and the best way to do this is to provide fantastic content that answers the questions of the audience you hope to attract.

So, is there any guidance on timescales? Yes, in ballpark terms we expect to see an uplift in existing rankings or appearance of new niche terms in months 1-3. For competitive markets you may be looking at 6 months for significant change. But with a quick look at your particular business and objectives I can offer a much more specific and guided answer.

If you’d like to get started with SEO for your business then feel free to contact us for a no obligation chat. We offer a range of SEO packages if you’d like a tried and tested formula to get going, or we’ll build you a bespoke, competitively priced SEO service if you need something extra special.

Digital Marketing Services

What is SEO?

First in my series of ‘most asked questions’ has to be this one. When I tell people I do SEO, it’s quite a common response, “What is SEO?” I have actually been asked this question a lot by friends, family and potential clients alike, and answering it isn’t hard for me, this is what I do all day. But giving an audience appropriate answer, now that’s more tricky.

 So, What is SEO?

For people outside of online marketing there are generally two preconceptions of ‘What is SEO?’ They are that it is either:

  1.    Some techie, geeky, mathematically certain process or
  2.    That it is a mystical dark art.

It’s neither of the above.

SEO (search engine optimisation) is part art and part science in its application, but, by definition, it is just improving a website the according to the search engines’ own best practices. And whilst they don’t give us the magic formula (now that would take all the fun out of it) they do tell us enough that we can make educated decisions how we align our strategy. And we have enough experience under our belts to know instinctively how to approach grey areas, and when to say “no-one could possibly know for sure what’s the right way to go it, let’s test it and be the first to find out”.

So SEO (part art, part science, part testing) , involves striving towards those best practices we mentioned. They include (but are not limited to):

The effect of your domain on SEO

This is your part. How old is it, who and where is it registered to, has it been penalised?

The pages and content on your site play a major role in SEO

How we create pages in the site, how we label the behind the scenes stuff, what we write on page, who writes it, how we present it, what images we use, how it relates to the rest of the site. Your content marketing strategy can be tied in with your SEO effort too.

Your online “community” impacts organic performance

Are you keeping good company? If the only sites that talk you are black hat (dark mystical types) websites, Google will (probably correctly) assume that represents who you are too. However, if have links from (and to) authoritative and reputable sites you build the case that you too, can be trusted.

There are a whole bunch of other factors too, but these are the basic building blocks of SEO.


If you’d like to get started with SEO for your business then feel free to contact us for a no obligation chat. We offer a range of SEO packages if you’d like a tried and tested formula to get going, or we’ll build you a bespoke, competitively priced SEO service if you need something extra special.