No website visitors are unwanted, right?

It might be thought to be a reasonable strategy not to worry too much about the people who come to your website because they thought it was something other than what it is. Does it really matter whether you get 200 interested visitors and 800 uninterested ones …or just the 200 interested ones? All publicity and branding is good publicity and branding, is it not? Possibly not, when those visitors are coming from Google.

While it’s now thought that clickthrough rate from Google is not being used to adjust your ranking, bounce rate from your site does appear to be a factor. After someone has clicked on your result in a search, Google can measure how quickly they come back and click on another result. If people seem to be finding your site not what they wanted, because lots of them return to Google for something else within seconds, that’s something which might hurt your ranking. Above all, Google wants to show relevant results.

So we need to ensure that the people who do click through, stay on your site. I can think of two ways in which this might be tackled.

Firstly, ensure the right people are clicking through. When you write your page titles and description meta tags, make sure they accurately describe what’s on the page. Make them compelling, of course. But do not try to lure people in under false pretences.

Secondly, get some strong content on your main entry pages, so that as many visitors as possible stay around to read them (or move further on into the site). Assume the default visitor action is to move their mouse to the back button as soon as they arrive. You have only a second or two to make them decide not to click it. Content hidden down the screen, or presented in tiny text, is not going to make them stay.

Take a look at some Google search results for your site (try a search on your company’s domain name with “site:” before it). See what the result appears to be offering. Now click through and ask yourself if, at a single glance, the page shouts out: “stay here – it’s just what you expected from that search result”.

Google single domain site search

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