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How to Measure and Improve Your Website Stickiness

Jul 07, 2018   |   Web Design and Promotion
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Improving Website Stickiness - milestoneinternet.com, Milestone Inc.

Building engagement on a site will increase your lead funnel and encourage customers to become more engaged with your brand. The more time people spend on your site, the more familiar they become with your organization, expertise, and how you can help them solve their pain points. 

One key strategy to increase engagement with your organization is to work on building site stickiness. Here is what you need to know about how to make this idea work for your business.

What is site stickiness?

Site stickiness is referring to how well a site is holding a visitor’s attention; it can be viewed as the total amount of time users spend on the site, or the total page views.  In order to understand stickiness, we need to understand a few key metrics.

Pageview: The total amount of time the page is “viewed” by your visitors.

Exit%: The percentage of visitors leaving the site after viewing the page.  For example, if your Home Page has 1,000 Pageviews and an Exit Rate of 40%, that means 400 visitors left the site after looking at your home page.

Bounce%: Bounce rate represents visitors that leave the site on the first page they viewed. So if 10 visitors landed on the Home Page as the 1st page and all 10 left the website without going to a second page, then your Bounce Rate for Home Page is 100%.  It is important to note that Bounce Rate is included in the Exit Rate.

Why do marketers care about stickiness?

Google does not likely use bounce rate directly as a ranking metric, as the typical bounce rate can vary widely depending upon the type of website. For example, blog pages often have high bounce rates, as people click to read a specific piece of content and then click off. They are not necessarily ready to engage further with your site and learn about your products and services. Bounce rates also differ across different industries and business models. Given the wide range of ‘typical’ bounce rates, it does not provide that much helpful information for Google in terms of ranking.

It does, however, provide helpful information for the site owner regarding how relevant users find your website. By closely examining these different metrics related to site stickiness, you will have a better idea about the perception of customers on your site. This can help you continue to modify and improve your site to draw in more leads and get your content in front of the right audience.

We know that Google does pay attention to site relevance and authority. Building excellent site stickiness metrics and encouraging people to engage with your brand can therefore boost your overall reputation online and help you appear more relevant and authoritative. It can therefore improve your rankings that way.

How to improve site stickiness

There are many tools to gauge stickiness and measure related metrics, but the tool that is covered in this article is Google Analytics.

The goal is to minimize bounce rates, funnel navigation to important pages, and take full advantage of exit pages.

As you can see in the basic content report below, the standard metrics of page views, bounce rates, and exits are already identified for each of the pages. However, there are ways we can manipulate the data to give more meaningful insights to achieve our goals.

By filtering the Secondary Dimension, for example, we can hone in on the “medium” of the site’s traffic.  Looking at the example below, everything looks great on the list until line number 11: it seems a PPC campaign linking to a particular package page is driving a 91.45% bounce rate.

To take this a step further, we can then isolate the page that was driving a 91% Bounce Rate and look at the keywords that are landing visitors onto this page.  With this, we can analyze if the bounce is due to irrelevant content or just a lack of related conversion elements.  We can then devise modifications to the page such as adding a link to a more relevant page, adding negative keywords to PPC for this page to make sure that the users who click are the most likely to engage, or simply updating the page content to be more relevant.

A similar process can be applied to the navigation analysis.  First, we can identify the navigation of visitors by using the navigation report.  After identifying the path, we can filter out the keywords, mediums, and location of the navigation and understand what the visitor is looking for and whether or not they are getting lost in irrelevant pages.

And finally, take full advantage of your Exit Page.

For example, after filtering through the content report, we realized 60% of the visitors looking Romance Package exited on the Spa page; then it might be a good idea to add the Romance Package conversion element on the Spa page.

Strategies to build your overall page engagement

Remember that the central goal of building site stickiness and engagement lies in creating a more robust sales funnel. You want customers who arrive on your page to feel inspired to learn more about the brand so that you can build recognition and inspire them to trust your organization when the time comes to make a purchase. 

Therefore, in addition to the strategies above to improve page engagement, you also want to focus on your on-page strategies for engaging visitors and encouraging them to remain on the site.

Add visuals

Consumers continue to become increasingly engaged with visuals and videos. A much as 72 percent of customers report that they would prefer to learn about products or services through a video. Using videos can also help customers remember material– with 95 percent recalling what they learned through a video, compared to just 10 percent recalling what they heard through text. Including some videos and other forms of visual content can encourage customers to engage.

Create a reader-friendly layout

You can also encourage people to stay on the page and continue to engage with your material by creating a user-friend layout on the page. Remember the people tend to have shorter attention spans when reading online. The Nielsen Norman Group has found consistently over the past twenty years that people are more likely to skim content than read it word for word.

The best way to improve engagement on the page is to make it easy for people to scan the page. Utilizing white space, bullets, headings, and numbered lists can all help people quickly digest the information.

Add relevant CTAs

On your pages, you can incorporate a relevant CTA to encourage readers to click and continue to engage with your brand. Offering them a link to a gated item that applies to the material they are currently reading, for example, can help secure more clicks and leads.

Embedding the content itself with ample relevant internal links can also increase clicks and help customers gain a more complete understanding of your brand and product/service offerings.

Conclusion:

It is important to look at the stickiness of the website, although never confirmed or disputed by Google for its SEO values; we know it plays a role in the relevancy of content.  The three major metrics to gauge aside from Average Time Spent On Site are Pageviews, Bounce Rate, and Exits.

The ultimate goal is to minimize Bounce Rate, funnel visitors to the important content and take full advantage of exit pages.

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