Category Archives: analytics

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Is this the ‘right’ move from Google?

The PPC community has been out in full force in recent days after Google stopped serving paid text ads on the right hand side of its results page.

Product listing ads (PLAs) still appear and a fourth ad has been included at the top of the page for premium phrases, pushing the organic rankings further down the page and giving the SEO community plenty to think about in the process.

Why has Google made this change?

The most likely reason Google has made this decision is for economic gains – with CPCs forecasted to rise given that the top positions will become more desirable – and a push to make the desktop and mobile/tablet experience more seamless, which potentially coincides with the other big announcement that accelerated mobile pages (AMP) for HTML is now available.

What does this mean for webmasters and agencies?

The PPC landscape will likely become more competitive with a reduced amount of paid ads now showing in the prime real estate at the top of the page, and campaigns that have relied on the regular and cheaper traffic driven from positions 4-10 may start to see a drop off in click-through-rates, forcing a push into the more expensive premium positions.

For websites that rely more on organic traffic there is the concern that the fourth paid ad position may eat into their share, while only the top three local positions now show by default, down from five previously, which could have an impact on smaller businesses.

What to do

It may take a little time to notice any big changes, but In the short term you’ll need to keep a close eye on Google AdWords and analytics to assess the impacts and adjust bids of your top performing PPC keywords if conversion rates start to drop off. If increasing your bids to maintain the same conversion rate increases your cost-per-sale or cost-per-lead it might be time to weigh up putting more time, effort and money into obtaining a higher organic ranking.

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What is Bounce Rate?

I often find myself talking to clients about ‘Bounce Rate’ and pages with a high or low BR. So what exactly is Bounce Rate and why is it important?

Bounce Rate is a term used in website traffic analysis to represent the percentage of visitors to a website who “bounce” away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the site. It’s expressed as a percentage so a BR of 40% would indicate that four out of ten visitors ‘bounced’.

It’s well known that visitors arriving on the landing page of a new site spend only a few seconds deciding whether or not to stay. If they don’t like the page, they go.
A visitor can bounce by:

  • Clicking on a link on the landing page to a page on a different website
  • Closing the window or tab
  • Typing a new URL into the address bar
  • Clicking the Back button to leave the site
  • The session timing out

So Bounce Rate is a really good indicator of how ’sticky’ a website is. If the content is compelling visitors will stay and look at more pages on the site and will not be a ‘bounce’. The big question is why do visitors bounce away.

  • Page taking too long to load
  • Not the information they were seeking
  • Poor designed landing page
  • Only need information from the landing page (eg. company telephone number or email address)

At the top of the list is what I think is often the main culprit – slow loading pages. If visitors base their decision to stay or go within the first few seconds of landing on the page and it takes 20 seconds to load, many are not going to wait.

So if you have a site with a high Bounce Rate check your page loading times first. There are a number of free tools to do this like Dr. Watson – – which will also check links and html.

So what is a good Bounce Rate?

According to analytics specialist Avinash Kaushik :

“It is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, above 50% is worrying.”

Although this is a reasonable benchmark it depends on the how broad the site is – or how much of a niche it covers. The former will probably have a higher Bounce Rate because in SEO terms it probably throws a wider net, while the latter should be lower. Much will depend on the keywords targeted and marketing methods.

If you are having a problem with a high Bounce Rate don’t panic! Look at other indicators. Average time spent on the page, keywords used to get there, are these visitors new or returning, referring sites, etc. These can give you a greater insight into where your visitors are coming from and why they are bouncing away.